The pandemic has changed many parts of our lives, including our relationships and views on friendships. There has been less daily coffee line banter, small talk with co-workers, and seeing acquaintances at parties. Many long-distance relationships changed to FaceTime or Zoom, where good friends relied on virtual conversations to catch up. The last two years have certainly shaken things up, but we believe so many of these new norms are for the better.
As we began to take note and prioritize so many things in our lives, relationships were one of them. We evaluated what relationships we valued, what we needed, and also what we lacked. In many cases, many of us became closer to fewer people, and that can be a good thing. Dr Rachel Goldman, PHD Psychologist, says, “Because in difficult times or periods of loneliness, often what we need is a deep connection to fewer people so that we truly feel heard and seen.”
So what did this ‘new normal’ bring that we should be taking with us now that the world is continuing to open back up?
1. Feel more comfortable being vulnerable. Give yourself permission to be open and honest with your friends. Collectively, we have been under a lot of stress, and the deepening of real relationships helps us through the day to day.
2. Be more intentional. Be clear about where you do and don’t want your energy to go by prioritizing who you spend time with. Make a list of friends that give you support and bring you happiness—and spend your time with them.
3. Get in-person time. Because we now live in more of a tech world than ever, we’ve also realized that nothing can replace real face-to-face time. Even small face to face interactions can create a greater sense of belonging.
As our lives continue to evolve, everything we go through can be a step forward in how we evaluate our lives. Let’s take the lessons learned from the pandemic with us into our everyday relationships.