The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Thanks to COVID 19, we were shut inside our homes for several months. Lockdown was imposed to ensure social distancing to keep the virus from spreading. Naturally, our social lives were affected. The only means to interact with others were the smart phones and devices. We were practically forced to make do with online alternatives for most jobs to get done. The emotional support from family and friends was not available like it was before. COVID cases were increasing like wildfire. We all dreaded hearing of a loved one contracting the disease, or even worse, succumbing to it. It was a hard time for everyone.
The prolonged period of isolation inside the walls of our houses had its impact on each one of us. We were left with free time to introspect, to look back at our lives, to make some changes for the better or to adopt new productive hobbies. The chain of events that took place had us growing into a newfound level of maturity and a fresh perspective to appreciate life and its value. It changed us significantly. I think it is safe to say that there is a noticeable difference between our ‘pre-COVID selves’ and ‘post-COVID selves’.
We long anticipated the lockdown to end and to resume our lives from where we left them in the ‘real world’. And finally, when it was gradually called off, interacting with people came as a new challenge, even with our existing friends. There were new fears and new expectations; I personally was apprehensive of my friends leaving me, as I thought they were here for the old me that I have long shed away. Added on top of that was the pressure of making new friends in college. There was a new pattern to be adopted to make friends and build relationships.
For some socializing seemed a child’s play. They made new friendships right away, interacted with big groups and started hanging out together, posting stories and reels on Instagram with Harry Style’s ‘As It Was’ or Taylor Swift’s ‘August’ playing in the background. However, some are not that comfortable at befriending people the moment they meet. They might not be able to fit in within groups formed in a class. They might feel left out, unheard or misunderstood. The fear of missing out hits hard while looking at people’s posts captioned ‘Semester Photo Dump’ when you didn’t even manage to make friendships, let alone hangout and tick off places from your bucket list.
Peer pressure might make you go out and about socializing in the way the ‘society accepts’. If you fall into the rabbit hole of seeking validation from the society, you will be trying to please the others, not yourself. There is no agreement in society for what is acceptable and what is not. You will be trying to achieve something that will leave you unsatisfied. The constant need for social validation will crumble your self-esteem, leaving you feeling hollow from the inside. And my friend, if this seems relatable, you know that you have become addicted to socialising and that’s why I am here to tell you that ‘likes’ on social media will not fetch you much value in life. What you see in other people’s social media are the highlights of their lives where they seem to be having the times of their life, mostly reflects a fraction of the whole. Nobody likes to show themselves having a meltdown or sitting at home in pyjamas or having a bad hair day.
So, find what makes you feel wholesome from the inside. In this fast-paced life, where competition is engulfing every aspect of our lives, friends offer a peaceful respite. We love having a hearty laugh with them or sharing woes together. If it takes longer than we expected to strike a friendship with people, that is okay because it is not the same for everyone. We make friends at the most unexpected of places. Real friends help us through our dark phases, they rejoice with us in our successes and are truly there for us when we need them. To build such long lasting and meaningful friendships we need to give them time, patience and nurturing.