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I’ve always tried to stay connected with my friends, whether in different places in life, or simply at different schools, we’ve always made it work. I think it’s why I’ve been lucky enough to have friendships nearly as old as myself.  Yet, for myself and countless others, the pandemic has brought on a sister virus that has strained every friendship in its wake – disconnection.

For the first weeks following the initial March 2020 shutdowns, like everyone else, I was downloading any chrome extension that would connect me with my friends. There were endless nights using Teleparty to binge watch girls night classics, or synchronously clinking my wine glass to the camera on zoom. But as we’ve all come to know, it just doesn’t feel the way that it use to.

I really miss my friends. Our late nights chatting around a snack filled table, dishing on anything and everything were the peak of any good or bad week. I even miss being dragged out to the bar – which is saying something. The connection that those nights would bring have been few and far between, and during the first lockdown, the loss of them left me feeling disconnected to the familiar face on my screen.

As I became more accustomed to restrictions, I found simple ways that brought back a sense of normalcy in my friendships, and through our second lockdown have made me feel incredibly close to my friends despite our distance. There are so many things we are able to do to stay close without being close to each other, and I want to share the ones that have helped me feel reconnected.

Making plans for a call with a friend is the new ‘calling for an Uber’ with your friend –so treat it as such. Plan your zoom dates in advance, and as a regular occasion, like any other plan you’d make pre-2020. It gives you both something to look forward to every week. If you’re looking to make your zoom calls more fun, try downloading Jackbox where you and your friends can play a variety of games. Over 10 people can play on Jackbox, so if you love a good zoom party this is perfect for you.

If you’re tired of sitting in front of your computer all day, or just need to see a friendly face, there are safe things you can do outside with your friends. Meeting for a walk wearing masks is a perfect way to catch up in person and get some much needed fresh air. Choosing open parks or your local neighborhood to meet is a great way to ensure you’re keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.

For a more relaxed hang out, try meeting up in your cars. Parking next to each other with the windows down lets you both stay warm, comfortable and safe. If I bring a cozy blanket and a warm tea, I could sit there for hours.

Being isolated effects everyone differently, so do your best to reach out to your besties, and check in on that friend you haven’t heard from in a while. We must all ensure that our friends, especially during difficult times like these, know they have a shoulder, or in this case, a laptop to cry on. Friendships are built to endure through thick and thin, and these dense moments only make them grow stronger.

The first night back with friends, for any friend group, will be one for the books. Instead of thinking of all the things you could have done during your time apart, think about how lucky you were to have them through this time. I know I am.

 

Jessica Hanson

Laurier Brantford '21

Jessica Hanson is a fourth year student at Wilfrid Laurier University working towards a BA in English, and double minor in History and Professional Writing.
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