How to Keep Friendships Alive During COVID-19

Keeping friendships alive is always a challenge, but add a pandemic with social distancing, long distance, and differing time zones to the mix and you've got an even bigger challenge. Maintaining friendships during COVID is definitely difficult. However, after living in a different time zone than most of my friends for the last four years (thank you, boarding school) and now, 12.5 hours ahead of Berkeley, I've found some ways to keep those friendships going.

Different clocks from different time zones/cities

The first and most important tip is to understand how each friend communicates. This involves recognizing how they express their love. Some friends may express their love by DMing you memes on Instagram while others may be more affectionate during video/voice calls. Some might not stay in touch with you (digitally) that often. However, as long as they are there when you need them, the low frequency of your conversations doesn't necessarily mean they don't care or that they're a bad friend.

Once you understand how your friend communicates (and hopefully, they know how you do too), then a good step is to actively try to stay in touch with them. I'd like to highlight "actively," since I don't just mean texting and calling them every so often. Rather, I mean updating them on your life and being genuinely interested in theirs too. With COVID and stay at home orders, maintaining real connections with others has become increasingly crucial. Having friends who care and put in the effort, making it a healthy two-way relationship, is incredibly uplifting. Another way to actively stay in touch is to ask questions and listen to what your friend says. Ask them how they're really doing and if the online semester is messing with them too. You'd be surprised at how much someone can open up and how many common feelings you might share with them.

Woman sitting at computer drinking coffee

In essence, keeping a friendship alive during this pandemic involves actively engaging with your friend and offering them the support they need. It's important to acknowledge that both of you might have different ways of expressing love and to keep that in mind when communicating.