Tell Your Friends You Love Them: Staying Connected Today

Originally, I had written this article about keeping in contact with loved ones while studying abroad, but now, the message of this piece has changed slightly. 

As the effects of COVID-19 have ravaged the world this year and left so many of us separated from our friends, families, and significant others, staying connected is more important than it ever has been before. 

Last year, living with friends and seeing them every single day was a given. Today, it is a luxury, as so many of us are spread out across the U.S. and the world, and getting used to being a college student in what personally feels like the most non-college setting ever (i.e. my childhood bedroom…). While the transition has been strange, sad, and just overall different, I have found that the best way to maintain some sense of normalcy is by keeping in contact with my college friends. 

Personally, I love checking in with my friends and appreciate when they check in on me. There is something so endearing about knowing that you are on someone’s mind and that you have a community around you that genuinely cares about you. With that being said, I always take a few seconds or minutes out of my day to check in with friends or just remind them that they are on my mind. Although it may seem like a small gesture, the impact can be major. This is probably my favorite way of staying in touch with my friends because it comes very naturally to me. Wanting to see how my friends are doing makes me feel connected to them no matter where they may be, which is really special during this time. 

woman in a white shirt holding her cell phone in front of her Kaboompics .com | Pexels

During more normal times, something a friend and I do every summer is send “good morning” and “good night” texts in which we catch each other up on our days. Last summer, these texts were a low-stress, low-commitment way of sharing how our days had been in a way that was not exhausting for us to explain. This summer, these texts evolved from just “good morning” and “good night” texts to more honest, and in depth conversations about how we were actually doing. These texts were typically the highlights of my day because they gave me a space to articulate my feelings to someone else during a time when isolation felt suffocating, but they also connected me with one of my best friends and allowed me to be that space for them as well.

Another one of my favorite things to do to keep in contact with friends is to FaceTime them while cooking or having breakfast/lunch/dinner. Here, I can have longer conversations or just check in and say hi to friends. Sneaking in times to talk during these moments has been a great way for me to stay up to date on what all my friends are doing but also to give myself the social interaction time that I need to feel happy day to day. At the beginning of quarantine, I forgot how necessary seeing people and speaking with them is for personal wellbeing, and I found myself feeling extremely lonely and bored. Thankfully, I started using Facetime almost regularly (something that I have never done pre-2020) and I have loved being able to see my friends as well as hear about what they are up to.

While I love squeezing in FaceTime calls, I have also learned the importance of blocking out time for calls. Scheduling calls and actually sticking to them has been a learning process for me, as I am a very forgetful person. I am a much bigger fan of the spontaneous FaceTime call, but I recognize that not everyone is the same and for some people, carving out time makes more sense. Because of this, I do try my best to keep my word when it comes to blocking out time for calls. Usually blocking out time is for when I know the conversation is going to be more than just a quick catch-up. This usually happens when a friend and I have not spoken for a while and know we have a ton to fill each other in on. While it is obviously not the same as an in person interaction, having that time to FaceTime is really special and is something I recommend incorporating into your weekly calendar if you can. 

All of these recommendations are what work for me and help me feel like I am continuing to develop the friendships I already have instead of letting them wilt as yet another consequence of the pandemic. Checking in on your friends is so important, especially this year, and I encourage everyone to think about who the special people in your life are, and try to continue nurturing those relationships.