This year started a lot different than where it is now. The thing a lot of us miss the most is that feeling of closeness you get from seeing your friends all the time. Whether you are staying socially distant from everyone or you have a friend that is supposed to be isolated because they are high-risk, it’s more important now than ever to do things to maintain those friendships. I like to consider myself a pro at this after moving several times in my life. Some of my closest friends are the ones I don’t get to see anymore. It works because we put in the effort to do little things here and there. With socially distant friends that are just a couple minutes away, it’s even easier!
My favorite thing we do is gifting. Surprise! But it’s because I love to give them.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have all the money in the world to just throw around for that kind of stuff. But it doesn’t take much! Sometimes it’s just the price of a stamp. On Amazon (I know, I hate to support it but for this kind of stuff it’s just so helpful,) you can find all sorts of small things for under $5 to have two-day shipped to your BFF. A funny pair of socks. A wine stopper. A coloring book. An actual book. The options go on. For the price of your coffee that morning, you could treat your friend to a little gift that lets them know you miss them.
If you’re too low on funds for that, do what I do. Write a good old fashion letter! I do handmade cards- yes, like a third grader -and mail them out all the time! You wouldn’t believe how much cheer something small like that can bring someone on a bad day. Somehow, they always arrive at the right time.
If your socially distant friend is local, you can even drop the items off in person. Leave them on the porch and have a quick visit through masks. I used to have a friend that would just randomly bring me iced coffee. It was always a welcomed surprise.
If gifting is not for you, I offer the impromptu Facetime!
It’s not always a good surprise. You don’t always look video ready, but I promise your friend doesn’t care. The ones that aren’t planned are normally the best ones. The conversation is organic and you could catch them at the perfect time. Video chat is unfortunately, the closest you’ll regularly get to some of your friends these days, so take advantage of it’s ease.
Don’t make it seem harder than it is. They don’t have to be an hour long. But just quickly popping your face in to say, “hey I was doing this thing and thought about you” is a great way to keep the friendship alive.
Okay, so doing things unplanned isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Get them on the schedule. No shame in having to
pencil in the time, as long as you are actually penciling it in! Make a plan for a phone call. Facetime. Maybe even go as far as planning a vacation you can take together next year. Making plans, even if they aren’t to see each other that weekend, still fulfill that sense of normalcy so many of us are craving.
Finally, and this is always a great option. Just be there for them. The time they call you two times in a row and text you saying they need to talk. Talk to them. If you haven’t heard from in a while, reach out! Something that will end up not taking up a lot of your day could change everything for your friend. Remember important dates (iPhone calendars are great for that.) What I like to do is sometimes not even talk, but just text little games back and forth to each other (for IOS.) No conversation needed but still makes you feel connected and like you’re there if they do want to talk.
Friendship is literally defined as a state of mutual trust and support. Don’t let your most important relationships fall off during this pandemic. Get creative and foster them even more. Everyone is feeling so many things from isolation to anger. Friends are what we need to lean on in times like this. Sometimes you’re the one lifting them up and other times you are the one that needs the shoulder. I hope you make some efforts to make those important to you feel special this week!