How the pandemic has brought us closer to our friends

by Pooja Mukherjee
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A friend in need is a friend indeed. Especially if that friend is willing to stand beside you while you feel lonely during the quarantine. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced human civilization to distance themselves from the elements of a happy life, true friendships, and real relationships. We are being asked to maintain physical social distance, yet our minds are longing for companionship for the sake of emotional well-being. The role of a friend is being highlighted all the more often, as we all are looking for ways to share our despair and anxiety while living in self-isolation.

Social media platforms and video conferencing apps have been a boon in dire situations like this. While we are taking a break from our hectic life, we are slowly getting enlightened with the bigger picture in life. The value of friendships, family, and relationships is now being understood by many, and people are reaching out to old friends (and making some new ones) to fight the emotional loneliness caused by COVID-19. After all, shared experiences are what bring us together. 
We are realizing who our true friends are. Most of us were living in the rush of society and the chaotic environment didn’t let us understand the value of true friendships. Being stuck in quarantine has provided us ample time to connect with friends and discuss things that are important, giving us an insight into their thoughts and emotions. The pandemic has indirectly taught us the importance of close friendships; how we won’t feel alone if we have someone to talk to.

It has given us the opportunity to reflect on our friendships. I have been spending a significant amount of time with school friends with whom I had lost touch over the course of years. While the primary topic of conversation revolves around the coronavirus situation, we often get nostalgic by reminiscing about our old days and sharing embarrassing school photographs with the group.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

But the numerous conversations with varied approaches have taught me one thing. My mentality doesn’t match with more than half of my friends. With time, we all have grown up with individual perceptions and opinions. Getting the opportunity to spend quality time with my friends virtually has made me aware of their likes and dislikes, and their thought processes. We can all utilize these days of social solitude to reflect on our old friendships, and understand them a little better.

Social media apps have introduced us to new people. While we are holed up in our bedrooms in these extended periods of quarantine, virtual platforms have become our new best friends. Connecting to people who share the same views as you feels like a breath of fresh air. Psychologist Anna Akbari believes that indulging into new friendships is a sign of increasing your network in hopes of some sort of lucrative payoffs in the future. She further explains that we are deliberately investing our time in new people to conjure quality friendships and maintain connections which may benefit us emotionally in the long run.

We are getting more comfortable with the bigger picture. Most of us are not shying away from discussing the looming problems of our society which are getting all the more highlighted now. People are opening up to friends who are close to them, and the evident psychology behind this is the fear of the end of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has instilled a sense of uncertainty in our lives, influencing us to talk about our feelings and be truthful. We are creating new connections with people who share our passions and are on the same page. 

Opening up about our emotional wellness has never been more important or this easy. The Internet is doing the unthinkable, bringing people together across borders in solitude, while we are respecting the fallen, and hoping for the end of this pandemic. Real friendships don’t let us feel alone in this fight and gives us all the more reason to fight for.

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