The Offices of Jessica C. Sullivan LCSW, PLLC

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The past year has changed everyones lives drastically. When it comes to big things such as jobs and school to the small things like grocery shopping or grabbing coffee, it feels like everything has an added layer of stress. While this pandemic has been adding stressors to our lives, it has also been distancing us from the very people who would be able to help alleviate these stressors: friends. Although we have had to change the ways in which we interact with others, we still need to make an effort to maintain and create new relationships.

One of the most important factors in making new friends during a pandemic is confidence. Many individuals have become more socially anxious while being stuck inside and told to social distance. Even if this confidence is faked at first, chances are the people you reach out to and make connections with will appreciate being contacted, and very likely may have felt socially awkward as well.

While it is important to follow the guidelines for Covid-19, it is also important to keep relationships with your friends and family. One way to do this could be by setting aside time every week to go on walks with your family or weekly video calls with your friend group. In order to maintain a friendship you need to be emotionally intimate with other people, but this doesn’t mean that these emotional connections have to be in person. Allow this pandemic to show you that physical closeness and face-to-face interactions aren’t the only thing keeping you and your friends connected. By practicing being emotionally intimate with others while being socially distant, you will learn skills that will help improve your relationships in the future when we can be within proximity with each other again.

If you are trying to rekindle friendships that have gotten strained during the past year, or trying to start new ones while being hindered from face-to-face interactions, you may be feeling anxious and awkward. The good thing is that most people are feeling the same way. The way that we have connected with others in the past has been changed, so the way that we communicate has changed too. You may feel uncomfortable reaching out to people now, but that is exactly why you should. Try to think of a time where you were upset or annoyed that someone reached out to you to check on how you’re doing. Most people want relationships and want people to let them know when they are thinking about them. By moving out of your comfort zone and reaching out to others first, chances are your friends have felt the same way and will be grateful for it.

– Haidyn Emmerich
Nourish Your Mind Blog Contributor
Neuroscience & Psychology Student – Syracuse University
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