So we’ve all seen quotes and memes like the one above suggesting that when the COVID Crisis is said and done, we honestly consider how and who we want to be before diving back into “normal.” We’ve missed our normalcy, right? But was our normal good? Was it healthy? Was it something we really want to return to? Was it truly normal? What is normal anyway?
On one of our daily walks, my daughter and I discussed this but she shared an interesting twist on it. What if, during all this social distancing, we’ve discovered that some of the people we socialized with when things were “normal” maybe aren’t those we want to socialize with when the pandemic passes?
Good question Kristen.
As you social distance and self-quarantine, ask yourself “who do I really miss?” “Who do I not miss at all?” “Who called me during this time of social separating and who have I not heard from at all?”
On the flip side, consider who you’ve been in touch with during the past few weeks that you maybe wouldn’t have in that normal world we’re all so longing to return to. Did you reach out to someone who just happened to be on your mind? Did you check in on a friend or family member you maybe hadn’t talked to in months? If so, that should tell you something. Those are your people. Keep them. Nurture them.
And then, flip that flip side over and reflect on who contacted you. They are also your people. Pay it forward and pay them the attention and respect they deserve. For me, one such person is someone who’s been in my life since our daughters were in preschool and from who I actually got a card in the mail. Yes, in the mail. I gotta say, it truly made my day.
For all its condemnation, social media has proved an excellent and vital method of communicating if you can make it past all the politics and pointing of fingers. I’ve loved all the “good news” stories, tips and thoughts. I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and family on so many levels and actually found out that friends we met years ago in Costa Rica are pregnant after many failed attempts. We haven’t seen them since our trip, but we have kept in touch via Facebook all these years, as has another couple we met on the same trip, and to share in their joy from so far away was pure joy. In one little post, Texas, Virginia, and New York all came together and thanked God for answered prayers. Say what you will about Facebook, but it does have its benefits.
How about you? Are there any “friends” out there who for more than a month now you haven’t heard from or reached out to? Sure, we can’t reach out to everyone we know and love, so how about those who you haven’t even thought of. Does simply saying their name(s) out loud reveal anything to you? Is it time to let a friendship go or is it time to pony up and make a call or send a text? Your call.
For me, this #stayhome stint has strengthened and united a group of women I worked with in TV news years ago. Our group text is busy all day every day and I feel so connected and in touch with how each of them are being affected by and getting through the current crisis. We share good news, bad news, and a toast or two and being that we share such a long and wonderful history, the fact that we now share our COVID struggles and solutions even though our life paths are all so different, is one of a handful of stay home silver linings.
They are just one group I “socialize” with on Zoom and Houseparty, which seem to be where the parties are these days. Somehow they make the impersonal personal as it’s great to see each other’s face and not just hear voices or read words. I for one am very grateful for my virtual happy hour friends!
My work friends are also at the top of the “I miss them so much” list. We are all working remote and I love seeing any of their posts or getting a simple text from one of them. I miss those ladies so very much. I also miss my little three-year-olds from my class and their families. Thankfully, I do get to “see” them on our class site, but not getting daily hugs and hearing stories only little ones can tell are things not even the internet can duplicate.
Then there are those wonderful women (and men!) who have texted me, messaged me, and even called me. The calls stand out, as I’m not a big phone talker but when was the last time the majority of us actually talked on the phone?! We all own phones. Pick them up and call someone.
It is said we have three kinds of friendships: pleasant, useful, and virtuous. The first two often end up fleeting but the third one is what true and good friends really are. Don’t take my word for it; take Aristotle’s as he’s who came up with the whole idea.
The Greek philosopher put a great deal of importance on friendship and considered it not only vital on the path to a good life but a valuable possession as well. According to him, the three types are friendships based on utility, pleasure or delight, and virtue.
The first type is the most common of the three and consists of all those people you associate with for mutual usefulness. You might not be besties with your hair stylist or mechanic, but you both provide a usefulness to each other that is satisfactory. This is also usually the case with coworkers and classmates.
“Friends” who use people for their own gain and live by a “what’s in it for me” mentality also fall into this first group. These are those who flatter you while manipulating the situation to get something like social status or recognition out of it. In conversations, they say a lot “me” and “I” and rarely ask you how you are or anything about your life. Although you can’t really consider them true friends, you probably have plenty of them in your life. And that’s okay. Know it, be aware of their motives, and as they say, keep your friends close and these types of enemies closer. Eyes wide open friends.
Next up are those you are friends with the for the sake of pleasure which, is important to note, was more than just sexual to Aristotle. While physical pleasure can be grouped here, it also includes pure delight in someone like say that really funny but unreliable pal, a fellow gym rat, or a drinking buddy. Most in this group only want to have a good time. Getting deep is not their goal. Friends in this category might also be teammates and fellow book clubbers. You may not share your deepest and darkest secrets with them, but you have common interests and enjoy their company. This is the level of friendship commonly found in childhood and especially those teen years. If being friends with someone brings you pleasure but not a whole lot else, place that buddy firmly in this category.
Last comes the most solid of friendships. These bonds have stood the test of time and neither distance nor time separates you. These are the friends you can’t imagine life without. They cheer your successes and provide a shoulder to cry on during hurt times. They are authentic and honest and conversations with them are deep comfort zones in which to “dump.” You share everything with them and hide nothing. They know your life isn’t perfect and you know theirs isn’t either. You trust them with your secrets and you trust their advice. You respect them and their beliefs, know they won’t turn on you, and sharing and making memories is cherished on both sides. You encourage, nurture, support, and celebrate them and they do the same for you. In a word, you fully and truly appreciate these pals for who they are and they genuinely like you. These are your bridesmaids and those you travel with. Sadly, these friendships are the rarest of the three. If you have five of these you are considered lucky. More than five? Considered yourself blessed.
That being said, who stands where in your life? Take this time to discover who’s offered to help you, laugh with you, cry with you, or pray for you. Who have you reached out to or heard from? Do you miss those fun times friends or really haven’t thought of them? Make a list and consider who’s who. Then, all those who you miss and treasure? Give them a call or at the very least, shoot them a text. Better yet; face time someone. You might just make their quarantined day.