I recently talked about the wide range of emotions I have been feeling. But I’ve also been struggling with friendships and how they have changed.
COVID did a number on friendships, at least for me. We have been extremely cautious from the beginning of COVID (1) because we trust science and scientists and (2) because Chuck has an auto-immune disease. Our strictness felt like it was frowned upon or we were looked at to be crazy for how strict we were being. Now, no one ever said anything to us. This is all the way I felt about the situation. I just want to make that clear.
A lot of people thought it was no big deal and allowed their kids to just conitnue to play all day like it was no big deal. Our kids watched other kids play together and then avoided them if they came near. It broke my heart, but I knew that we were doing the right thing.
The same thing happened with friendships. I would stay away and do virtual visits, Duo chats, Marco Polo messages and loads of texts. Yet I saw so many out walking together, hanging out in the driveways, gathering together, etc. It was so hard. And again made me question what we were doing to be safe and cautious.
As time has passed, and I know that what we were doing was right, that sting hurts a little less.
On top of COVID and not seeing people, we moved in the middle of it. I had to say goodbye to friends and neighbors as safely as I could. And yes, I hugged a few. Partly knowing I wouldn’t be seeing them very often. Some I didn’t even get to say goodbye to.
That sadness is still there. And will be for a while. I will throw my whole self into friendships and relationships. You’ll know more about me in the first hour of knowing me than you really wanted to. And if I don’t scare you away in that amount of time, we will probably be good friends. :) But not everyone is like that. So when I tend to give more to friendships and not get that 110% in return, I get sad. Or wonder what I did wrong. When in reality, it probably has nothing to do with me at all.
But I have felt the lack of friendships and closeness dwindling as I knew it would with moving almost an hour from where we lived. It has made me emotional many times and also pushed me to reach out to others.
I have also learned which friends I have really wanted to stay in touch with. The ones I missed sitting with in their kitchens and chatting. The ones who watch your kids and go on walks or hang out on a whim. I am sure I will find that again, but after being isolated for so long, I wonder if it’s something I really need as much as I used to think I did.
I think my old environment was really toxic. At least for me. I got into the habit of drinking a lot to complain about our lives (that were nothing short of amazing and lucky and priviledged). What could we possibly have had to complain about and drink through? In hindsight it doesn’t make sense. But when it is your life, you just think it’s normal.
COVID has actually been really good for me in a lot of ways. It made me like myself more because I have spent a lot of damn time with myself. I have really seen parts of me I didn’t like as well, and have worked to change some of those things. And it helped me to develop better, more meaningful friendships.
This election has also taught me a lot of things. I am having a hard time keeping strong friendships with people who support a man I think is insane and stands for so many things that anger and hurt me to my core. I cannot wrap my mind around someone thinking he’s a good person who makes good choices. And honestly, women who support him really blows my mind. He’s such a pig towards women and all of our rights. It’s disgusting and shameful. It is not that I don’t want to BE friends with them, I just question their morals and thought process. I think differing views CAN be a good thing, but the drastic differences on core values are going to be hard for me to get over and make it challenging to find common ground.
I am also not a person that has a huge group of friends I was friends with in high school or college. I don’t know if that is something to be said for me, or just that I have changed over time and my friendships have changed and evolved as well. I see people who still hang out with the same group as they did in high school and just can’t imagine it. Probably because it’s something I don’t have.
I have learned that friendships ebb and flow. It is something I have always known, but fought to give into. I have developed stronger, deeper (and a few new) friendships in the last handful of months that I think will last for a long time. The depth of our conversations is less superficial and that makes me feel valued and value their friendship so much.
- Have you had any friendship epiphanies during COVID?
- Have friends and frienships changed over the years and you have both changed and grown?
- Have you had any friendships that have ended in painful or sad ways?
- Have you made deeper and more lasting friendships as you have aged?
- Are you still friends with the same people as when you were in elementary school, high school or college?