Time to reconnect: How the pandemic has helped rekindle old friendships

An irony emerged amid the isolation of social distancing and lockdown: the outbreak prompted old friends to reconnect and our neighbours to become like family.

Connecting with those we live alongside and reaching out to acquaintances or old friends (some of whom we might not have seen for years) had new-found significance (and still does for some people). These often side-line relationships are now valued in a new way.

The pandemic turned our usual routines upside down. It makes us examine what’s important in our lives after learning how things can change so quickly. Many of us have been stripped of jobs, social lives (as we knew them) and especially if needing to shield, are restricted to our homes.

The temporary new way of life has given many of us the gift of time and prompted us to check-in and deepen our relationships with others.

Last month, I took part in 3 online quizzes in 24 hours with friends from school, colleagues from work and course mates from university. In ‘normal’ times we’d often just interact via Instagram likes, a Whatsapp group chat or a quick phone call every few months.

They’re people I care for and love, but don’t necessarily make the time to socialise or check-in with regularly. Life’s busy, we live far apart and whilst a get-together would be lovely, it often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

But since experiencing this extraordinary pandemic, things have changed. Our social calendars were, and still are, sparse and friends and family across the country are now just as easy to stay in touch with as those who live a mile away. We have fewer casual interactions in our lives and have been far more intentional about staying in touch and supporting one another.

Although it was great to use some extra time to read a book, experiment in the kitchen or get out in the garden, human connection and being there for one another is what matters most in these challenging times. We’re social beings that crave connection, and these connections are vital to our wellbeing. Physically distancing, we need to be creative and intentional in how we spend our time and fulfil our desire to connect with others.

Sending encouraging cards, having video calls or taking part in a virtual game’s night, are a few of the different ways many of us are now seeking to connect. I’m speaking to friends weekly that otherwise I may have a proper conversation with once a year.

I’ve noticed how a usual ‘hi’ and smile to the neighbour has changed to spending a couple of minutes chatting over the fence or on the doorstep. These unprecedented times are affecting everyone and it’s certainly prompted me to be more active in reaching out to others.

It might just be something small, but we have been given the opportunity to be more intentional and recognise the importance of connection with others.

It's so important to stay connected, not just with friends and family but your community too. There are plenty of ways you can do that with Eden Project Communities, Find out how you can get involved here