Long-distance friendships are bittersweet. Whether it's your school friends who all moved away to different cities, or colleagues-turned-friends who now live on opposite ends of the world--keeping in touch with people we don't see on a daily basis is hard given our fast-paced life. You might try to schedule a catch-up call, but life gets in the way. And all we are left with is to tag each other in memes.
But then a global pandemic happened, and long-distance friendships saved our lives.
As most countries across the globe issued lockdown policies, people were confined to their homes for months. Every relationship turned into a long-distance relationship, be it your parents or your friends. Suddenly, the 'life gets in the way' excuse wasn't valid anymore. We were all stuck at home, and we were dying for human connection.
This is when a lot of people took an opportunity to re-ignite their long-distance friendships. Soon, two to three zoom calls with different sets of friends every day became the new normal. And our friends, near or far, helped us get through this difficult period. Here's how.
Prior to the pandemic, nobody had heard of apps like Zoom or House party. If a group of friends wanted to catch up, they would have to call each other, or video call with a limited number. With multi-person video calling apps, directly using video calls to speak to someone (because 'the new normal'). Earlier, it would have taken a lot of planning and dressing up before we got on video. But because we were all isolated, we were more open to seeing our friends' faces (and vice-versa). Now, we have stopped being conscious of the fact that we just got out of bed and the fact that we hadn't washed our hair in a week. We are going through collective trauma, and are more open to accepting each other as we are.
Prior to the pandemic, people would have considered getting ready and eating a meal or having a drink with someone over video only for a significant other. After all, it's a lot of effort, right? But now, zoom happy hours are a thing, and we are SO glad! I have had the best time catching up with friends I haven't spoken to in months over a drink--just like we would have done had we met in person. And if it wasn't for my friends and their 'date night' ideas, the lockdown would have been a LOT more depressing.
Pro tip: You know what will make your virtual happy hours even more fun? Mask + wine sessions with your BFF. Ditch the makeup, put on your favourite face mask and drink away with your girlfriends. It'll almost be like a sleepover!
Since the lockdown has given us the gift of open communication with our loved ones near and far, we've begun to feel a lot less alone. The pandemic has taken a toll on our collective mental health, and it wouldn't be wrong to say that sometimes our bad days outnumber the good ones. The one blessing? Reaching out to our long-distance friends at any time we want, time zones no bar! Sharing the joys and sorrows of the pandemic with our long-distance friends has made it a lot more easy for us to get through.
I think the revival of virtual games during the lockdown is one of the best things to come out of these dark times. As friends, spending time together keeps our bonds alive. And with long-distance friendships, it was difficult to do much other than communicating verbally. But sometimes, there's only so many things you can talk about, right? Virtual games are a fun way to bring long-distance friends together--this way you get to spend time with your long-distance BFFs without the awkward pauses. And of course, having friends who suggest a new game to try out every other day is the true blessing.
So while technology and the lockdown may have played a huge role in strengthening long-distance friendships, it is our friends who've stuck by us through thick or thin. And while the pandemic may have got us a lot of grief, it's also brought us close to friends we would struggle to make time for otherwise.
Will things change once life goes back to normal? Well, that's up to you and your friends!
Featured Image: Pexels