Friendship and The Coronavirus

I need my friends.  I’ve known this for a long time, but since the shutdowns and being shut-in during the coronavirus, my relationships are even more important to me. I’m also learning what friendship means to me.

Especially in the first few weeks, when all these life changes were new, there seemed to be an urgency for me to connect with other people. Maybe because I couldn’t be sure if I’d actually see the people who are important to me again.  But also, reaching out, being needed and needing others felt good.

We were all in this together and it was clear to me that it was important to be there for each other in whatever form that took.

It also felt like there was a heightened sensibility to everything.

Not only might we lose people we love or our own lives, but the loss would extend to the ordinary things in our life.  And in the beginning, there was a lot more confusion about what those things might be.

I believe that during this crisis, people’s true selves have emerged.  I also feel like I have been able to see the people in my life more clearly.

My need to keep my distance from my family has been reinforced.  Any anxiety I feel during this time is only elevated by contact with them.

All my good friendships have deepened during this time.  That seemed to happen naturally.  They were the people who I wanted to be in touch with and they reciprocated. We text more than we used to and talk, in one way or another, at least once a week.

We care about each other and are looking out for each other. I like being there for my friends and it feels good to know they’re there for me.

My relationship with my Bellydancing teacher Julz,  has grown through the dance videos she makes for the class.  We keep in touch by dancing “together” and by giving and getting feedback.  The tribal sisterhood that Bellydancing relies on has been reinforced by the coronavirus.

My friendship with Emily grew quicker than it would have, I believe because of the virus.  I know we wouldn’t have a standing Sunday afternoon video chat if things were as they had been.  There would be no reason to.  We would probably have gotten together for tea sometimes, but again, the sense of urgency that came with the virus makes me feel like there’s less time to waste.

If we’re going to be friends we’d best get to it.

And there is at least one relationship that I lost during this time.

I think being clear about what I need in a friend and finding it in the people who I have become closer to allowed me to see that this relationship hadn’t really been working for some time.  Once again, through the heightened lens of the coronavirus,  I became aware of just how far we had grown apart.  That the connection and honesty between us had withered till there was little left.

And then there are the friends who have always been a bit remote and still are.  I think the virus will have little effect on them.

There are two other relationships that have grown deeper in my life.

The first is with Jon.  A crisis like this can push people apart but I’m seeing that no matter what we go through, we do it together. We are there for each other in a loving, encouraging, and honest way.

Not that don’t have our rough patches.  We do. But we seem to figure things out and each time we do, it brings us closer to each other.  I think it helps that we are both so driven in our work and in keeping our identities whole and as close as we get,  independent of each other.

The other relationship that has thrived is with my art.  I’ve learned over the weeks that I what I do, even in times like this, is important to people.  I know this because they’ve told me, in emails and comments, by buying my work and donating to my blog.

All that support has strengthened my belief in my work and it’s value.

I like the idea that when we get to the other side of the coronavirus that we might be able to change some things for the better.

I’m already seeing a change in me, because of the virus.  I’ve learned what I need from a relationship.   I now know that, for me, friendship has to be nourishing, stimulating, supportive, and honest.

5 thoughts on “Friendship and The Coronavirus

  1. Great post, Maria. I’ve been feeling much the same and noting what I need most and what has remained as it was. Some I thought perhaps I’d grow closer too, but alas, I didn’t. And that’s okay.

    My husband and I didn’t get to try our living in our r-pod for 3 weeks for a vacation planned in March due to the virus…. but he was home so much because of it that one day he said with a grin, “I’m convinced we could live together for 3 weeks.” I broke out laughing cause we’ve been together for over 40 years…but I knew what he meant.

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