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How Can the Pandemic Make You a Better Friend?

As we figure new ways to go about our day, here are four ideas for deepening and enriching friendships.

Calling a friend
Credit: Getty Images

The pandemic has been a time of challenges and new routines. It has also offered a number of opportunities, such as embracing the positive power of friendship. With each of us finding so many new ways of being during this time, why not think about how that applies to friendship? 

1)  Reconnect Across the Miles
A lovely irony of a time when we’re sticking closer to home is that many of us are finding more joy in speaking regularly with friends who live far away. As we become increasingly comfortable with “virtual” interactions through video chat, phone calls might turn into a visual visit. We can see each other’s faces, tour each other’s homes, have a conversation at the dinner table or on the front steps. “Social distancing” is our safety watchword, but you might find yourself feeling closer than ever to some friends.

2)  Show, Don’t Tell
True friends are those who can show up for each other in concrete ways, in good times or bad. A hand-written letter or hand-drawn card is one way to pop up in your friend’s life in a way that doesn’t require her to have time and energy for a visit at exactly the same time you do. Sharing your thoughts about a book you just read, a movie you’ve heard about or other experiences is another way to show your friend you’re thinking about them.

3)  Offer to Help Each Other
Local friendships flourish when we anticipate each other’s needs. If you’re headed to the grocery store, garden center, post office, pharmacy or other errand, reach out to a friend and ask if you can pick up a couple of things for him. This seemingly simple gesture is supportive, compassionate and kind. And your consideration will likely inspire your friends to make similarly thoughtful offers next time they venture out.

4)  Acknowledge Different Comfort Levels
Each of us has our own relationship with risk tolerance, and your friend might feel differently from you about how, when and whether to get together in person. You can show yourself to be a true friend by resisting the impulse to take your friends’ decisions personally. You can also deepen your friendship by exploring those differences together, perhaps discovering in the process that you have different, beautiful points of connection that don’t require being in the same room at the same time.

What does friendship look and feel like to you during the pandemic?

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