I have been quite lonely during this whole lockdown experience because of covid-19, but I have been especially missing one of my friends ( I'll call her MB). I haven't seen her since like the very beginning of Jan. 2020!!!! that's 6 months, half a year (like whaaa????). She is the only friend that I am still (barely) in contact with from my primary school, and she goes to a different secondary school from me which can be quite hard. I just really want to keep in contact and meet up as much as possible as all my other friends from p.school have slipped away / moved to other countries (imagine a sad face emoji x10 here) and I just feel like that could happen with her as from what I can gather/imagine she is sorta popular, goes to like all the discoey dances is like 'in' with the guys etc. I am quite different as I don't go to those dances, I don't own make-up, fancy dresses, haven't had a BF/ or really friends who are boys (even though I would like too). I feel like I'm going off the point, but I just really miss her and it's hard to even arrange to meet up etc. as I don't even have a phone (I am a couple of years into secondary school and EVERYONE I KNOW HAS 1). I just feel like we've drifted apart and I have tried to keep my friendship up but it's not really working. (Thing is, she always seems to enjoy herself when we do hang out!) . Sorry if I'm ranting a bit, just don't really know what to do and would love some advice!
I can very much relate to a lot of this, I think a lot of us have been having a real dose of loneliness in quarantine… which is only to be expected, honestly. We’re stuck at home and unable to see our friends, right at the time when the rest of the world is flipping upside down and all we want is that one thread of consistency of being able to see our friends, which is one of the most important things for us to temporarily give up :(
I totally get not seeing friends that you particularly miss in a long time, I have a few friends I haven’t seen since December, and it definitely hurts a lot. Plus, as a homeschooler, I know what it’s like to have close friends who you see very rarely, it’s very hard compared to when you see someone at school every day. Luckily though, we live in a day and age where it is possible to stay in touch even without seeing each other! In fact–although I know it can make it a bit harder–you don’t even need a phone. I have a flip phone that I use only when I go places (so, not since March ;), and I’m 16 and a rising senior in highschool! It can be annoying when your friends only like texting or using social media that you don’t have, but if you ask them to use email or something, they’ll hopefully understand and do so. You could even write real letters if you want, it sounds very old-school, but it’s fun ;)
As for having your friend being into things you’re not into...that can work out OK. I am also not at all into dances, makeup, or dating (I do have friends who are boys, but that’s because I don’t pay attention to the fact that they’re boys, to me they’re all just people ;) and I have drifted away from at least one friend because of that, so I know what it’s like. That being said, we are still friends, and I have others who I’m closer with and are also into that stuff–you don’t have to have the same likes and dislikes to be friends! Of course, it’s true that sometimes people just go different ways and friendships do change or even end (as sad as it makes us) but so long as you are both enjoying yourselves when you are together, and she’s not “toxic” in any way, I do encourage you to keep trying to stay friends to whatever degree you can. Here are some tips for that:
- Send her a message every now and then (via a platform of your choice), just checking in and asking how she’s doing. Offer a random fact about your day, and maybe she’ll respond with a fun update on her own life! I’ve often found it’s a good idea to apologize for annoying someone, but also to keep doing it unless they actually express a desire for you to stop...If they say they like hearing from you but are just bad at keeping touch, keep bugging them! XD
- Set up times to talk. Depending on what technology/devices you have available this could be a bit hard, but setting up a time to talk on the phone or do a video chat (Google hangouts, zoom, facetime, etc.), can be very valuable and a lot of fun. It's not quite the same as hanging out in person, but you can still hear the voice, see their faces, and conversation can flow a lot more naturally than over email or text or something. You can even play games together that way, which can reduce the awkwardness if you're not sure what to talk about! Feel free to PM me or ask in the comments for a list of good games to play virtually, I've got quite a bit of experience with that by now ;D
- Talk about things you have in common. This can be anything, maybe books, movies, or music that you both like, what you’ve been learning in school (this could be interesting since you’re at different schools now, particularly with how schools are changing now because of COVID), or even memories you have in common! Sometimes when I’m not sure what to talk about with someone, I find it easiest for both of us if we can laugh over fun or embarrassing memories from our shared past ;)
- Let her talk about what she’s interested in. This can sometimes be a bit boring, but letting your friends talk about what they’re interested in is very important. You want them to feel like they can be themselves around you and that they can tell you anything, so starting by respecting their topic choices is a good idea. Don’t hide your true self either, you should totally be open about the fact that those aren’t really things you’re into, but you can still listen nicely and have a conversation about them. Chances are, your friend will really appreciate the fact that you’re willing to talk about stuff simply for her sake! And yes, she should absolutely do the same for you and let you talk about your interests sometimes, but that’s not really something we can control, unfortunately.
- Play it by ear. Maybe you and your friend will end up talking a lot and staying in touch virtually. Alternatively, maybe you’ll end up not talking a whole lot, but you’ll still check in on each other occasionally, and be sure to get together every now and then and have a blast once this whole pandemic thing is over, or something in between! If you have a certain expectation for what your friendship *should* look like, it is highly likely that you’ll be disappointed. Instead, just see how it goes! One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that it will somehow always work out in the end, your friendship can morph and adapt over time and still be just as wholesome ;)
I hope some of that helped! I tried to address a bit of everything in there, but if you (or anyone else reading this) would like to talk more/has questions about this or anything else, my inbox is always open! I know how hard everything feels right now, but we will get through it <3
~Kinneret, S2S Mentor