by Julien-Pierre “Johnny” Campbell
It’s crazy to think I haven’t seen most of my friends in almost a year. Save for a small group that lives together, my household has been on a very strict lock-down since last March. I work with the elderly and one of my roommates works in the medical field, so we’re very careful. That said, I genuinely don’t think my friendships have suffered for it. I’ll present a little field guide on how to keep friendships alive in this uncertain time.
- Don’t underestimate the power of Zoom: Since I’m an Android-user, I can’t Facetime people. However, I haven’t let that stop me! Zoom has been a saving grace. My cabaret can meet, my classes can meet, and my work friends can meet. It helps get large groups from various walks of life together safely.
- Good-old fashioned phone calls: I’m not the biggest fan of talking on the phone. I’m hard of hearing, so I have trouble picking apart what people are saying. That said, I’ve taken some time to have extended conversations with my father, my best friend, etc. It’s an excellent way to pass an hour, and with the speaker phone, I can do chores or homework while I listen. People are always kind enough to repeat themselves and speak slower — a win!
- Netflix watch parties/video games: I was never much of a TV person (or a gamer!) before quarantine started. I much prefer books. That said, it’s so much fun to have movie nights with friends where we pick the worst movies we can imagine. It’s been a riot to play Club Penguin and Poptropica, Animal Crossing and Mario Kart (so maybe I’m still not much of a gamer!) with friends. We’re harkening back to our childhoods!
- Be vulnerable: I’m not a therapist, but I do have a large emotional bandwidth. I want my friends to know I’m there for them. I want them to know I’m a person they can rely on. Because of this, they provide the same in return. I’m not so afraid to accept help anymore. I can shoot a text saying I’m having a hard day. I know I’ll get a loving reply. It’s been wonderful to not be stoic all the time.
Quarantine remains a very difficult time. I miss my friends. I miss cuddle piles and hugs. I miss wild parties. I miss going to the movies. I miss performing onstage. That said, the quality and care of my friendships haven’t suffered through COVID, and I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon!