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Of Friendships & the Coronavirus: How Have You Been Maintaining?

Group of young friends hanging out with medical masks
How are you maintaining or not maintaining your friendships during quarantine? Did your friendship survive the lockdown? 

WHO remembers the first twenty-one days of lockdown?

Of course, we all do. How can one be oblivion to a chapter that possibly changed their lives forever? A phase that robbed many people of their jobs and sources of income. A phase that ordered “staying in” at home a regulation and mugged us of our freedom to go out. A phase that made a poor face mask not only a prerequisite but a permanent feature of every outfit one wears.

I could go all day spotlighting all the lockdown-induced predicaments and dire dilemmas, but it is the least of my intentions to make you relive that purgatory of life. Rather, I’m just checking on you, dear enthuse-iast, to see how you’ve been able to maintain one of the most valuable relationships known to mankind-friendship.

For me, I recall the first few weeks of quarantine for so many reasons. For one, this was when group WhatsApp calls, Zoom happy hours and Google Hangout gatherings were an almost daily drill. With the additional time at home, it was fun to catch up with different groups of friends from various parts of the country that I didn’t necessarily have the time to connect with prior to the pandemic. You know how busy this job of ours can be sometimes… stacking up words like an architect, scratching your skull to conceive a bald, brewing cup after cup of coffees, scrolling up and down people’s TLs sifting sense from BS, yadda yadda yadda.

Now, as we head into our only-god-knows-what-month-it-is of quarantine, it seems like everyone is feeling a little jade of all the arbitrary virtual reunions. The invites to meet-ups and happy hours stopped almost as quickly as they started, and some people secretly begged their friends never to have them again.

Let’s face it, with everything going on in the world, having another task to complete seemed draining and many people just didn’t have the energy anymore to have another virtual conversation over fake drinks, even if it was a simple as a virtual meet up.

It seems that now as we head into the holidays, most people have only been able to muster up enough energy to remain akin to their dearest friends and family – the ones they typically talk to daily anyway – while they struggle to maintain their other relationships. These relationships aren’t necessarily over, however, it’s more as if they’ve just been placed on pause for the time being while we all attempt to reconcile with these huge life changes.

If this feeling is relatable and you find yourself feeling more drained and abnormal than social, that feeling is totally normal. Myriad health psychologists who made it their job to analyse changes in human’s mental and social patterns have been going on and on about the feeling of abnormality actually becoming our new normal.

The unknowns that we’re experiencing can absolutely cause more stress in our lives. After those initial feelings of community bonding wore off around our second or third month of quarantine, we’ve all started to wear thin as the difficulties continue to build.

One health psychologist, Kaye Hermanson, noted:

“We lose our optimism and start to have negative or angry reactions. We ask, ‘What are they doing to fix this? How long will this last?’”

So, how do we cope?

Most importantly, how are you maintaining or not maintaining your friendships during quarantine? Did your friendship survive the lockdown?

Share your lockdown friendship experience on the comment section below.

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller at Enthuse Afrika. A Storyteller & Creator who balances nuanced & witty literary writing with a pop culture experience. Captivates raw, authentic sights, moments, feelings and conversations. Follow him on Twitter @ImChrisCharamba 

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