Written by Hussein
BA Hons Multimedia Journalism
One of the largest privilege we have during lockdown are the resources to stay connected with our loved ones regardless of distance. Friendships are a key aspect in staying afloat during our young lives of experiencing independence. This is especially true for international students due to starting fresh in a place where everything is new.
To live alone under lockdown is not the most ideal situation I have experienced but from messages, calls, and breakout rooms, I do everything in my power to build and maintain my friendships. I have highlighted a few tips that will hopefully be beneficial to you.
At this time, we may feel it to be easier to withdraw and go about doing what we need to do and scroll through our socials mindlessly. Having a full extensive conversation can be draining especially given our circumstances have affected almost everyone around the world. However, saying hello or making a conversation does not have to be an hour worth of chatting or taking the time to get on a video call. A simple snap, a sharing of a funny post, a short message saying, “Hi, just wanted to check in and hope that you are doing well,” are all minor but impactful ways we retain our connection to our friends. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do this with everyone. Some of my friends can be silent for weeks and months, but when we do get on a call we catch up on the most important changes happening in our lives. While others, I text them everyday. Conversations aren’t limited to a time period, if you don’t respond now, it is still valid to respond tomorrow. At least that way an ongoing conversation will span out over several days. It is good to note that even though we are all stuck with limited movement, making mundane things exciting like the dinner we had or a sheep we saw on our walk can bring about a sense of continuation to the friendship.
2. Leading different lives.
It is crucial to remember that we are all dealing with a wide variety of things in our lives now. As much as we have zoom calls for classes, our friends are busy with so many other things. Doctor appointments, work, exercise, and taking time off are all a necessary part of our days. So reaching out and not getting a response doesn’t determine that the other person doesn’t wish to talk, it can simply mean that they are unavailable to respond at that time. Some days I am so busy with work, I end up not talking to anyone. Similarly some days I don’t hear back from my closest friends when I am all free. We have different running schedules and responsibilities. It is hard to not see them everyday in a real life setting and know about other things happening in their lives, but just know that as long as you try to say your “hello’s” you are doing your part in the friendship.
3. Value in communication.
As a journalism student, I am a big advocate in communication. Where we are separated by distance, so are our communication of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Therefore it is harder to communicate how we truly feel through texts on a screen. Being able to be transparent in what is happening in our lives and how we feel is good communication practices at this time. Communication is a skill to acquire and perfect, but building it up helps the comfortability in your life and being able to set healthy boundaries and deal with confrontation or being confronted a lot better.
Friendships are a large factor I hold close in my life. Showing my care, and taking my time and effort to put energy in maintaining my friendships ensure that I have a strong support system regardless of my circumstance. Communication is not an easy skill to gain, neither are strengthening friendships. However a little hello, a check in, or a spontaneous call to your loved ones makes all the difference in the world. Soon enough we’ll be able to see our friends again, but for now I’ll end this piece with saying hello to you. I hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself at this time!