social distance friends, marriage uncertainty, friends in time of loss

Relationship Refresh: social distance friends, marriage uncertainty, friends in time of loss

This week, Dr. Abby takes a look at staying close to your friends during a time of social distancing. She answers the questions: what to do when your marriage looks different than expected, and how do you help a friend in her time of loss.

Dear Dr. Abby,

I feel disconnected from my friends with all the social distancing restrictions and canceled events. How can I still be a good friend when we can’t see each other as much?

Distant Friend

Dear Distant Friend,

Spending time with friends is not as easy as it once was. We all miss meeting up for coffee or sipping Moscow mules at a fun hangout. I especially love sitting in someone’s kitchen talking about everything under the sun, like how to cook kale, which ColorStreet nail colors to choose, whether the PedEgg really works, and how to make a bitmoji. I especially miss laughing till I have to run to the bathroom and crying until my mascara has completely washed away. Until the time when all the social distancing is over, we NEED to come out of our comfort zones and make an effort to be creative.

Here are some creative ways to make sure you stay close when you can’t be close. Pick up the phone and call your friend. This includes video chatting on Messenger, Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Duo. Even though you are more of an in-person communicator, you will need to step out of your comfort zone and take the first step. Do this for the sake of your friendship. I know that you’re probably saying, “She’ll call me when she wants to talk, so I don’t have to call her.” Guess what! She is saying the same thing. One of you has to break the cycle, so pick up the phone and call her. And when you’re talking, listen with all your might, and be there for her. She’s your friend. A friendly text is a nice way to connect. If you don’t have the time to talk to your friend for hours, send her a quick text that says, “Good morning! I was thinking about you.” Ask her for one high and one low in her life right now. And then share yours. You could ask something fun like, “Hey, what are you watching on Netflix right now?” You can send something fun from Amazon. Pick a day when both of you wear red and send photos or challenge each other to try something new like Ben n’ Jerry’s Boots on the Moon ice cream. Understand that some people might not want to Zoom, and some might be dealing with emotional ups and downs. We are all dealing with the current situation at different levels. Make an effort to connect, but respect boundaries if you see the friend is not ready. Remind them that you care and are there if they need you. They know how to reach you when they’re ready.

It’s important to keep friendships a priority in your life. Social interaction is a big part of mental health, so make an effort and take steps to keep your relationships strong. When social distancing is over, your relationships will be stronger and continue to be a great treasure in your life.


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