The current social and political climate has had a surprising affect on my relationships. COVID19 quarantines and BLM discussions have established deeper, more meaningful connections in my life. To quote the brilliant Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “We’re far from the shallow now.”

The Struggle Is Real

Regardless of what side of the issues you’re on, we can all agree that the struggle is very real. We’re all in different boats. Sure! But the same storm is beating down on us. Our collective experiences are joining us together in new ways. The mindless chatter I use to have with girlfriends about celebrities was replaced with serious discussions about our sobriety as we noticed we were having “Rose’ All Day” when this thing first started.

More than a few of my friends have been stunned to find that a family member is racist or that a friend battles depression. These are tough discoveries but they are causing us to relate to each other in more meaningful ways. My friends and I began talking more about race, politics, faith and how to stay healthy, safe and sane. These discussions uncovered more things that we had in common and new areas where we respectfully disagree. It’s a marvelous refresh on our friendships.

Filters Be Gone

Taking twenty shots to get the perfect angle and searching through multiple filters to make you look amazing on IG is exhausting. So is living under the “best life” filter that portrays a facade of perfection at work and in our personal lives. Our lives have never been perfect. Thanks to COVID19 and the chaos of the moment, we’re all free to admit it now. Filters off, masks on.

“Acquaintances” and “colleagues” have now become my friends because instead of racing against each other, we’re on the same team trying to achieve something great. Many boardrooms and classrooms have become places to collaborate rather than places to compete to the death of our perceived opponents. While COVID19 shifts and revises plans to reopen states, there is rampant debate to find lasting solutions to the race problem in America. Nobody has all the answers. Therefore, I feel more comfortable admitting that I don’t have answers either. Do you? Dropping the facade of know-it-all perfection makes us more relatable and has a positive impact on our relationships.

Less Multi-Tasking, More Mindfulness

One of the many things that has baffled me since this whole thing started is the surge in video calls. We iPhone users had Facetime long before COVID19 and we only used it for our children to talk to the grandparents. I used Zoom for business, not happy hours and birthday parties. Now, four out of five calls are video calls and every meeting is a video meeting— including my spin class.

Though I was reluctant to fall in line with the new “face to face” normal, I have to admit that it has been a vital part of building more meaningful relationships. Why? Because I’m actually listening. The days of putting the phone of “speaker” and cleaning out my inbox are over for now. Discussions with my friends are present and mindful. We’re listening and not talking over each other the way we do on audio phone calls. Every conversation forces me to sit and “be there” for my friends. It also gives me the same wonderful experience in reciprocity.

During a time when we are physically distanced, we have an opportunity to build emotional intimacy in our relationships. Though the nation is divided on many issues, we can still find common ground with unlikely allies. COVID19 and Black Lives matter discussions have slowed the world down enough for us to examine ourselves and see each other more clearly. Our brokenness is more visible than ever, but so is the light shining through our cracks.