The pandemic has changed our relationships in ways we never could have imagined, allowing us to bond with coworkers over work-from-home challenges and virtual schooling tips, and even helping us grow closer to family members who have helped us stay resilient. But at the same time, some of our friendships may have suffered this year, as we’ve lost touch while adjusting and adapting to the challenges of the year and not being able to see each other in person.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us one way they are reconnecting with friends, family members or colleagues they’ve lost touch with. Which of these will you try?
Have a virtual coffee chat
“It was easy to lose touch with friends when the pandemic hit, but after a while, I started to notice the toll it was taking on my well-being. For the last few months, I’ve made it a point to have a ‘coffee talk’ once a week with my group of friends. Since we can’t sit down in a café to chat, we’ve made the point to grab a hot drink in our homes and catch up virtually. We put on our coziest outfits, create lattes from scratch, and settle in a comfortable spot to talk. Now that 2021 is here, it’s the perfect time to make a resolution to connect with friends. It’s so important to get creative and make those friendships a priority.”
—Christine Johnson, travel blogger, Windham, N.H.
Share a nostalgic memory
“I love when something unexpectedly reminds me of a fond memory shared with someone I care about. But in the hustle and bustle of all of the things happening at home in this season, those moments fade a little quicker than I’d like. It would be sweeter to savor these little nuggets of goodness and experience them together. So, this year I’m sending a quick text to a friend or family member when these moments pop up. It only takes a few seconds to send and the responses are so fun! I’m only a week in and I already feel reconnected to my friends.”
—Leslie Michel, meditation guide, Cincinnati, OH
Host a Zoom trivia night
“I’m reconnecting with friends by using trivia! I’ve recently been acting as a trivia master, hosting games nights for my family and coworkers over the last two months. I plan to keep up this ritual throughout 2021. My partner and I create the trivia ourselves using references from movies, pop culture, and general fun facts, and we create a powerpoint presentation for screen sharing over Zoom. It’s helped me feel closer to the friends I may not text daily, and has acted as a great team builder.”
—Kate MacLean, senior PR generalist, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Send a heartfelt greeting card
“I’ve found that sending a traditional greeting card in the mail has been a great way to reconnect with former neighbors, colleagues, family members and friends. I find the ritual of choosing the right stationary quite fun, and it’s been enjoyable to set aside some time to write down a note with a poem or an anecdote from the past. It’s not always easy to find the right address and get stamps, but the small effort this takes is insignificant in comparison to the joy expressed by the receiver. It’s a great way for me to reconnect with people right now. Snail mail generates a smile every time.”
—Marta Rzeszowska Chavent, change and management consultant, France
Create a recurring calendar appointment
“I block out a recurring appointment in my Google calendar for every Friday morning called ‘connection time,’ and I use that alarm as a trigger to text or call a friend. Sometimes, it’s simply to reconnect or catch up and sometimes it’s simply to express my gratitude for someone I appreciate. I usually end up feeling more energized to get back to work after sharing my appreciation. The response is amazing because people don’t expect it. It’s a great way to reconnect with friends, especially when we’re all socially distant. It’s also my way to spread kindness and connection.”
—Abby Norman, leadership and career coach and Fortune 50 corporate HR manager, Scottsdale, AZ
Record videos to share life updates
“I rediscovered my relationship with my son when the pandemic started, as we both had more time on our hands to call each other, run together virtually, and take on projects and activities that we both enjoyed. Then, when we both got busy again and we had less time to connect, I suggested sending video messages to each other over WhatsApp. I figured it would be a great way to share our lives and our stories without having to be tied down to a time or place. And it worked well! It feels natural, it’s easy to respond, and our connection is stronger than ever.”
—JB Hollows, non-profit director, Midlands, U.K.
Mail a handwritten letter
“During the pandemic, I spent much of my time in my own stillness, not in much communication with my friends. Once I was ready to re-emerge from my inner work cave, I decided to mail some handwritten letters of love and appreciation to the friends I’d briefly lost touch with. A handwritten letter offers both the writer and reader a present moment, focusing intently on the words given and received. It’s one of my favorite ways to reconnect.”
—Heather Reinhardt, writer, Los Angeles, CA
Send a “thought of you” article
“It can feel awkward reaching out to warm up a relationship that has gone stale. I like to find an article that a specific person would appreciate or an image that reminds me of the person. I then send it their way with a note that says something like, ‘Thought you’d enjoy this’ or ‘thought of you.’ This a personalized way to reach back out with a common experience that brought you together in the first place.”
—Donna Peters, career coach, podcast host, lecturer, Atlanta, GA
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