At this point in 2021 its hard to pinpoint any aspect of our lives that hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic. Many people are noticing that their friendships have changed due to Covid-19. If this is something you are struggling with then you are not alone! Already we have offered some advice when it comes to reconnecting with friends and we highly recommend giving this a read if it is something you are finding difficult.
However, it may be the case that even once you reconnect you still find your friendships have changed due to Covid-19. Again, we reiterate you are not alone! It is a completely natural thing to occur regardless of the pandemic. However, the existence of the Coronavirus may have impacted your friendships differently. There are a number of reasons for this and also a number of ways to help you manage it.
REASONS WHY YOUR FRIENDSHIP MIGHT HAVE CHANGED
Time has passed
These days we measure time in a series of lockdowns or season’s restrictions. However, in very basic terms it has been close to a year and a half since Covid first appeared in our lives. 18 months is a significant time period to have passed regardless of any additional events. This is particularly true of our teenage years.
An enormous amount of maturing occurs during our teenage years. There are a number of natural changes that are likely to have occurred in your life that will affect how you perceive yourself and your relationships.
The pandemic has changed you/them
It is a cliché but the events of the pandemic have changed us in many ways. Whether it is a greater appreciation for travelling or a much closer familiarity with loss and grief it is impossible for anyone to remain the same as their pre-pandemic self. The effects of this pandemic have been more severe on some people than on others. These changes may manifest themselves in differences in how you or your friends behave. If your friend has changed you may find it hard to reconcile them with the person you used to know. Equally, your friend may be experiencing a similar thing and be struggling to connect with you.
You are at a different stage
While we all experience growth throughout our teenage years, we do not experience it at the same rate. We each mature at different stages. It is not uncommon for friends to reach different stages of maturity. This does not mean that you will forever be at different stages but merely that each of you is achieving things at the pace appropriate for you.
You’ve lost what you shared in common
Often friendships develop out of something that you share in common. This may be something small or it may be something significant that you share. Regardless of what exactly it is, your friendship is likely to change if this shared thing is suddenly eliminated. Perhaps you were friends through school and have realised since finishing school that actually you do not have much in common beyond your classes and academic routines. Or perhaps you had similar opinions around a certain subject that have since changed.
Give it time
If time is the problem, then sometimes it can help to actually give it more time. This seems counter-intuitive! However, you might feel that your friend has matured hugely while you haven’t or vice-versa. Just because this gap has left you unable to connect does not mean this divide is always permanent. You may find that in a few months or even years you can connect again at another stage in life. We often talk about right place, right time but sometimes it is right place, wrong time. Giving your friendship a chance could help you reach the stage of right place, right time.
Recognise changes within yourself too
When the dynamic of a friendship alters, we often put it down to changes that we notice in the other person. Perhaps you feel that they have changed, or their behaviour and mannerisms just irk you somehow and you can’t quite put your finger on exactly why. While it is likely that your friend has changed in some ways don’t overlook the possibility that you have too. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The dynamics of friendships are constantly changing just as we too are changing. Recognising this will enable you to decide whether a friendship can be reconciled.
Find what you still have in common
It may seem as if you and your friends are completely different now and your friendship has changed as a result. If this is the case then consider starting small and building back up. There is likely to still be something that you share in common. Use this common ground as a foundation to help you establish whether there is enough of your previous friendship to develop again.
Arrange different ways of communicating or meeting up. If solo meet-ups feel too awkward and intense at the moment then consider trying group meet-ups. This will help to alleviate the pressure you are feeling in a one-on-one situation while also giving you time to get used to any new changes in your friendship dynamic.
Do you feel that your friendships have changed due to Covid-19?