“Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more.”
I’ve been fortunate to have some great friendships in my life. Men and women who support me, share honestly and challenge my thinking. Today, I’m focusing on my sisterhood, the worthwhile women I’m lucky to know. Yesterday I received two packages in the mail that I was not expecting. (Amazon has become my best friend over the last few months…) 1) The first package was from a dear old friend. We just realized we’ve been friends for over a decade and that made me feel old. She sent Terrell and me a sweet note, reminiscing about old times, and welcoming him into the family. The power of a handwritten letter. Men of today should take notes! It truly warmed my heart. 2) The second package was from my favorite and my only sister. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. She sent me two garter belts to wear on my wedding day. My something new and something beautifully blue. As Terrell and I prepare to elope in June, she wanted me to know our Wedding day is special and that she cared, even from afar. A little package in the mail can go a long way. My heart is full. Both of these ladies live across the country from me, but with a letter and a package, we were suddenly as close as ever. This old snail mail system might be the best-kept secret.
COVID-19 forced us all into long-distance friendships. It wasn’t easy to stay connected when we couldn’t just meet up for drinks or quickly connect during lunch at work. In the beginning, I was struggling with social distancing. I live with my fiance and I still felt so lonely. On my morning walk, I listened to a confirming podcast on how to manage loneliness by Therapy for Black Girls (session 156). The therapists explained that there are 3 different types of loneliness. They reviewed how to tell if you are struggling with loneliness, and tips for overcoming loneliness in your life. So, even if you’re living with 2 kids, nana, papa, and your husband, you have a valid reason to feel lonely.
With coronavirus, we all had to be more intentional with our friendships. I had to remember to connect with my work friends, family friends, and everyday life friends with a combination of video calls, chats, texts, emails, snail-mail, and a multitude of apps. Somehow in the most isolating time in our history, our relationships still had the ability to grow.
Work Friends, Besties, and Reconnecting with Old Friends
Work friends – Work boos, meeting mates. The person you can look at across the meeting room table and know exactly what they are thinking. The person you would have a 20-minute vent session with about the tone and typos of an email chain. I miss work friends. I had to be more intentional about sending messages and contacting work friends outside of our business-driven emails. The quick hellos and check-ins via the work messenger or a quick video call for 30 minutes have been crucial. I’m also surprised at how connected our teams has been during the COVID-19 epidemic. With the video calls and constant work chats, I feel more connected with my extended team than before.
Besties – or what I like to call, my everyday friends. The friends you can meet up with any day of the week to laugh, chat, and get a drink. The friends I would message at 4:45 pm and say, “Wine down Wednesday?” and by 5:00 pm we’d be somewhere decompressing and sharing laughs from the workweek. These friendships seemed most affected by the close-down by corona-ville. Zoom calls just didn’t feel the same. Now that the world is slowing reopening, we’ve tried to schedule walks in the park together and lunches on the patio so we can start getting back to the grove.
Reconnecting with old friends – When the coronavirus cases began to rise and cities and offices began to close down, I began to panic. I reached out to old friends to see how they were handling all the chaos. Then we started sending group chat messages and scheduling video calls. We formed book clubs. We planned Zoom birthday parties and bachelorette parties. Suddenly we were all connected via messages or weekly Zoom calls and catching up as if time had never passed. We all may live in different cities, in different time zones, but through the struggles of the last few months, we focused on one mission – the need to connect. The need for our sisterhood.
The Sisterhood Continues
The world is opening back up and we might start getting preoccupied and “busy” again. Even though I’m actually dunzo with Zoom calls, I want to make sure I don’t forget what brought me closer to friends during this time. So keep sending those “Thinking of you” gift boxes, keep those weekly check-in Zoom calls, and keep randomly texting an old friend a meme of Cardi B, Shit is getting real and the like. We need these little tokens for our friendships to survive.