Friendships are a crucial part of our life satisfaction. They bring us joy, they bring us fun and they bring us a bottle of wine and wise words when we most need them. In short, we think our friends are pretty wonderful, and we value what they bring to our lives, but that doesn't mean that maintaining them is always smooth sailing. And, for some, lockdown made things harder than ever.
Amidst all the talk of feeling 'closer than ever' to those around us, all the Zoom quizzes and the countless FaceTime calls, some friendships seemed to fall through the cracks. Whether we found we just didn't have much to say during lockdown or we struggled to feel a connection with certain friends in particular, feeling a friendship has fizzled out is never nice.
For some of us, it's been a good measure of the friendships we could really do without, but for others, we're desperate to get our friendship back-on-track and reignite that friendly flame that burned so brightly before. And though it might seem a daunting, scary task to face, it is possible.
To get some advice on how to effectively revive a friendship, we spoke to top psychologist Dr Martina Paglia, from The International Psychology Clinic, to get her thoughts and top tips on making things right again.
'At this time of crisis, feeling a connection with those who belong to our tribe is more important than ever,' Martina explains. 'This period of social distancing has increased our loneliness and life dissatisfaction and this may exacerbate a problem that’s been building for years.'
'In our modern society, people generally tend to move around cities and countries with ease, and as much as it is exciting to find yourself somewhere new with the idea that you can rebuild your life from scratch, this often means losing connections. You may be able to make friends everywhere you go, but often when you move to the next place, the friendships you made somewhere else can quickly fade away. It comes as no surprise that millennials may be emerging as the loneliest generation. In a YouGov survey from 2019, 30% of millennials reported they always or often feel lonely - while just 20% members of the Generation X, and 15% of Baby Boomers expressed the same concern.'
But, now lockdown is easing, let’s take a look at a few strategies that can help us regain our connection with friends.
5 ways to rekindle friendships that fizzled out during lockdown
1.First of all, try not to take it personally. Remember, if your friend did not reach out as much as you wanted to, this has nothing to do with you. Probably they were facing internal problems and suffering in silence as much as you were. Instead, try to reach out to them to share how you feel to rebuild a trustworthy connection with them.
2. Try to stay with what you learned from this experience. Both positive and negative connections can teach us a valuable lesson. True friendship is a blessing and needs to be nurtured. At the other end, a negative connection can teach us how to deal with negative people. You will learn to set boundaries, how to react, and which people are not your friends. If all they make you feel is sad, then why do you even need them in the first place? Insulate yourself from toxic friends and focus on the helpers and well-wishers in your life.
3.If you find yourself surrounded by people who are always pessimistic and try to bring you down, then ask yourself what purpose they serve you. Having negative people in our lives can really influence our moods, behaviours and sense of self. Instead, try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people that value you and help you in tough times. Positive friends not only boost your self-esteem but also make your life at this time of crisis much more comfortable.
4.Be kind to others. When you are kinder and supportive towards your inner circle of friends, you tend to receive it back in return. This starts a positive feedback loop that only increases your confidence and overall mood.
5.Finally, stop worrying about what others think about you. Start living your life the way you want to, not as your friends want you to. Be willing to adjust and shape your own self-image and don’t pay too much attention to what your negative friends think of you. Make a firm promise to yourself that you will only do what you truly wish and desire and make your choices based on what makes you happy in the long run. This includes the people you decide to keep in your tribe. Don’t try to please everyone, instead focus on those who truly matter to you.
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