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You Gotta Have Friends

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By Krystal McKenzie 

As we try to move on from Covid, it’s important to reconnect with those we’ve missed the most. 

New cuisine cooking adventures at home. Hilarious working from home gaffs and goof-ups. Pretending to travel when you’re really just staying put in your bedroom. We’ve all seen these pictures and videos. Today’s media options have made it possible to have virtual connections without the hassle of having to deal with real people, in real time, maintaining real relationships. 

The saying goes that with disaster comes opportunity. Yes, we’ve had our challenges connecting with those we care about, but we’ve also had opportunities for innovation. Perhaps you have realised how many people you’ve lost touch with even before we had to shelter in place. 

From the ‘love it or hate it’ Zoom experience to the trend of new entrepreneurial businesses popping up, we’ve found ways to keep our relationships alive. Social media can make us lonely at times, but it remains an excellent tool for reconnecting with old friends, and seeing friends in person. Even pursuing that connection releases the ‘happiness hormone’, oxytocin. Right now, the idea is to ‘disconnect to reconnect’. 

So, what are Gen-Xers like me doing to reconnect now that things are returning to ‘normal’? Well, according to Facebook – which I’m told is for ‘old people’ by my younger friends and family members – they are pursuing their individual passions, changing careers, getting more involved in charity work, actually considering staying with the work from home model, and living life to the fullest. 

Before reconnecting with friends or family you may not have seen in a while, you must first consider which relationships you even want to maintain. This time of seemingly endless isolation has provided the opportunity to reflect on who is positive in your life, who you really want around, and who has been there for you. It will be of great benefit to carefully ponder whether you want to go back to your old normal, or if you want to make a change in your life for the better. 

According to research, the number of close friends the average adult has significantly decreases after you hit your mid-twenties, with men dropping connections faster than women. Other studies demonstrate that social connections are vital to our health, and that chronic loneliness can actually reshape brain chemistry. Studies prove that some level of social connection is a basic human need. 

Once you have got over any anxiety you might have about reconnecting – which include concern, guilt, getting into a positive mental space, bringing up any potentially negative emotions – reassure yourself that the goal is not to ‘get back to normal’. Find something that you have in common with the people you want to be with and start small. 

Whether single, married, or with a family, a popular scene for post-Covid socialites to reconnect is the great outdoors; while staying within regulations, of course. Quick reminder: while you’re out there, in addition to maintaining Covid-19 regulations, be sure to be sun safe and care for the environment. 

We’ve already seen beach excursions, picnics, boat rentals and the like on the upswing. If you haven’t already, get your friends or family together for a reunion of sorts. Make healthy food to kickstart losing the ‘Covid 15’ (or 20!), bring plenty of water, and make a day of it. 

If you want a more elegant experience, help get our restaurants and eateries back on track by paying them a visit. From private, experience-based events to culinary themed nights, Bermuda has ever growing edible delights to suit your fancy. To make it an ‘at-home’ experience, order it to go or take advantage of Sargasso. You can have a great event without having to cook or clean! 

Summer is here, so if you have children, work on reconnecting with their friends and schedule some playdates. The school year has been up and down, so make the most of the season and get the kids active while helping them build and maintain relationships. 

Another great idea is home yoga. Invite a small group of friends, arrange physically distant yoga mats on your lawn, then have a private instructor lead out in a beginner’s session. What better way to keep friends close than letting them know you care about their total wellbeing? You can hydrate and laugh about the experience if you couldn’t quite get out of that one pose! Physical health, mental health, emotional health all in one go! 

Are you that responsible, single adult? People in this age group are taking advantage of the fact that certain parts of the world are opening up again, and they’ve made their plans to get off the rock. While it might be a little more cumbersome than you’re used to, taking a trip as friends can rekindle long standing connections, or start new ones. Bring a friend or group over and plan out that dream trip you wanted to take a year and a half ago. 

We need connections in our lives. The older we get, the more important quality relationships become. Make a difference in the lives of those in your own age group, as well as seniors and children if they’re around you. It’s never too late to develop new friendships or reconnect with people you thought you had lost – it can only make life better for you and those you touch. 

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