Check In On Your Single Friends
Messages from our leaders matter.
What I am talking about is this tweet from our VP-Elect:
“As we head into the holidays, it’s important that we are socially distant, but not emotionally distant. Take some time to text a loved one you haven’t seen in a while, check in on your single friends, or write that letter you’ve been putting off. We will get through this together.”
I know a lot of people who dread the holidays each year for various reasons. Maybe it is because they have lost a loved one, they have family strife, or they are alone. The pandemic isolation is making it so much worse.
This week, I have spoken to friends who are dealing with breakups or suffering loneliness. It is not an easy time to be alone. I believe human connection is really the reason we are all here.
It is hard enough to not judge yourself (or feel judged) when you scroll through Face Book to see holiday gatherings, lovers’ Thanksgiving selfies, or friends who hopefully planned ahead and made a “social bubble” in order to party together. But couple that with isolation, and it would be hard to keep depression from flaring up again.
Even without the social media pressure, it can be really difficult to be alone at the holidays. Just having the romantic idea of being with someone in the snow or creating cozy memories with a soulmate can create emotional distress for people who are currently unattached.
I remember how separation from my college boyfriend during the holidays left me vulnerable and longing to talk to him. We had met each other in the summer before at a popular swimming hole and hiking spot. We discussed concerts we’d been to and hit it off. The next thing I knew, I had an invitation to travel to his hometown to see a band with him. That started a very intense relationship that I hoped would last forever.
But on the phone during winter break, he suddenly told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship. I sure could have used some good girlfriends then, but everyone was off with their families or traveling with their boyfriends.
I had another boyfriend cut things off with me on Valentine’s Day.
We could do our friends a favor this year. We could stop posting photos of our celebrations in order to one-up each other. Or we could post ONE photo and be done with it. What if we made an effort to just be there for each other in real time? What if instead of showing other people what they are missing out on, we create new bonds?
We all know that social media posts don’t show the whole story. That selfie may have been taken right before her boyfriend got super drunk and embarrassed her. That family photo could have been staged to look like everything is fine, when in reality the people cannot stand being together.
The bottom line:
People are suffering in too many ways right now. If you are in a good place yourself, consider giving time and energy to someone who is all alone. Take the time to reconnect or offer to talk to someone who may need a hand to hold right now. It’s worth it.
Samantha Lazar 2020