Nurturing Friendships During the Pandemic

We can all relate to how difficult it’s been not being able to see our friends when we want because of the pandemic. We asked our Instagram community for their suggestions on how best to nurture friendships through this time.

2020 has thrown us some serious curveballs, and not being able to see your friends in the normal ways you might have before, means it’s even more important to nurture these friendships. Here are our top tips:

Zoom calls

Nurturing friendships through the pandemic - RGU

Ah yes, the good old weekend Zoom call and quiz. We salute anyone who is still partaking in quizzes and certainly don’t want to come up against you in a pub quiz post Covid-19! In all seriousness, Zoom (and similar platforms) are a really great way to stay in touch. You can watch your favourite programmes or movies together, catch up, or even virtually attend an appointment or event with your friends! A member of our team attended her best friend’s wedding dress fitting via Zoom, so you don’t have to miss out on anything. Zoom fatigue is certainly a thing though, so don’t feel bad if you’re not feeling it one night. You could even join the call with your camera off so you can still be there to hear your friend’s news, even if you don’t fancy chatting too much yourself. Maybe you’re looking for ways to get creative on Zoom? Here are some more ideas you can explore:

  • Murder Mysteries/Escape Rooms
  • Virtual Dinner Party
  • Weekly Virtual Coffee Dates
  • Parallel Cook
  • Have a Presentation Party – All take turns preparing a 5 minute presentation on a topic of interest to you (the more niche the better!) and present it to your friends.
  • Get involved with the activities the RGU Union Sports Clubs and Societies are hosting.

*Please note – this image was taken before COVID-19.

Memes

Nurturing friendships through the pandemic - RGU
Source: https://bit.ly/3aSVzl0

This was a popular suggestion amongst our community. Sending memes and tagging your friends in funny posts is definitely a great way to stay connected, have a laugh and maybe even reminisce on memories. They are also funnier the more relatable they are too! There’s a lot of heavier news out there these days and the power of a funny meme and a giggle should not be underestimated.

Although not a meme, we can’t not talk about TikTok! We love sharing and receiving funny TikTok videos, but be careful – it’s easy to lose a few hours to the app. While you’re there – follow us on TikTok – @robertgordonuni.

@robertgordonuni

That feeling when you finally get back on campus🥳 #rgu #frenchie #aberdeen

♬ Swear By It – Clutch

Listen and talk, but also let yourself be listened to

Nurturing friendships through the pandemic - RGU

It’s really important to be there for your friends and let them talk through anything that’s on their mind or troubling them. Being a good listener is sometimes all that a person needs, but also be ready to engage and offer some advice or helpful thoughts. Really understanding what someone is going through and focusing on their needs in that moment is really important and we’re sure your friends will appreciate this time and effort.

That being said, it’s also really important to share your own thoughts and feelings and ensure you are heard and supported by your friends, in the same way you support them and asking for this help is okay.

Ways to support and be supported by your friends could include undertaking small, thoughtful gestures, being patient, asking what would help, listening and comforting and also guiding them to further support if required – be that a doctor or healthcare worker, phoning a helpline or speaking to a trusted adult. If you are struggling and need to speak to someone then please reach out to RGU’s counselling and wellbeing team. The Student Counselling & Wellbeing Centre has Counsellors and a Student Wellbeing Advisor who can talk over issues that may be concerning you. We also provide online mental health self-help programmes 24/7 through our Silvercloud platform to help with Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Body Image.

Check in

It’s okay to not be in constant contact all the time. People are busy and trying to navigate their way through a global pandemic the best they can. Sometimes the group chat can be overwhelming, or maybe you or a friend just don’t have the energy to reply to a message one day. It definitely feels easier to cancel an online catch up with your friends than it ever did to cancel on a coffee or dinner date. Whilst it’s absolutely okay to cancel it’s still really important to check in with your friends regularly, especially whilst we can’t see them in person. You may notice someone is being a little more quiet than usual or wants to cancel/reschedule calls every time one is planned, so check in on them (and if it’s in a group chat, message them separately) to ask how they are and if they need anything.

Write and post letters

Being able to send and receive messages at the touch of a button is extremely handy and a great way to be in continual communication with your friends. However, there is something to be said for writing and posting letters. It forces you to sit down and focus on what you’re writing and what you want to say. It’s also a good excuse to get outside and take a walk to the nearest post box and then, you get to wait in anticipation for your friend’s response. You could send physical photographs to them of happy memories or times that made you laugh, or you could include a small surprise like some chocolate or a sweet. We think it’s a lovely way to show someone you are thinking of them, you might even find it a nice break from technology and your usual lockdown routine.

There are many other ways to nurture your friendships throughout the pandemic (and post pandemic too!) but for now it’s important to focus on the ways we can do this from a distance and mainly online. It may be difficult and something we’re not used to, but these times will hopefully allow you to discover more about yourself and your friends, creating stronger and more meaningful relationships with the people you’re closest to.

Do you have any tips you would like to share on how to nourish friendships during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments or send us an email to marketing@rgu.ac.uk.

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