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Navigating friendships in Lockdown

Proverbs 27:9-10 TPT

Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.

So never give up on a friend or abandon a friend of your father—for in the day of your brokenness you won’t have to run to a relative for help.

A friend nearby is better than a relative far away.

This is not a topic I like to talk or write about because I’ve been hurt by friends and I’ve also hurt others. Having close friends is not easy for me. I went from struggling to detach to struggling to get attached for fear that they’ll leave. I admit I’m hard to love. I have many associates but there are few people who you can truly be vulnerable with and will still show you the same love and respect. These days, I try not to show too much public displays of affection because I honestly don’t want to pretend that my friendships are perfect. They’re not but that doesn’t mean they are not special.

Sometimes pride which is really just fear disguised stops us from reaching out to others. We don’t always see eye to eye. We disagree. We apologise. Sometimes we get too familiar and may even take the people in our lives for granted. We are sometimes busy and have different commitments. But whenever I’m having a moment where I feel like I just can’t be ‘strong’ anymore. I reach out to a friend. Who encourages me, speaks life into me, reminds me to keep going and most importantly to put my hope in God.

By yours truly,

Ebony Ali

This piece was inspired by my friend Morenike Akintaju, who wrote the piece below.

Relationships in lockdown

Relationships are a naturally complicated because people are complicated. We are constantly changing as we adapt to changes in our environment. Lockdown came as a shocking and sudden change that the majority of us were unprepared to navigate.

I believe one of the signs of a good relationship whether platonic or romantic is that a person is there for you when you’re going through a difficult time and vice versa. But with Lockdown being a difficult time for most people for various reasons, it’s understandable that some people may have experienced loneliness, neglect or felt abandoned by their nearest and dearest. Especially for those who don’t live with or live in proximity to their partner/family/friends. Even with technology providing constant communication and connection, one could have easily felt disconnected and isolated during this time.

Lockdown allowed me to reflect on my relationships. As someone who would describe themselves as an ambivert, I experienced a range of emotions; from embracing lockdown and enjoying solitude to crying from being overwhelmed by my thoughts, but not wanting to reach out for the sake of not wanting to ’bother’ people – and that is okay. I am human.

Now emerging from lockdown, some of us are picking up from where we left off in our relationships having not had that physical face to face contact and its like how do we do that?

Things I have learnt, the three C’s :-

  1. Compassion – understanding that lockdown was a SHARED experience. However, although it was shared, we all responded differently; trying to get through it the best way we could. This also helped me settle any expectations I had in all my relationships during this time.

  2. Communication – post lockdown being willing to be real; talking but also listening to their personal highs and lows of lockdown, the array of emotions, the difficulties and rawness, the crazy ideas and discoveries. I appreciate this vulnerability may not be for everyone, but it can be a form of comfort and closure and will encourage point 1. This is probably best done over food, dessert or drinks.

  3. Commitment – relationships are like investments. You intentionally put your resources into it (time, energy, money) and watch it develop over time. It requires a mindset of ‘being in it for the long haul’. If your relationships are important to you, then you decide to be committed to it despite the difficulties that may arise. You decide to be intentional in building some parts of your relationships again, brick by brick as lockdown may have eroded at some of its foundations. For some it may be getting to know a side of your loved one that you haven’t seen before and that is okay because people are complicated and people change.

To stay connected with Ren please follow: @morenpen on Instagram.

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