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Writing Challenge Day 18: Finding Friendship

Level 8

“Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet.” While horrific to some, this is a personal catchphrase. I believe the world is filled with so many wonderful, unique individuals to meet. And think of the variety of places you could meet them! At a coffee shop, in an airport lounge, by the snack bar at a coworker’s housewarming, or in the park down the street from a new dance studio.

That is—until the pandemic began.

In this new existence, I began cultivating established relationships through Zoom hangouts and FaceTime calls. But meeting a new friend? That notion was placed in a box and sealed shut until 2022—right next to “hugs” and “blowing out birthday candles.”

So, I was surprised to discover that this globally shared experience did foster new connections in my life. The game of “We’re Not Really Strangers” that deepened my friendship with an acquaintance after we exchanged personal anecdotes (the game’s pièce de résistance). The Antakshari circle birthed by Instagram, spanning over six different time zones and professionals in the music industry. The neighbors I never noticed before, but now to whom I wave enthusiastically on my daily walks.

I even went a step deeper and finally, with clear eyes, examined the friendship I had with myself. Being kind to myself when I made mistakes. Delving more time and space into what interested me. Taking a giant pause as a reset to sing “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” to the mirror (okay, maybe not that last one literally…but I had to sneak Disney in somehow).

I’d love to know—how have you found friendship—with yourself, or others—in these times? Were you able to strengthen an existing relationship, or reconnect with an old friend? Did you meet someone new? Let us know in the comments!

12 Comments

The wife and I are building a new house in a new neighborhood.  Because of the equity in the old home I was able to bump up to a much more expensive home.  

While it is under construction I am meeting my future neighbors.  

Mehmet and his family has the property to the South.  He is a data scientist that was born in Turkey. 

Nilesh and his family live on the property to the North.  He is a developer that works for IBM and was born in India.   

This part of the sub division has only one way in and out and just long two streets and only seven homes are left to complete the build out.  

The little area of 90 or so homes is a melting pot of CPA's, engineers and tech professionals.  So in just a few houses near me we have Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish religions represented.   They or their forefathers were born in Turkey, India, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Sicily, or Vietnam and they all now live in Texas.   

I guess they all came in search for a Fiber GB connection to the Internet and not much snow.

Welcome to Texas!!

Paul 

Community Manager
Community Manager

I sincerely hope that I don't have to wait until 2022 to get a @faria_akram 🤗.  I'm willing to wait for summer 2021, but not another year. 

We've been slowly building up the list of friends from people who before were only acquaintances.  The number of shared life experiences people have getting to where they are today is fruitful soil from which you can harvest memories and share stories with people.  If people connect with you in those stories, then you are one step closer to friendship.

Until such time as it's safe, vHugs for everyone!

Level 9

HEY FRIEND!

I know you and I have had some in-person time: masked up and standing 10 feet apart on my driveway. That's been great, and we should do it again. 

Before the pandemic started, a small group of my friends started playing an online game of Dungeons & Dragons. (Since we're in different states, it was always going to be an online game. It ended up being really convenient to keep playing when we were all locked down.) We've kept up the game and are coming up on almost a year of playing. This game has kept me in much closer contact with a very good long-distance friend, and I feel a lot closer to the other people in the group, who I'd only met in-person once before, in 2016. Our group chat isn't just D&D stuff anymore; it's talking about our lives and sharing our quarantine projects. It's been great getting closer to them. 

Level 11

Have not met anyone besides my new neighbors. Still haven't really got to know them since my kid is high risk we are being extra cautious. My family has been doing video conferencing with each other which has been nice and would not have been done without Covid.

Level 11

I have grown closer with the neighbors with socially distance chats during my daily walks.  

Level 8

@Radioteacher that's so exciting! Congrats! That diversity is so beautiful. You all have so much to offer one another!

@KMSigma the optimist in me says it'll be summer 2021, but the realist says otherwise :). Here's hoping it's sooner!! More friends is wonderful! I've personally loved story time with you and Dana.

@allison.rael HI, I'M DOWN. Also you are one of the top 10 people I am most excited to hug (once it's safe). Exactly! I love how this situation has brought us closer to people we may not have been before, simply because many relationships (friendships and otherwise) are now long-distance ones.

@EBeach I'm glad you guys still get to connect with others while staying safe! Sending good vibes to your family! 🙂

@tphelps01 That's wonderful! Pre-pandemic I felt like I saw my neighbors so often, I didn't make much of an effort to get to know them. Now they are treasured as the few people I do get to see from far away, and I'm much more curious about my new friends! 

Virtually everyone on Thwack is a stranger to me in that I've not met any of them in person.  And yet, a good number of people I feel so familiar toward that I could probably count them as friends.

They're people who've corresponded with me multiple times.  Folks appearing on Thwack videos.  People who regularly post interesting stories and pictures here.

 

During COVID-19's isolation, I've made new friends by opening myself up to new venues in social media.  By researching friends-of-friends in FB and reaching out to those that seem interesting.

And by smiling and waving at strangers on the road as I walk or drive by.  Granted, it's not a deep friendship; it's more a way of slightly improving someone's day, and of leaving them with a better impression of the people they pass by.

It's as deep as anyone wants to make it.  I like driving through rural areas where strangers raise their fingers off the steering wheel in greeting--even when they've never met me, and probably never will.

"Hi, Stranger.  Be welcome in my part of the world!"

rschroeder_0-1608490380142.png

 

 

I can relate. I love being with others and having shared experiences. My wife and I seem to make friends where ever we have traveled across the globe.

My wife says I got this behavior from my Dad. We have this ability to make folks feel comfortable. We establish a good rapport very quickly. That is not to say they all become close friends. That rarely happens, but in normal life I know a lot of people on a first name basis and will strike up a descent conversation. But those are mostly in conversations that have a purpose. It is a situation that warrants communication. What I find very difficult is to strike up a conversation just because I want to get to know a person more. It does make me appear as standoffish. My reality is that I don't want to intrude, I don't want to disrupt whatever it is that is going on with that other person. Which if you ever meet me would seem like a great contradiction. I have no problem standing in front of a crowd, I get nervous doing presentations - but that is normal, and I do not hesitate for a moment to be myself.

I think it stems from a level of comfort I developed as a child in be perfectly fine by myself. I am okay with me. But I always welcome new friends. Perhaps you would like to come and play some Bocce Ball?

Prairie BoccePrairie Bocce

Level 11

Friends are the family we choose ourselves.

 

I do not think I am the friendliest person.   I don't even know my neighbors.   I can not say its due to Covid.   I am just a relatively quiet, keep to myself person.   No not the same as thinking the world is out to get me with some huge conspiracy theory.   I just like keeping to myself.   My friends are dear to me and many of them are not close to me physically.   I am blessed to have my wonderful family around.   

 

I do not put a lot of stock in online friends as there is something missing.   With SolarWInds for example, we have opportunities or did, to get together and meet in person at a SWUG and other events.  Other social media platforms, unless you are part of some group, say, Jeeps, pets, or something of the like, that actually meet up, how can you ever build a friendship.   this social engineered realm of finding strangers, I would argue are not really friends but familiar strangers.   

Level 13

I started a new job this year, and it has been a challenge making new friends among my new colleagues as I haven't been able to hang out in person. Our regular virtual happy hour helps out tons, to be sure. In ordinary times, despite working from home, I would have attended in person happy hours and events, visited the office multiple times, etc. to help build those relationships. I am lucky that I already had relationships with a few of my colleagues through my previous THWACK MVP and partner adventures. Outside of that, I worked hard to maintain my closeness with my family and a few friends. It definitely has been a challenge as I am normally not the person that regularly drives the social activity - like I will go and have a good time, but I am not usually the one getting everyone together. My brother is what I like to call the social glue in most of my relationships. He is very much an extroverted person (so this year has been challenging for him in that respect) and he will last minute throw together game nights, hang outs, bonfires, whatever and we all go like flies to honey. Needless to say, that hasn't really happened this year so I think all of our social meters are fairly empty. We still get together virtually for online games and probably always will. 😀

Level 14

One of the neat this about the situation has been I've actually met most of my neighbors (I live in an area secluded between two busy roads). It's only been 18 months since I moved here, but during my walks I was able to see and meet them, their kids and dogs. Everyone is always concerned about how the other person is doing and we check up on each other. It's been nice, and I feel at home.