Sometimes it’s a rough patch. Other times, it’s the end of the road. Here’s a guide to navigating prolonged quiet times within your friendships.
According to author and connection coach, Kat Vellos there are four primary “seeds” of connection that need to be nurtured for friendship to grow a blossom.
Vellos names the requirements in the book “We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships,”: namely close physical proximity, regular interactions, a compatible outlook on life, and a shared commitment to being there for each other.
That’s including the times where boundaries loo like ‘no’ or ‘not right now.” You may have to take a step back and let you friend have some space without feeling slighted or owed.
Now I want to say that going through a pandemic shouldn’t turn into the friendship Olympics or survivor to see who will “outwit, outplay and outlast” who. Everyone’s getting through life how they can.
Know When To Walk Away
Friends have an important role in our life. And while at the best of times, they are the people who support us and make us feel understood, at other times, they can abuse their access to you. Instead of impulsively cutting them off, try and ascertain if this is a rough patch or the the end of the road.
“Healthy friendships do the exact same thing as healthy food. They feel good, they lift us up, they help us grow and ultimately bring out the best in us. If we ate lollies and chips all the time, we’d feel tied down, we’d get a stomach ache, we wouldn’t feel good. Unhealthy friendships drag us down, and they bring out the worst in us.”says friendship expert and founder of URSTRONG Dana Kerford to Elle.
A Breather Not A Clean Break
You may want to avoid making rash decisions in some instances and instead of cutting your friend off entirely, treat this more as a break.
There are season for people too and sometimes, some people circle their way back into your orbit. Lydia Denworth, author of “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond” draws the comparison to a forgotten sweater that suddenly fits you perfectl again after some time.
But as the months have gone on, and the Zoom dates and group chat messages became less and less frequent we’re faced with the reality that digital communication cant’t entrirely replace real life interaction and according to Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford.
The effects of the pandemic may take their toll in a long term or even permanent way on our most cherished friendships.
Being There For Your Buddies
There are some things that you can do in friendship when things go quiet. Firstly check on your friends to make sure that they’re okay. Reaching out may be the platform your friends need to express something that’s on their chest.
It’s quite possible that the silence can be indicative of something else that’s going. So while you don’t ever have to tolerate rubbish behavior that extends beyond your boundaries, have some patience and be gentle with the homies.