COVID-19 has proven to be a difficult time for all of us. With all the ‘lockdown’ and ‘unlockdowns’, social distancing and zoom meetings, people have now gradually started adapting to the new lifestyle or also known as ‘Life after COVID-19’.
On one hand, we can not deny the importance in one’s life of one or a group of individuals who are there, supporting and encouraging from thick to thin. A “single soul dwelling in two bodies” is how Aristotle once described a true friend.
Romans 14:7 states, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.”
However, during this period of pandemic and social distancing, it’s getting difficult to ‘be there’ for your friend when you can see that he/she is struggling emotionally.
Here are some tips on how to be a good friend during COVID-19 and also once this all is over.
- Be Present
A study conducted by Australia’s Flinder’s University showed that after following 1,500 people for 10 years, the people with a large network of friends outlived their counterparts by 22%.
Social distancing does not mean complete self isolation. Try to be as present as possible for your friend and let them know that you are always just a text away.
- Ask ‘How would you like for me to help you right now?’
Sometimes, simply by asking your friend what can you do to help them currently, can get you the correct answer for that situation. Don’t assume, ask!
“Without knowing what the person wants, it’s hard to know what to do,” Martin Antony, Ph.D., author of The Anti-Anxiety Workbook, told SELF.
- Get your friend to consider therapy
The moment you feel that things are getting out of hand, or your friend is struggling with getting his emotions, moods and feelings in order, it’s time to push for therapy. Especially in these times of future uncertainty, more and more people are likely to have troubles managing their moods and they might even start showing signs of anxiety, stress and/or depression. MHT Directory has a list of centres that provide online counselling.
- Help in creating a daily routine
Having a routine in place is greatly beneficial as it removes the question of ‘what next?’. Try setting a combined routine with your friend where you can chalk out things to do together at a similar time. This will also promote a feeling of belongingness. Here is a list of activities that you can include in your routine to make it less mundane and more exciting.
- Influence better choices
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that friends often bond by providing one another with moral support in various spheres of life. However, friends also commonly conspire together to enjoy indulgences.
Realizing that you do have an influence in your friends life and making the most of this knowledge can make a lot of difference. To aid this, here are some virtual socializing ways with which you can help your friend ‘get out of bed’ everyday!
- Take care of your own self
Only when you yourself are feeling fine, can you help your friend. Taking care of one’s own needs is of utmost importance and you will be able to fill the role of a good friend only when you feel healthy, emotionally, yourself. Click here to know about some ways to manage your own emotional health during COVID-19.
Let me know if you have any ideas/ways/instances where you have been a great friend in the comments below and also if you are taking some different approach towards being a good friend during COVID-19.