Another message from my new book, Dear Lauren, Love Mom: 31 Days of Affirmations for My Daughter, for Myself, and for YOU is about the value of friends. It’s a quote from my fiction alter ego, Tería Robens, “Friends are in the best position to give you a good kick in the butt because they have your back.” Even if we aren’t seeing our friends right now, we can nurture those relationships, have fun, keep each other motivated and on track, give and get support and encouragement. We can even form new connections.
People are right when they say, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Supportive, fun people don’t know where you are unless you’re out there looking for them. Although we’re in the age of social distancing, there are virtual ways to reach out. Join a podcast community that discusses an issue you care about and COMMENT! Meetup.com, Facebook groups, and other social media platform communities can help you find people who like ideas, books, movies, activities, and other topics you enjoy. You can even start a group and attract like-minded potential new friends. If you decide it’s safe to meet, mask-up, social distance, and choose outdoor public places. Don’t share personal information until you’re comfortable and NEVER, EVER give financial information. When you meet by video, make sure there’s nothing in the background that can identify where you are and don’t film anything really valuable.
Don’t be afraid. Reach out. Speak to people. One problem with masks is that people can’t see you smile. You have to talk. I just joined a socially-distant exercise class at the Y, and I’m making a point of getting the name of one new person each session. I make sure I greet and have a quick chat with the people I’ve already met before or after each class. Maybe some of them will turn into buddies with whom I can video chat, discuss books or movies (even stream and discuss at the same time), or when it’s safe, meet for coffee.
Don’t give in to COVID isolation. Even post-COVID, you will have to do more than go to work, go to church, and go home. Get out there. Join a new ministry. Go to that lecture at the library. Take a class at the community college.
Though being connected is not the same (and I’m not sure it ever will be), maintaining our current relationships and forming new ones is possible, necessary, fun, comforting, rewarding, and all that good stuff. As I say in my book, Dear Lauren, Love Mom, YOU ARE WORTH IT. Check it out on Amazon.com and check out the newest video on Instagram, or on YouTube.