Many of us have now spent months separated from our friends and peers whom we used to see almost every day before the lockdown. Judging by the social media posts we have seen lately, if the stress and change of lockdown have been getting to you, you’re not the only one.
Many of us want to return to the madness of planning meet-ups months in advance, or filling our evenings with seeing everyone in our phone book again. We would like normality to return, where we can meet for a coffee or roadside tea and bhelpuri, and enjoy our friendships in REAL LIFE again.
And now that Zoom quizzes and Google Meet are slowly becoming mandatory, how has lockdown changed our friendships? And most importantly, what are people going to do this Friendship Day?
Social media to the rescue
When asked, Zahid Hasan, an undergraduate studying Computer Science and Engineering, said, “Despite the distance created because of the virus, I am understanding the need to use social media to stay connected, now more than ever. I am not really a person who likes having video conversations, but to check up on my close friends we often have video chats together. However, this virtual communication is not as impactful or emotional as our meet-ups in real life. For this friendship day, I really wanted to go out and meet my friends in person, but I believe the greatest gift right now for anyone is safety.”
A big pause for a big group of friends
Another Bangladeshi student, Iqra Risalat, also opened up to us about the effect of this pandemic on her relationship with her friends. She said, “Social media is of course there for checking up on our friends, but it never really matches up to real hangouts. Besides, I am barely connected to the friends who were not too close to me but nevertheless quite significant. It is because we are really used to hanging out in groups and now a one-to-one conversation is not as impactful or enthusiastic. And for this friendship day, despite there being no official lockdown, I still plan on being safe and not taking any risk. I will try to celebrate it online with my friends and it will be a new experience for us.”
“Hope smiles from the threshold, whispering ‘it will be happier’” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
Despite this lockdown putting a big halt in our regular activities with our friends; it is the hope for a better future that still manages to find its way through to help us stay sane. Saimon Parvez Wali, another undergraduate from the field of BBA, tells us, “Presently, I am not feeling too sad or anxious because I have strong faith that everything will be alright really soon and I will see my friends. Actually, this belief is how I am coping up with this lockdown. And for this friendship day, I believe staying safe and sharing memes online is going to be the perfect way to celebrate.” Of course, laughter is the best medicine. And given the current scenario, we need to make each other smile more to reduce the anxiety.
The charm of friendship is about the people
When asked how this pandemic is affecting her friendship, Muhtasima Yasmeen Shamsi, an undergraduate studying literature, said, “As my friends are really important in my life, it sometimes is a bit difficult to think of how long we have come without seeing each other. It’s not like we had to meet every day, but the thought of restrictions and not meeting them for an unknowingly long time is still very bothering.”
When asked about celebrating this year’s friendship day, she beautifully replied, saying, “The charm of friendship is never about any place or food. Rather, it’s about the ones who fulfill our lives like bright colors. And our hearts will always try to find a way to keep them close. And I hope, with time, we’ll get used to this new normal.”
Friendship day for the subtle ones
Having discussed these matters, it is time to put a stop to a common stereotype that exists like a virus out there. Friendship does not always mean that you need a big bunch of cool people sticking together. And when it comes to friendship day, there is no hard-and-fast rule that dictates that you must go out of your comfort zone to express your feelings.
This is exactly what Jahin Kaiisser, a recent graduate said, “I’m one of those people who enjoy solitude. I love my friends and express my love to them on a daily basis in my own way. So, I believe in subtle ways that hold a lot of power when it comes to maintaining friendship, especially in these crazy times.”
Why, of course! Friendship is a powerful bond that can be expressed in every possible way.
The writer is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.