If there’s one thing I’ve developed and strengthened throughout all of this, it’s my friendships. I have a couple of different pockets of friendship groups, as I’m sure many people do, and each one has grown and matured in its own way since lockdown began.
I have my uni girls, best friends for a decade now. Three of us live within a couple of hours of each other and one lives down in London, so we’re used to an online relationship and only a handful of reunions when all four personal and professional calendars align. We’re all at very similar yet very different junctures of our lives. One has a baby, one has met a new boy and started again, the other is busy renovating a house to move into and I’m just on the cusp of buying my first home. We always check in with one another and make time to catch up with the group chat, but we’ve really looked out for each other over recent weeks. One of my girls works in the NHS, another two have been furloughed and I’m providing key worker children’s child care. We’re all experiencing such different elements of COVID and lockdown.
I have my school and sixth form friendship group. This consists of my best friend since Y12 who I’ve known since Y10 and some friends I met in sixth form. They’ve always kept in touch but I sort of went my own way during my 20s. Over the last few years we’ve all reconnected somewhat and I’ve probably spoken more to these girls in our group chat and over Zoom calls in the last 5 weeks than I have in the last 10 years! Not counting my bestie. I like this group because we’ve known each other for around 12/13 years, and we’ve done our own thing, but we’re all capable of reconnecting and learning from each other. I love that I’m a part of this little group because we’re all so different.
Finally my work colleagues, I wholly consider these people my friends. We’ve had a group chat since December. It doesn’t contain everyone, just a group of us that went on the Christmas do. We’ve written in that more over the last 5 weeks that we have since December. We miss each other. as a team we’ve been torn apart. Two of our teachers are self-shielding and from this week we’re on a social distancing rota which means we’re only in school for limited times and with as few staff as possible. I maintain that when a natural school holiday comes around, we’re ready for a break from school. This isn’t a natural holiday and we’re clearly missing the contact we’d usually have. I’m truly gutted that I only have 3-4 months left of technically being part of this team, our relationships were just starting to bloom. However, I know that I’m going somewhere good and where I’ll also cultivate friendships and feel supported.
Truth be told, I don’t think I’d be getting through the dark days of lockdown without friendship. Obviously relationships with family and my boyfriend counts, but I’m trying to make a distinction between friends, family and boyfriend. They all play a vital role in my sanity right now. I sincerely hope that these friendships continue to go from strength to strength after lockdown.