But how far is too much? And are any of those relationships worth rekindling or are we better off without the people we grew up with?
Jennifer Scott, 43, deleted a Facebook account she had owned for almost a decade and stayed off the platform because she said she couldn’t handle race relations interactions and the pandemic with people “who were just spouting nonsense.”
“I believe in forgiveness and grace, not so much for giving people free passes, but more for your own sanity and stability,” she said. “Hanging on to being mean and bitter isn’t really great for your brain, but I also believe you can love people from a distance.”
There are quite a few friendships that Scott feels are worth rekindling and as a mother of two daughters aged 6 and 7, she said it was natural to walk away from friends who have also been busy with mom’s life.
And with friendships worth keeping, she has no problem taking steps to rekindle the bond. But that’s not the case with all relationships.
“It’s the loving thing, the good thing not to have them in your inner circle,” Scott said. “Be polite, say hello, but I can certainly think of a handful of people that I might not do my best to speak with again because the space created by the pandemic has allowed so much to be done area.”
She added: “Even if you take out all the political aspects, how many people found out that they weren’t missing this person the way they thought, or it wasn’t a difference of opinion, you just don’t feel no. it’s more, or maybe the friendship wasn’t that close at the start? “
The SHIP relationship has sailed
Each year for spring training, James Tierney, 35, and a group of his friends come together to mark the start of the baseball season. Last year they didn’t meet. And since they haven’t met, text messages in their group chat have become less frequent.
“I guess it will pick up again,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if things have changed or if we will resume with a few years off.”
Tierney said sarcastically, he and his wife Kim have spent more time on Zoom calls with friends who are nearby than with those who live far away.
The couple’s bond with their neighbors and friends who live near their home in central Pennsylvania grew from a random Friday night reunion and turned into a routine weekly reunion.
On Sunday, Tierney still sets aside time to catch up on Skype with his family, scattered across the country. He said he even got closer to his 81-year-old grandfather.
But his approach to some relationships has changed. Tierney plays poker with close friends and he says they don’t always agree on things, but when they don’t agree they tend to dismiss the issue. He admits he doesn’t know how healthy this tactic is, but that it allows them to maintain a relationship regardless of their personal feelings on divisive issues.
“It was a conversation that had to take place ahead of time, like, ‘Hey, I don’t want to talk about politics every time I come here,'” he said. “I think it’s a balance that each person has to find within themselves.”
Distance is not = disrespect
Over the past few weeks, three of Hilary Dare’s friendship groups have fallen out.
Dare, 33, said relations were deteriorating over current events and with the pandemic as a backdrop, it was separating people more than ever.
“It’s hard to be human right now,” she said. “Since I have lost a lot of friendships and unfortunately with the death of some people as well, I have to be careful who I let into my orbit – this is a very difficult time to start having difficult conversations and to know when (relationships) are really over. ”
And like Scott, Dare is open to rekindling relationships with people who are ready to hear his take on a potentially divisive issue. But for those who aren’t, she said she doesn’t want to be silenced like she used to be – and that includes some family relationships.
“With the family thing, there’s a lot of pain there,” she says. “Some of them don’t like me and I don’t think I should go to spaces where I am not loved or where my voice is not wanted… so I say no to the family situation. “
And if it wasn’t difficult enough to deal with working relationships, family relationships and friendships, Dare also ended a romantic relationship on Covid-19 protocols.
“It ended because of our different mindsets about the vaccine and the masks, and I have a feeling he faked a CDC card so that he could fly to Europe,” she said. “I always think about the ethics of things.”
An inventory of your connections
Repairing a relationship is no easy task and it requires looking at every relationship with a fresh eye, Jay Shetty, life coach and host of the health podcast “On Purpose” told CNN.
Ask yourself why the relationship is so important to you. Then understand how connected that relationship is in your life and think about when you reconnect because you want to find a moment to re-engage with that person when our emotions aren’t overwhelming us, he said.
Many of us have only had virtual relationships throughout the pandemic and that virtual connection doesn’t give us a real view of someone’s real perspective, Shetty said.
“And what the virtual world does, it creates a very specific filter through which we see people – we see their organized lives, their specific thoughts only on world events, cultural events, social events. We don’t see them. really the person beyond those big moments or occasions so that you can see their response to something that is going on in society or in the world, but you don’t really speak with them deeply or understand what they are like and you might not even really know how they’re feeling. “
Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Danielle Harris, 33, said she was inundated with calls during the pandemic from parents seeking help for their teens.
And while most of Harris’ work focuses on working with young people, many of his best practices for improving relationships apply to people of all ages.
Harris said her clients’ needs range from those suffering from loneliness and depression to those who are struggling to re-acclimatize to their daily lives, including their interpersonal relationships.
Referring to the friendships of her clients from a year ago, she said: “They may not be anymore. [them] so they struggle, knowing that they can see friends, but there are no friends to see. ”
Perhaps now is a great time to take a relationship inventory, she said. Check with yourself and determine which friendships match new boundaries or preferences that you may not have had in the past.
What do you even say to someone you haven’t spoken to in months?
Harris advises saying things like, “I hope you can understand that this has been a really tough year and that I have overlooked some friendships that really matter to me.” These are good entry points to restart this conversation, she said.
And to continue the conversation, Harris suggests a few sample questions like, what are they looking forward to doing this summer? What was the best thing that has happened to them this year? What has been the biggest change for them since the pandemic?
And for relationships that remain distant even as the world begins to reopen, they may end up serving both people for the better, Shetty said.
“We equate distance with disrespect and sometimes we can respect someone from farther away than you have in private because you couldn’t look past the parts of themselves. that you couldn’t handle when you were around them, ”he said. “But now that you are away from them, you can actually look at these places and magnify the good that you see there.”
As social interactions pick up, Shetty said he can see people over-engaging because of the vacuum that has been in our lives for so long. But with excessive engagement, there is the potential to feel exhausted and overbooked.
“I think it’s really important that with the new start, we have the opportunity to really look for meaningful experiences, activities, connections with people. We have the opportunity to rearrange and reframe what we’re doing. want to do our time and give our energy to, ”he says.
As things start to open up across the country, the thought of going back to work and being in social situations and just being surrounded by crowds is stressful for a lot of people. Are you nervous about things “getting back to normal”? Tell us how you are feeling: