How to connect with friends during lockdown – BYC Jade Hansper

 In News

Being a Great Friend both during and after ISO

Connecting with others can sometimes be a daunting thing, but it’s vital to keep those good relationships going strong.

Both during and post lockdown it’s so important to support each other, because things aren’t really “normal” and we might not realise it but our friends may be feeling blue or struggling to adapt to the changes.

This means that we need to actively check in on our friends, and invest time into maintaining healthy relationships.

If you’re unsure of where to begin, here are some tips that might help.

Give them a call!

One of the hardest things about connection is getting started. However, once you actually hit the ‘call’ button, you might realise you wanted to see your friend all along. It doesn’t even need to be a long conversation, just a simple “how was your day today?” can make all the difference for someone who’s struggling.

I specifically say “call” because, let’s face it, texting just isn’t the same. Genuine connection is pretty hard over a keyboard; and having a spoken conversation can be far more authentic.

With so many mediums like Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and Social Media, as well as the conventional phone line, there’s a plethora of options.

If you haven’t called your friend before, you can always shoot them a text beforehand. This can also help make sure the call actually happens too.

Opening these options for connection can make it easier for people to reach out when they’re actually not feeling alright.

Ask them how they’re going

Once you’re on the line with your friend, take the time to ask them how they are. This could be as simple as asking them how their day was, or checking in with how they’re feeling.

It can make such a difference to hear that someone’s genuinely interested in your feelings.

Headspace has a really great list of ways you can do this

Listening

We’ve all been guilty of losing focus sometimes. Maybe your thoughts wandered during a speech, or you just couldn’t concentrate on something – these moments are perfectly normal. However, when you ask your friend how they’re doing, you need to be ready to give them your full attention.

Listen to their answer, and really focus on what they want to tell you. This doesn’t mean you grill them on every minuscule thing though – just listen to them without judgement.

Leaving your opinions and judgements at the door can make you both feel more comfortable about sharing your feelings.

Ask what they need from you

Go you! You’ve asked how your friend is – so … what now? They might be feeling awesome, or they might be having a really tough time. Either way, it’s always good to ask them what they need from you.

This could be anything from a distracting conversation, to an online movie night. Maybe they just want some cute gifs in their inbox – who knows? But asking them what they really want is the best way to support them.

Take care of yourself too!

Supporting friends is a really awesome thing to do, but you also need to be a good friend to yourself too. Take your needs into consideration and spend time doing the things you enjoy.

Remember to set boundaries with friends too; your mental health is just as important as theirs. Maybe you’ve just asked them what they needed, and they’ve asked for something that is really inconvenient – like answering their late night phone calls or being online 24/7. If this is the case, remember that you need to support yourself as well, so let them know that you can’t do what they’ve asked. Maybe you can try to find a middle ground where you both feel happy and respected.

To really be a good friend for others, you first need to be healthy and happy yourself.
The Brimbank Youth Council have a series of posts and messages about self care that you can check out under the #BYCares hashtag.

Spend time doing fun things together – Netflix parties, online game nights, trivia, bingo, arts and crafts, chatting

OR

This final tip is the most fun! Bonding with and supporting friends is meant to be enjoyable, so spend time doing fun things together. It may be a little harder in lockdown, but nowadays there are so many things you can do over the internet it’s crazy! Anything from online movie nights to board game tournaments, all you need is a video call and the internet!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Trivia Night (quiz each other using games like Kahoot or get tickets to a hosted trivia night)
Online Bingo (print out some bingo cards and use a random number generator)
Netflix parties (download the browser extension and get comfy!)
Arts and Crafts (try following a tutorial together, or maybe buy two identical craft kits!)
Online game nights (you can find games like Monopoly, Secret Hitler and Cards Against Humanity online! Most of them are free to access, too!)

Stay home, stay safe and stay happy!

Sometimes a friend might need more support than what you can offer, let them know that there are services out their that can help. Brimbank Youth Services is a good first point of contact. https://brimbankyouth.com/programs/b-heard-youth-support-program/

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