Connect Friends

How To Feel Connected When You’re Missing Your Coworkers and Friends 

Christine Burke  |  May 11, 2020

As social distancing drags on, it's difficult to stay meaningfully connected with friends and coworkers, but we've got ways well beyond Zoom happy hours.

A few weeks ago, I had a massive meltdown in my kitchen and it wasn’t pretty. No, I wasn’t crying over the latest coronavirus statistics and I wasn’t upset because we were on week “who the hell knows” of a shelter-in-place order with no end in sight. 

I was crying over mayonnaise, specifically, the empty jar that one of my teens had put back into the refrigerator for reasons still unknown to me.

Earlier that morning, while juggling my work load, I had a sudden craving for an egg salad sandwich and I had looked forward to it all morning. A hard boiled egg or two, some chopped celery, and just the right amount of mayo to compliment the huge helping of potato chips I’d inevitably put on the side. That sandwich was going to be a bright spot in my day because that’s what quarantine has reduced us to these days: Getting excited about lunch at 9 o’clock in the morning. 

As I stood in front of the refrigerator, holding that empty jar of mayo, all of the stresses from the past few weeks came crashing down on me, and I broke down into a pile of tears. Yes, it was a first world problem, but given the state of the world right now, replacing that mayo was going to be a stressful experience. 

In my frustrated state, I texted a friend about my mayo plight, knowing she’d understand what it was like to have teens who deplete quarantine comfort foods like it’s their mission in life. 

Not only was she very kind and didn’t laugh about my Hellman’s crisis, about twenty minutes after our text exchange, she arranged to send two huge heaping tablespoons of mayo to my house, in an effort to save my sandwich (and my sanity). Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but, as I sat on my back patio in the warm sunshine, eating comfort food from my childhood, I marveled at how lucky I am to have friends who have gone the extra mile. 

And the whole thing got me to thinking about what everyone else is doing to stay connected with their friends, coworkers, and communities. Naturally, I checked in with the amazing members of our HerMoney Facebook group to find out. 

Jen H said: “We’ve been drawing on driveways/sidewalks with sidewalk chalk… birthdays, anniversaries, just because…it’s simple and inexpensive, gives us something to do, and fun for the person/family on the receiving end.”

Christine S. says: “Old fashioned phone calls 1-on-1 with the people who matter. And I’m lucky enough to live in a small city so people walk by a lot and we get to have an appropriately-distanced chat. Seeing a real human makes a difference.”

Sarah M. says: “I had a friend do a drive by delivery of a bouquet of flowers and it made me feel so loved!!”

Landa R. says: “I make friends their favorite foods and they pick it up from outside my building. We all wear masks and gloves and observe social distancing but it’s great to catch up with even an elbow knock.”

Resa H. says: “I’ve tried to support local businesses. Many of them are posting their items on Instagram or Facebook. I’ve bought several items and had them delivered to friends. I let my friend know that something is on the way and what made me think of them when I bought it.”

Vicky A. says: “I have one friend I write letters with, hand written. I go for socially distanced walks. The other night I picked up two separately packaged meals from a restaurant nearby and a friend and I ate in her backyard. We have been doing end of the driveway social hours on our street.”

Karen P. says: “Last week I had a friend come by for some treats I had delivered and we sat on opposite sides of the room for safety and we didn’t hug like we normally would….but seeing each other face to face really made my month. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I saw someone I cared about (I’m quarantined solo).

Even the HerMoney Staff has jumped on the “Share The Friendship Love” train:

Kathryn Tuggle, Editor-in-Chief: “I’ve been sending care packages, and the items I’ve been buying are all purchased from small businesses… And I’m mailing everything from the USPS, so I feel it’s a trifecta: Bringing joy to a friend, supporting a small business, and supporting the post office.” 

Becca Cohen, Reporter: “I sent cards to all of my close friends! So I didn’t have to go outside or into a store, I created online cards on Postable that will be printed and shipped via snail mail. I am really excited for them to arrive because I know it will make my friends smile. It’s the little things!” 

Dayana Yochim, Senior Editor/Writer: “On non-rainy evenings, a few of us neighbor pals get together in our courtyard so our dogs can NOT social distance while the rest of us shuffle around looking like we’re planning a bank heist with cute masks. It’s a great chance for two- and four-legged friends to connect IRL at a distance and proudly compare how much time we’ve spent on TikTok… without shame.”

Jessica Patel, Chief of Growth: “I make sure to text most of my close friends and family individually at least every other day, followed up by phone calls, Zoom chats and facetimes. We even arranged a big Zoom group with all our cousins just as a way to check in. The one thing I do like about this whole thing is that it’s broken down that wall of feeling weird about having not spoken to someone in a while. It’s OK to reach out to anyone and say: Hey, you OK?”

My friends have done everything from supplying me with an extra can of black beans for a recipe to keeping me informed about what stores are carrying the hottest quarantine commodity: toilet paper. The friends who have lent a hand with online French homework or who have shown up at an appropriately socially distanced length in my driveway just to say “Hi” are the ones who are making quarantine bearable, one kindness at a time… And I hope the moms in my neighborhood group text never stop sending me memes, even after all this is over. 

And, to the friend who saved my egg salad sandwich:  thank you for realizing that a mayo crisis during a quarantine is no yolk.

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