Coming Together, While Staying Distanced

Relationships are complicated, whether it be navigating family dynamics, balancing friendships or maintaining a healthy romantic bond. While our current circumstance has the potential to increase the strain it also has the beautiful capacity to shed light on what our potential within relationships and human connection truly is.

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During this time of social distancing, specifically here in Boston as we remain in this static place of a generalized quarantine, it has been a learning process to navigate all our different relationships. I have found that this has shed light onto a beautiful piece of communication and maintaining connections, which is intentionality. Intentionality means to do something deliberately, consciously or on purpose. In relationships, this means we are involved and actively working to make it the best it can be, not just hoping that things will shift back to normal routine as our world re-opens. During this time amid COVID-19, our relationships have changed. This concept of intentionality is necessary right now. We must take actions that bring other people into our current lifestyle, we reach out, we connect. Intentionality during this time of COVID-19 allows us and those in our life to feel valued, loved and noticed.

There was an ease before, an ability to pass over a check-in with friends and instead fill this with a “let’s get drinks this weekend” and piece together a social gathering and a time to catch-up. We had relationships we just fell into, friendships of convenience. Now these are no longer available, not to say that these are not important to have or maintain; however we cannot say “let’s get dinner/movies/ice cream/ANYTHING” right now. Personally, I have found this to be a beautiful way to reconnect within our previously established relationships. However, there is also the sadness if we begin to see that not all in our lives are willing to make a reciprocal effort. These negative feelings will often be outweighed by the immense joy felt when those truly in our lives strive for connection in your same fashion. Always remember, loving someone is a choice.

Self-awareness supports our ability to navigate what it means to be intentional.

What is important to us in our relationships? Who are those relationships? What do we have to give to those around us? What is it that we need in our relationships at this time?

Communication in Quarantine can look different in a fun way. There are so many abilities to reach out to friends, family and loved ones. ZOOM and Facetime being the two most popular. This gives us the feeling of being together while we can’t physically be together. Personally I have found it to be so beneficial to have the opportunity to utilize these tools for all my personal connections. This gives us the social connection we need as humans. I have loved seeing my personal gatherings transition with this circumstance with ease. My book club moved to virtual meetings so we can maintain our contact and connections as we used to gather in person, chatting, catching up, meeting new faces, WINE, more wine and reviewing our most recent reads. Now we are able to maintain this through ZOOM and it has been a huge success, it keeps us captivated and having a consistency to look forward to when so much else is unknown. ZOOM and Facetime have allowed us trivia nights, girls nights, family game nights and so many more activities for which I’m grateful. One thing that sticks out for me is something that my roommate mentioned as we began this journey. I live with three girls who were strangers just a few months ago, we live our independent lives and we maintain a successful home. This changed when we all entered a lockdown in this apartment, one roommate in our first round of games we played stated she wanted to play games not simply for fun but for connection, we live together and we’re now given a beautiful opportunity to know one another for who we truly are. This was profound for me as it speaks to what a blessing we all have at this time, whether we live together or not.

On a lighter note, we have found ways to get even more creative with our time, as have so many others. In my relationships we do drop-offs, simple gestures whether it be a card, some ice cream, a treat, flowers, something to just say ‘hello, I miss you, I can’t wait to reconnect’. I’ve seen home-made bar crawls in apartments (themed and all, A+), my family played distanced BINGO equipped with prizes, and we had a successful murder mystery party! This was my personal baby project. I wanted to find a creative way to connect that also served as a distraction. I have never attended a murder mystery but I was watching Summer House and it looked like something that we needed to do. I used templates online and created ten characters, a plot, and scripts for everyone. I made my murder mystery fully Boston themed for added giggles. I was so thrilled at how successful this was and how much fun we all had. I did secret character drop-offs for everyone, leaving packages in mailboxes, on car windshields, or under doors. When our world re-opens I look forward to making costume mandatory as this would add to the fun but that would’ve been a bit more challenging right now. To my surprise everyone was captivated and solved the murder! We laughed, we questioned one another and we had an evening where there were no thoughts about our ongoing reality, it was just a night with friends.

I would say one of my favorite things thus far has been something that has helped my motivation significantly throughout these eight (+) weeks, what we call “COFIT-19”. A group of my closest girlfriends and I have created this group to maintain our motivation and support of one another. Typically we would be attending classes together, whether it be Turnstyle (spin), Corepower Yoga, BTONE or the bounce classes to name a few favorites (I MISS YOU ALL I CAN’T WAIT TO COME BACK). However obviously these are not options right now. The concept is simple, we submit photos of ourselves doing activities, the sweatier the better, we share links of workouts or activities we think others may enjoy, we have shared workout gear others may enjoy, we show love and support and we motivate the F*** out of each other. It’s ladies only so we are able to be free and show our sweaty ugly and love every second of it. We call ourselves sloths and we use jokes only we’ll understand from when we were kiddos running on the track together. We highlight our bodies and show them so much love. When we hit bumps or need days off we empower each other, we love each other and we let everyone know that IT’S OKAY!!! In April there were a few of us feeling slumped and it was said “don’t be hard on yourself, we are all trying to figure out our new norm during these crazy times. We’re here to motivate each other, it should never feel like you’re not doing enough”. These girls are amazing and I’m so grateful for the circle I have around me. But with this comes my own ability to intentionally participate, to actively engage, to show my support as I am supported by them.

Relationships are hard. Quarantine is hard. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have the things we love with the ones we love. Send a friend or loved one a virtual gift card, host a wine tasting, play trivia or create a scavenger hunt (this is next on our list just working through some kinks!). There are so many ways to further our human connections and build our relationships into more than they’ve ever been. This page will always be about human connection, sharing love and spreading smiles. I hope you take this Tuesday to explore new ways to connect with those around you.

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