The question “how to make friends during quarantine?” is crossing many people’s minds at the minute. The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t look to be going anywhere fast; we’re already well into the second wave, resulting in many children being home-schooled and university classes reverting to online resources.
We may be getting used to the amount of distance that we have to keep from others, but it doesn’t mean that it gets any easier. There are many things that we can’t control during the pandemic, such as: going out for meals and being able to go shopping without a facemask. But, fortunately, just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean that we can’t meet new people.
If you’re finding that the isolating effects of the pandemic are taking their toll on your mental health, then we at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, can advise and help you to control the symptoms.
Isolation and Mental Health
We’re all experiencing a range of different emotions during quarantine. Still, one of the more common and identifiable ones is loneliness. In our efforts to keep our loved ones safe, the typical lifestyle of seeing family and friends on a regular basis has been put on pause. This has left many people wondering how they can maintain old friendships, but also how they can possibly make new friends during quarantine.
Loneliness in itself isn’t a mental health problem, but it can have a significant impact on our mental well-being if it’s prolonged, such as during quarantine.. The effect of loneliness on our mental health can include:
- Symptoms of anxiety and depression. There can be a vicious cycle between the symptoms of loneliness and the symptoms of depression, as it can be difficult to discern which is causative of the other. Still, they can feel very similar to the individual.
- Withdrawing further and causing increased feelings of loneliness. After prolonged periods of time, people can grow accustomed to being by themselves, and they can actually lose the sense of how to feel at ease in the company of others. This can cause them to revert into themselves further and create deeper feelings of isolation.
- Social anxiety. Being by ourselves for a long period of time and then having to suddenly revert to navigating social events may cause intense feelings of anxiety and fear. This could lead to some avoiding social situations entirely.
- Poor quality relationships. When people are trying to make friends but lack the confidence to be themselves, they often try to mold themselves into a person that they think that others would want them to be. This may lead to shallow relationships, which can ultimately create the same feelings of loneliness as being by ourselves.
Tips on How to Make Friends During Quarantine
If you’re wondering how to make friends during quarantine, you might have to accept the fact that you’ll probably have to take the initiative. Reaching out to people can be intimidating, but it can be incredibly rewarding when it pays off. It may feel scary at first, especially if you have a fear of rejection, but if you make the situation work for you through using the following tips, then you may end up even happier in your social circle than you were before the pandemic.
- We don’t always have to make new friends in order not to feel lonely; we can reconnect old friendships. It may be of more benefit to reconnect with people that we used to know rather than forging new friendships – research has shown that we tend to display higher levels of trust with previous friends than with new ones. This means that the friendship is already likely to be deeper and more meaningful to us.
- Ask family and friends to put you in touch with someone that they think that you’ll get along with. The people closest to you know you best. If they have an inkling that you’ll connect well with someone that they know, they’re probably right. Plus, they’ll have your best interests at heart.
- Become closer with the people that you already know. Perhaps you know someone through someone else, or else there’s someone from university or work that you suspect that you would get along with better given the opportunity. There’s a good chance that they too are wondering how to make friends during quarantine, and now’s your chance to delve deeper into that friendship. Perhaps send them an email or a text message to ask how they’re coping during the pandemic. This will show them that you’re trying to connect.
- Use the resources that you have at your availability. Unfortunately, our resources are more limited during quarantine, but there are many ways to connect with others online. Social media has countless specific interest groups, as well as groups of people in your area, and repeated messaging over time can forge deep and meaningful friendships. Keep in touch with family and friends using methods such as Zoom, or FaceTime, as this will also help to prevent feelings of loneliness.
- Use positive self-talk. Reverting back to social situations after prolonged periods of isolation can feel very daunting and may result in negative self-talk. It may be helpful to create some positive affirmations which will remind you about how much you have to offer others. Affirmations such as “I am an interesting person with so much to give” will instill you with positivity and confidence.
To find out more about caring for your mental health, or to learn about the mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at 518-218-1188.