Let’s talk about building relationships in a post pandemic world. This has been and continues to be a very difficult season in everyone’s lives. All around the world. None have been left unscathed to at least some degree. We have felt felt the pain of loneliness. Now that we are able to venture out again, how to we get back to making new friends and reconnecting with old ones? We are made for community.
Seeking to Build Relationships in a Post Covid World
In retrospect, we may conclude that making friends has always been a risky business. As a child, we may have found it easier to make friends because our parents chose to be with families whose children were raised with much of the same standards as we. Yet, each move to a new town, a new school, left us with an insecure feeling as we began again to choose those with whom we would like to be friends. There was angst and timidity. Now, in returning to the world of mixing with people, re-entering the work environment and again building relationships in a post pandemic world, many are shocked to feel the angst and timidity return. Reports are common of feelings of complete exhaustion after spending a few hours again with old friends.
Is it Worth the Effort to again Spend Time With Friends?
Many workers may have either chosen or were forced to work from home throughout the pandemic. They soon found super efficiency resulting in timesaving and reduced travel. As the social interactions became less, many found solitary joy in reading, gardening, or the like. Gone was the effort required of socializing. However, gone also was the needed comfort and joy found in human relationships.
Each time we as children moved to a new school, a new city, or later in life returned to work, or as adults formed a new social group due to divorce or death of a mate, we experienced disruption and inner conflict. Likewise, there is likely change to be felt when returning from an extended period of forced semi-isolation into the world of physical interaction with friends and co-workers, and a bit of reservation felt in re-building those relationships. We may find it not only challenging but fatiguing. The tendency may be to withdraw and remain on the sidelines.
However, “building a community of friends, even if it starts with a feeling of obligation, boredom, or mild irritation at the time invested in it, is a part of how we protect ourselves and our families from the vagaries of human existence.’ @JonathanTjarks.
Human needs are met, comfort and help are extended when – not if – illness or other tragedy strikes. How comforting to have the immediate care and comfort from friends and family. People from your own group – the people who know and understand you. From your group that has similar beliefs and standards. We are built with the need to belong. The isolation of the pandemic has left many people alone and a bit reticent of trying to return to the comfort of friendships. It is time to flourish rather than languish.
Is it Worth It?
The time saved, the efficiency of non-interrupted work, the extra time available for personal projects, all tempt us to remain semi-isolated as a form of protection. Do optimization and efficiency trump the warmth and encouragement found in great relationships?
Jonathan Tjarks, sports writer for The Ringer, while undergoing treatment for advanced cancer that eventually took his life, wrote, relative to his Life Group membership in a local church, “Life Group is a different kind of insurance – we talk about medical insurance and life insurance – and they are important – but Life Groups give us the insurance that our spouse, our children will be cared for, loved, and led by the surviving members of the group.” Men who will step in and take the son to sports events, teach him to fish, show him how to be a man of God. A group to comfort and care for his wife and her needs. To teach his children about Jesus in his absence.
We all need our Life Groups. Doing life together through the hard times as well as the fun times. Encouraging one another. Understanding others, and not judging each member. Members being Jesus to us.
Keeping our distance through technology allows us to pretend we need no one else – no physical presence of others. But this denies the plan God has for us. In Romans 12:15 we read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep —”.
We need human contacts, shared experiences, fun times with others, in order to enable us to radiate love and joy, while exuding hope to others. It is a give and take. We find joy as we share a caring spirit with friends. Others need us. And we need others. Read more about finding joy here.
If your long-term goal is to be grounded and fulfilled over a lifetime, then it is essential to nurture bonds.
It is much the same as making friends in the children’s. sandbox. We observe and we are drawn to certain individuals, who in turn respond. The depth of that friendship grows through ongoing experiences and encounters. The understanding and dependence of an old friend remains even when circumstances separate us. We must add new friends with whom we are comfortable, who not only abide us but challenge us to be our best. Common interests and common goals bind even the most diverse personalities.
Choosing friends for your intimate group is a sensitive matter.
Acknowledging that no one is perfect, care must be taken in choosing those with whom we can trust, who are not judgmental, who have strong character and challenge us to be our best. Being fun and entertaining as well is surely a plus!
Realizing that there are many circumstances and relationships over which we have little control, we learn to identify those that we do and acknowledge our position, our purpose and our responsibility to recoup the losses and step forward.
Using these tools afforded us such as:
- Faith in Christ – trusting and following His lead
- Discernment – discovering where we can make a difference
- Resilience – bouncing back. Learning to adapt to going “out”, moving forward, reaching out.
- Willingness – willing to step out, to give someone else a hand, a word of encouragement, and to make a difference that shines forth hope to someone who has lost his way.
- Joy – proclaim the good. Stomp out the hate. Shine in the darkness.
- Encourage – help someone else who is stuck to reenter the world safely. Make a difference.
It’s your life – the greatest gift – Eternal Life – bought through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – to see you through this life and on to Glory with Him. We need to be building relationships in a post pandemic world.
The greatest relationship upon which to build is on the Rock of Faith – Faith in Jesus Christ. Watch the video Great News For You on this page. I pray that it will point you to the assurance of that faith. Thanks for watching.