By Ingrid Kepinski December 27, 2022 12.27.2022 Share:
Attachment Connection Family Friendship Growth Isolation Relationships Self Esteem Stress

It has been almost four years since Covid forced us all into a strange normal of increasingly greater isolation. Since then, the world has shifted to a new more disconnected place, with companies pivoting to remote offices, more and more online deliveries of both food and goods and even workouts have shifted to an online format, leading to an overall lessening of socialization. It is easy to fall into the trap of simplicity and preserving energy, focusing on work or family, and minimizing distractions. This frugality of energy can result in fewer activities and less engagement leading to more depression and more fatigue resulting in a feedback loop.

Something people have moved away from is investing in friendship. This is quite sad because friends are such a safe and beautiful way to engage with the world in a way that expands horizons, opinions, and experiences.

Friends are an important staple in developing a  community. Friends help us grow and encourage us to try new things. Friends help us when we stumble and cheer us on as we get up and keep going. Many of us have difficult or dysfunctional family dynamics which really influence how we experience relationships and impact our self-esteem. Some individuals have no family and friends fill the family-of-origin void. Friendship can even improve our health by reducing stress and keeping us cognitively stimulated. Friends help us relate and problems solve. Friends also diffuse the role our partners have in our life, by allowing us to pursue our individual goals with those who share those goals and dissipating the pressure on our partner to fill every need. 

Interestingly many adults deprioritize friendship for themselves but promote it for their children. Research has shown that friendship is a protective factor and correlated with positive outcomes for youth. However, research is also starting to track the importance of friendship across the lifespan and late adulthood. Global studies have identified how isolation during Covid caused a rise in measurements of depression and anxiety across cultures. As humans, we need social connection, and friendship is a critical component of that. 

I encourage you to maximize your opportunities to engage with old friends, new friends, family, and colleagues. Netflix will still be there another day.

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