The lockdown has really put a spotlight on friendships and relationships. However social you are, too much of any one thing can test even the best of us.
Not being with family and people you’re closest to can be really tough at this time – but you can still stay connected to the people in your accommodation and those further afield. There are more and more examples of new and different ways people are finding to do this. But do remember to try and keep a balance. See the section below on finding a new normal.
Some people are finding themselves surprisingly busy just at the moment – we’re all learning new ways to run our lives. It can mean that people will have different responsibilities and routines than you’re used to and so might respond differently – for example the times they choose to do things, the way they say things, or who they include.
The simplest piece of advice here is whilst you look after yourself, look out for those around you. Know that everyone deals with things in different ways, and that things can affect us all (including you) in unexpected ways. Even when you’re in the same house, it can be important to stay connected to each other – friendships and behaviours will develop in unexpected ways at this time – make sure no-one is missing out.
Remember, you will almost certainly learn something new about each other during this time. Work on being generous and interested with house or flatmates, even if you don’t always feel like it. And think how some of this will become the stories we will tell when we are all finally allowed to be out and about again.
If you’re worried about someone, look at the links at the end of this piece to see you can talk to.
This can be tricky, especially if it’s a relatively new relationship. Make the time to talk regularly – be as open as you feel you can be. It’s very normal for one person to be finding being apart more difficult than the other – this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how they feel about you. Be aware that you might not actually have much to say – lockdown has certainly put a damper on some of the usual things we’re used to talking about. But just sharing time together, even it’s not in the same space, is really important.
Try not to be too hard on each other or expect too much during this time. In normal times, you might feel you’re missing out on something in the other person’s life. But in these times, you’re both in the same situation. Everything is different, and that affects you and your relationship. Some things might just have to wait until you’re together again.
There’s nothing ‘normal’ about right now. Sorting out what you need and want to do to stay sane is important.
It would be easy to let everything slide so maybe think about the points below and how you could make them work for you.
Most importantly stay in touch with people. Ironically, you might find yourself online more than ever before. So perhaps pick up the phone!
Now might not be the best time for those really 'big' conversations – those can need space and time apart. But equally, you might not be able to avoid it, and it could be a unique opportunity to talk about how you feel, to negotiate anew ways to live alongside each other.
In almost all cases though, it’s going to be important you talk – either with your family, with someone else you can trust, or with someone independent. Relate have trained advisors who can help you. Or you can look here to find out tips on having those conversations.
Many sources of support have now moved online. Demand is high and sometimes it is taking time to get through – you might need to be patient. Here are some of the places which might be useful:
Don’t keep your worries to yourself. Whether it’s friends, family, or maybe an agency or advice line, there’s always someone to talk with. Just get in touch.