Despite the fact that social media disconnects us from the real world, without it you become alienated from everyone who uses it. Using social media to keep in touch with friends as a teenager can often make you feel included in a large community, where you have many friends you can keep in touch with at the touch of a button. But what happens when you take a step back from social media? Do you find yourself even less connected to people, because they are suddenly out of reach? What happens when you can’t even see them in a global pandemic?
Social media can seem so impersonal
For me, the sense of community on social media has become an illusion. Instead of forming real bonds with people, friendships are often temporary, especially if the majority of the time spent together is not in real life. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to want to interact with others online; it’s possible to find friends who make you genuinely happy, especially if you’ve found friends who have similar interests, like on Twitter. Yet on sites like Instagram and Facebook, I’ve found it’s more common to focus less on who you’re interacting with, and more on the photos you post and the number of likes they get. Ask yourself this: is this really the basis on which you want your closest friendships to form?
Maintaining Friendships Without Social Media During a Pandemic
Most people, especially in today’s situations, have been forced to rely on social media to keep in touch with their friends, even if they didn’t before. Without having the luxury of being able to meet them in person, you risk drifting away from a lot of friends when you don’t see them every day. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Sometimes school and other time-consuming things in life can cause friendships to lose the spark they had in the beginning, which is essentially the ultimate test. So how do you stay in touch with friends without social media and school that both allow you to see them daily?
If busy weekdays and schoolwork got in the way of your friendship, that’s okay! It’s probably not one-sided. Message your friend and ask them to schedule a phone call, or even a Face Time call. Video calls are great because they’re so much more personal – you can see the face that’s connected to the voice you haven’t heard in so long. If your group of friends has become distant, why not offer a group call?
Play games with audio call
You don’t need a video game console or headphones to play games with friends while you talk to them! Various applications are available on iPhone and Android, such as:
house party, a way to go out and party with friends from home. This app includes lots of fun games, while giving you a place to chat and see each other.
Other games include: Words with Friends, Facebook games, Pubg, Fortnite, Uno & Friends, Snapchat games, iMessage games, Scrabble and Pandemic: The Board Game. Among Us, a popular game that has surfaced recently is where players take on one of two roles, with most being teammates and a predetermined number being imposters. If you want to talk to your friends while you play, you can create a Discord group on another device.
Email them or write a letter
Emails or even a good old-fashioned letter can be really helpful for keeping in touch with friends because not only are they fun to write, but you focus more on what the other person actually has to say. . They’re more detailed and personalized, and you’ll find yourself exploring topics you may not have had a chance to talk about in a while. Taking the time to write one can also be an escape from stress, so it can be therapeutic. If you want to be even more creative, you can send them a postcard!
A socially distant encounter
Spending one-on-one time with a friend can really strengthen your bond. If you have the opportunity in your area, ask them if they would like to go to the park or the cafe. Just be sure to follow the guidelines and always wear masks. Activities can include walking your dog(s) while you catch up, reading together, doing homework, playing sports together, or even going for a hike.
Accept that growing apart is okay
Growing means changing and that change can also include friendships. Friendships should be natural and spending time together should bring you happiness and peace. Sometimes extra effort needs to be made to make sure you make time for yourself, but other times it’s okay to spend some time apart. Forcing friendships is unhealthy, and it’s often best to accept that “Friends Forever” isn’t exactly realistic. Remember that finding new friends can also be exciting, even if it’s daunting at first.
Choose what suits you best
Having a social media presence isn’t always unhealthy, but being aware of when it becomes toxic is key to maintaining your happiness and well-being. Remember to control how you use your platforms, instead of letting them control you. I’ve found that a friend who doesn’t support your original plan isn’t genuine, and you’re always the priority. If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not to stick with social media, consider limiting the time you spend on it daily, or even trying to temporarily step away from it. Finding the best fit for you is not a simple process, but you will get there!