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Celebrating National Friendship Day 2020

Amber Brandt  |  June 01, 2020
One of the hardest adjustments Americans have had to make during the pandemic is socially distancing from the friends and family members they love most. It’s certainly taken a toll on children and parents alike!
 
But, as various parts of the country begin to reopen and adjust social distancing guidelines, many parents feel the situation becoming even more sticky – simply because we aren’t all on the same page… and that’s OK.
 
For National Friendship Day, we thought it might be helpful to talk candidly about how we can celebrate friendship well during this new – and often changing – reality. Here are a few tips to consider:
 
  • If you live in a community that has begun loosening restrictions but you’re not quite comfortable removing them just yet: It’s OK to continue limiting your children’s friend interaction to video calls, emails, and cooperative video games. We know it may be difficult to explain to your children why they can’t engage when they see others playing together outside, but reaffirm your reasons for practicing (vulnerable or immunocompromised loved ones, etc.), and offer alternatives you are OK with.
  • If restrictions in your area are loosening and you’re comfortable with activities resuming, but you interact with friends who aren’t: Don’t push. People want to feel heard and have their boundaries respected, even if you don’t necessarily understand or agree with them. Eventually, life will return to something that looks more “normal,” but in the meantime, everyone has their reasons for practicing what they believe is best.
If you live in an area that has not reopened and you really miss your friends and loved ones: We totally get it. Until restrictions ease up, continue utilizing the activities that help you feel close to your friends. Schedule video calls, watch a virtual movie together, host a virtual game night, send a hand-written letter, download the Marco Polo app to send video messages instead of texts, or drop a gift on their porch. More than ever before, Americans are dealing with the negative effects of isolation, loneliness, and depression. If you think you may need a professional to talk with, please contact your physician or insurance company (if they have a consultation line) to ask health-related questions or to seek mental health support. Or contact SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUS 66746.