Reconnecting with Lost Friends During the Covid-19 Pandemic
This new normal turned out to be more fun than I had imagined.
United Kingdom, Northern Europe
Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (UK), I remain fascinated by the ever-changing world I live in. I think back to one evening in February. I sat around my friend’s dinner table discussing our upcoming trips: Ibiza, the Cayman Islands, and Canada. My friend had recently returned from China and informed us about the outbreak — I was shocked by the death toll in Wuhan. I never imagined that Covid-19 would come to the UK, and I never pictured not being able to hug my family and friends.
One month later, this became a harsh reality. Boris Johnson implemented a lockdown of the UK. He commanded us to stay at home and comply with social distancing guidelines. I was surprised: my once-normal life turned into a strange unknown. I, like many others, found myself experiencing a lot of stress during the initial stages of lockdown. On top of this, I worried about my friends and family. Before the virus entered the UK, I lived a busy life and I was constantly bombarded with limitless information from my social world and career.
The virus transformed my outlook and redefined what I deem ‘essential’. The new rules forbade us from meeting friends and relatives, so I found a new form of communication: the weekly Zoom calls! Here, I reconnected with friends from across the globe with whom I had lost touch. These calls included weekly quiz games, birthday celebrations, and karaoke nights (despite my terrible singing). One afternoon, I had a beach-themed Zoom party: I ate food from the barbecue and conversed with my friends online. This new normal turned out to be more fun than I had imagined. Gone were the days of Zoom calls primarily being used for conferences; a new ordinary had emerged.
In June, six-person gatherings within a 2-metre distance became permitted. My Zoom-formed friend group embraced this challenge and ran with a ‘Come Dine with Me’-inspired event. Each friend hosted a dinner party once a week in their garden with a different world-cuisine. My Mediterranean-themed dinner party included a range of dishes from tapas to baklava. We creatively sourced weekly entertainment to accompany the dining, including bingo and piñatas. Initially, I was apprehensive about reuniting with my friends again. I was excited to see them, but I feared I would be socially awkward. Thankfully, my friends felt the same — we had nothing to worry about. Social distancing was less challenging than I had previously thought. I sat 2-metres-apart from everyone and probably overdid it with the hand-sanitiser!
The pandemic has allowed me to maintain, grow, and create friendships, and broadened my taste buds. I have been taken out of my comfort zone and have adapted to this novel way of life. In years to come,
I will look back on the extraordinary year of 2020. I will not only remember it for the devastation of the pandemic, but also for how it allowed me to reconnect with lost friends. I may not be able to hug my family and friends, but I have not lost hope. I pray this continued sense of solidarity and connectedness flourishes well beyond these unprecedented times.
 Boris Johnson is the British Prime Minister. Prime Minister's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 March 2020 from: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-the-nation-on-coronavirus-23-march-2020
 Coronavirus: Gatherings of six people allowed from 1 June from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-52841999/coronavirus-gatherings-of-six-people-allowed-from-1-june
 ‘Come Dine with Me’ is a British TV show, where four strangers take turns hosting a dinner party for their fellow contestants, who give points based on food and overall experience.
How does this story make you feel?
Do you have any questions after reading this story? Do you want to follow-up on what you've just read? Get in touch with our team to learn more! Send an email to [email protected].
Talk about this Story
Please enable cookies to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter
Stay up to date with new stories on Correspondents of the World by subscribing to our monthly newsletter:
Observations of an Ancient
A story by Alice McLure
To Miss Missing
A story by Joost Backer
Lessons on Mental Health from Cats
A story by Poulomi Mazumdar
Explore other Topics
At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.
Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.
Correspondents of the World is not just this website, but also a great community of people from all over the world. While face-to-face meetings are difficult at the moment, our Facebook Community Group is THE place to be to meet other people invested in Correspondents of the World. We are currently running a series of online-tea talks to get to know each other better.