Written by Anna Hennessey
Yesterday I was sitting in a room full of people and I have never felt more alone. I sat on a chair staring at my phone, longing to be somewhere else. At that moment all I wanted to do was go back to my school building, sit on my favorite couch with my best friend Ella, and watch Netflix. If someone asked me where I felt the safest in my life that would be my answer. The comfort, safety, and love I feel from just sitting on that one couch with that one person doing that one activity is a feeling that I have not felt in a long time due to COVID-19. During this pandemic, I have really learned about myself and what I care about.
Before quarantine, I was thriving. I had many very close school friends and I felt safe and at home every time I walked through the doors at school. My school was and is forever the place where I am most comfortable. Obviously, because of COVID-19, I lost that place and along with it the connections I had with people in that place. I go to a private school around thirty minutes away from my town and my school friends all live thirty to forty minutes away from me. I had a few close town friends and as the social distancing began to lighten up a bit my parents began to let me see them because they were close in distance and they knew their parents. I began to hang out with them every day and as the social distancing began to lighten up more our group would expand more. As new people were added to the group, I felt more and more like an outsider. I was the one private school girl who did not have much in common and I was not close with all the people there. So yesterday as I was sitting in a girl’s basement, who I barely knew, while my closest friend in the group was not there, I felt incredibly lonely. I did not feel the comfort and the love I crave to enjoy when hanging out with my friends. Instead, I felt alone and out of place.
If this pandemic has taught me one thing, it is that I do not want many friends as much as I want genuine connections.
I realized that through this new friend group I was creating I was trying to create the environment I had at school. I was hoping these people could help me create the feeling of being on the couch with Ella. A piece of me feels lost and alone without my school community. Through the pandemic and the loss of my school from my life, I had to deal with loneliness and missing an important part of my life. Going from seeing my friends every day to not seeing them for four months (and counting) is a huge shift. This shift helped me learn both who I want to surround myself with and what I value. It helped me realize that I would rather make strong connections with one person than hang out with a group of five acquaintances. I also value strong connections and caring for others.
What COVID-19 has taught me is that I enjoy the true bonds of friendship more than just the presence of others. I have learned that it is better to have real relationships than just random acquaintances and that I have to continue to push on and reach out to the people from school who used to be such huge parts of my life. I will continue cultivating the relationships with my town friends but I have to remind myself to reach out to my school friends as those relationships are too important for me to lose simply because the pandemic has made seeing them more difficult.
Are you or do you know a teen or college-aged girl who is looking for real and authentic connections? Connect with Pam to see how life coaching can help you develop the tools you need to discover them!