One thing a lot of people have reflected on during the COVID pandemic is how important connections are, how important their "people" are. "Your people" being family and friends. Our connections. Our tribe.
This became even more apparent to me after my dear friend lost her husband. It was certainly a shock to us all, the phone call I received notifying me still haunts me to this day. Devastating actually. So my immediate reaction was to go to her, to comfort her. Isn't that what we all do?
I was asked to please come later in the day. Anxiously I waited until she was ready to see me and then rushed over. On the journey over I was thinking what do I say, what's the right thing to say, is it ok if I cry or would that be selfish. What can I do - how can I fix it for her.
The truth is I couldn't fix it, I couldn't bring him back. But I could be there for her. Comfort her, be her shoulder to cry on, and offer to help with whatever else she needed. This all happened in the same week our country went into national lock down. There was a rush to have a funeral and then a rush to move my friend and her kids in with relatives so that she wouldn't be in lockdown alone dealing with the loss of her husband. It was a crazy time.
During the weeks and months that followed (still in lockdown), I tried to connect often. If not daily then every other day. I wanted her to know how much I cared and that she wasn't alone. Even if I had nothing to say I would just pop her a message saying that she was on my mind.
I was really upset one day when she mentioned that a few friends had contacted her in the beginning but then had gone quiet. Why I wondered. These were her friends, good friends at that.
And then I thought perhaps they felt awkward, or weren't sure what to say or how to comfort her. It was exactly that. They didn't know what to say so instead said nothing. On the flip side my friend needed connection and friendship more than ever and this left her feeling confused and hurt.
So I guess my point is, if your people - your tribe are really important to you. Make the effort. Connect with them often. You don't have to call and have a lengthy chat everyday but thanks to tech its easy enough to pop a quick message
"Hi I'm thinking about you".
"Hey its been a while let me know when you free for coffee and a catch up"
"Something amazing happened today that I wanted to share with you"
"Look at this pic that popped up on my timeline - do you remember that day"
any of these messages will keep you connected and let the other person know you care about them and your friendship. And it doesn't always have to be you checking in with them. Sometimes its good news or something interesting that happened to you in your day. Share your news too. It will be refreshing that you not always making it about them.
"Our need to belong to a group or “tribe” is natural and instinctual. Everyone needs a tribe in their life to find real happiness, meaning, and purpose."As Steven Handel says in his post headed "Everyone needs a Tribe: The importance of belonging"
He goes on to explain that your tribe is YOUR tribe. You pick your tribe. Simply put he says
Get back in touch with old friends or family
Connect with people with common interests
Join online communities
Keep the good people around you
Let go of the bad people who have a negative influence
Connections are important, not only when something good or bad has happened but ALL THE TIME. None of us know when our time will come, connect with your tribe and you'll see life will be so much more meaningful.