Has social distancing taken a toll on your social life? COVID has certainly put a strain on our friendships these days as we’ve been forced to limit physical interactions. In fact, a British survey of 2,000 people found that 14 percent of participants said they are afraid they’ve lost some friends because they haven’t been able to see them in person. 

“It’s clear that during lockdown many people have been affected by loneliness and isolation,” says Sue Willis, trustee of Santander Foundation. “It is heartbreaking to see the impact it has had on some people’s lives and friendships.”

There are ways, despite quarantine, to stay connected to your besties. Consider initiating actual phone conversations (no texting!), mailing out funny greeting cards, or hosting a small, socially distanced get-together. 

“I Just Called to Say . . .”

While we might not be able to enjoy some actual face-to-face time with our friends, we can still enjoy some great conversation time over the phone. And no, a string of text messages does not count as a phone conversation. 

Set up a time to jump on the phone with one of your friends. Turn off all outside distractions and just enjoy a great, reconnecting conversation. Need some fun topics that aren’t centered around hot topics like politics, religion, or mask-wearing? pull some ideas from dating websites like this list of 65 questions from eDatingDoc.com 

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

Did you know that people purchase more than seven billion greeting cards every year? While the ease of pressing send to emails, texts, and social media have turned traditional letters into a lost art, sending a handwritten note or postcard says you really care.

This weekend, instead of spending hours scrolling through social media and double-tapping on the Instagram posts of all your friends, head over to your favorite stationery store and buy some thoughtful, hilarious, whimsical, and even goofy greeting cards handpicked especially for your friends. Write up fun messages and toss them in the mailbox. You might even receive some cards in response. 

“The recipient will probably love the gesture, and getting creative is a good use of your time,” says Louryn Strampe at Wired. “It might even keep the kiddos distracted long enough for you to have a moment of alone time.”

Life Actually Can Be a Picnic

We know that time spent with others is vital for our well being. According to Harvard, “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”

Even though we’re socially distancing, you can still host a few friends for a fun courtyard picnic lunch or dinner. Whether a formal meal or not, getting together with your crew is a great reason to share stories over sweet malasadas from nearby Paderia Bakehouse or tacos from Taco Maria.

Instead of dwelling on missed celebrations and nights out on the town with friends, find ways to stay connected to them by jumping on a phone call, sending out cards, or hosting a courtyard picnic. Staying connected is how we’ll get through this.