Why Friendship Is More Important Than Ever During the Pandemic


Photo credit: Jonny Belvedere from Pixabay

Tiana Gonzales, OwlFeed News Reporter

Throughout the pandemic our friendships with people have been heavily impacted by these troubling times. Some friendships might have strengthened with certain people and others might have weakened.  

I want to explore and inform people about how the pandemic might have influenced our friendships and how keeping friendships is an integral part of surviving the pandemic. 

According to noisolation.com, scientists at the Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) investigated the degree of mental health problems among adolescents in a quantitative study of 4,227 adolescents between 13 and 19 years in 2014. In the study, they compared youths with and without close friends to confide in and found that a significantly greater proportion of those lacking a close friend reported having depressive symptoms than those with close friends. 

According to Noisolation.com, in another quantitative study of 4,526 adolescents between 13 and 19 years, researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health inspected factors that affected young people’s psychological health positively and negatively in 2012. Of the factors they chose to study, they saw that “social support from friends” and “spending spare time with friends” were the strongest protective factors against mental disorders among adolescents

Ruby Murillo, a senior at Agua Fria High School, believes that the pandemic has made her lose all of her friends completely. “I stopped talking to a lot of my friends,” Murillo said. “We talked at first when quarantine started, like we would talk a little bit, and then I don’t know.”

Because of the pandemic Murillo can’t do things that she used to do with her friends anymore.  “Ohh we used to go out all the time,” Murillo said.  “Go to the movies…I can’t do that anymore. I would like to go to sleepovers… can’t do that no more.”

A negative effect that Murillo says has come about because of the pandemic is she lost a lot of friends that she thought she was gonna graduate with. But on the other hand she lost some friends that she thought were good for her but then later on she realized that they were toxic. 

Murillo believes the pandemic has made her rethink her friendships with some people. “Well I don’t know, I just feel like some didn’t take the pandemic serious at first, ” Murillo said. “And they kept going out and stuff and it just really got me thinking. Like, do I really want to be friends with people like that?”

The pandemic has actually helped Murillo strengthen her friendship with two people. It has really made them super close because before the pandemic they weren’t as close and now they talk every day. “There are just great people to be around and to talk to when I’m feeling low and it’s just great,” Murillo said. “And I feel like if it weren’t for the pandemic we wouldn’t be as close as we are.” 

Murillo thinks the pandemic has made you more appreciative of your friends and her family as well. Murillo believes her best friend has largely impacted her. “Without her I would probably be a little sad- definlety sad because she lightens up my day every day,” Murillo said. She feels like it’s kinda more important now to have friends because you are home alone and you need people to talk to because if not you are going to feel really isolated. 

“Nobody wants to feel lonely,” Murillo said. 

 Gina Gonzales Rodriguez, a sophomore at Agua Fria High School, feels like the pandemic has isolated her more from her friends. “We still talk on the phone all the time but now it’s like when we hang out together in real life it’s so weird because we haven’t seen each other in person for a long time,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. “So now it’s just awkward.”

Gonzales Rodriguez used to go to the movies and sometimes her friend’s siblings’ birthday parties before the pandemic and now she can’t go unless it’s five people but most of the time she just has to stay home. “We have to wear masks everywhere now, when we hang out,” which Gonzales Rodriguez finds frustrating and annoying. 

Two negative effects that Gonzales Rodriguez realized were some of her friends are mostly school friends and if the pandemic never happened she would still have a lot of her friends still. “Because of the pandemic it’s made me realize who actually texts you back and who actually is friends with you,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. 

A positive effect that Gonzales Rodriguez thinks has come about because of the pandemic is that she cherishes the moments she does have together with her friends because she doesn’t know if we’re ever gonna go back on lockdown again and she really likes hanging out and having fun.

“How before the pandemic we would be like, can we can hang out” whenever we want but now it’s like when we do hang out we have to like be in that moment because we don’t know if we’re gonna ever hang out again,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. 

She thinks the pandemic has made her realize that most of her friends don’t care about her but they would if she was still in school. Does she think that the pandemic has weakened or strengthened her friendships? She feels like it can be a little bit of both. 

“Like I said yeah some friends like aren’t friends anymore,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. “But at the same time the friends that I’m still friends with, we have a stronger bond because we were friends throughout the whole pandemic.” 

She does think the pandemic has made her more appreciative of her friends because when she had a lot of friends and the rest would hang out, she would refuse because she had the mentality that she would see them whenever. “Now it’s like they do ask me to hang out. I would try to go only because I know we’re not gonna be hanging out like that all the time,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. 

Gonzales Rodriguez doesn’t have any friends who she would say have largely impacted her  because she doesn’t see or talk to her friends as much. She does think that making friends during the pandemic is very important. “You don’t want to be isolated all the time and feel alone,” Gonzales Rodriguez said. 

Reagan Ellison, a 8th grade student at Valor Preparatory Academy, believes that the pandemic has weakened her relationship with her best friend because they don’t hang out as much anymore. Ellison believes that her best friend has largely impacted her. “My best friend has been through a lot and it kinda taught me to be thankful for what I have,” she said. 

She thinks the pandemic does make people rethink their friendships because we have less time to be with our friends or like that one person and you realize that you think of all the times  when you were together or you think of toxic things somebody did and you realize it is toxic.

A negative effect that has come about because of the pandemic is she stopped being friends with one person because she lost connection with them. “I stopped talking to them or something,” Ellison said, “or they stopped talking to me.”

Some positive effects that have come about because of the pandemic is that she made new friends and she feels like because you can’t see toxic friends in person it’s not as toxic, which she feels is both negative and positive. “If you’re in person and you’re friends with somebody that you kinda see their true colors,” Ellison said, “but if you’re not with them they don’t really show their true colors so they are not as toxic. ” 

Ellison feels the pandemic has affected her relationship with her friends by making it uncomfortable.“ It’s kinda weird because  in the first three months I didn’t talk to them, like my best friend. I wasn’t able to go to her house, so it’s kinda awkward,” Ellison said, “but I feel like the longer the pandemic happened, I think I would say it kinda got better. t kinda died down.” 

She can’t do the things that she used to do with her friends before the pandemic like going to the store without masks, going to the mall as much anymore, or going to stores. “I mean you can, it’s just not as much,” Ellison said. “Oh yeah like sleepovers…that is one. I couldn’t do that as much now,” she added.

Ellison believes that having friends is more important now in the pandemic than it was before.  “Yes because you kinda need people now especially because it’s so crazy,” Ellison said. “It’s good to have friends you can trust and all that.” 

Your physical health is extremely important right now but your mental and emotional health are also very important too. Having friends who you can trust and talk to is a central aspect of getting through the pandemic without going insane. 

The idea that being alone in this scary and unpredictable time is honestly depressing and terrifying. We as humans need some kind of human interaction, whether it be to talk to, to have fun and let off steam, or even to laugh with, when the world seems to be falling apart and it seems like every month another bizarre thing happens. 

And while we can’t exactly always be in person with our friends, it’s not the only way to stay in contact. Even if it’s a small text asking how they’re doing and reminding them that you are there for them is very important. Right now every little thing matters, especially if you don’t know if you’re ever going to see them again.