Becoming a CAN DO Woman – Program #4: Questions and Answers about Friendships
Friendships are vital to our wellbeing. They can take us up or bring us down. They can inspire us to be more than we imagined or they can hold us bound to a narrow view of the world. Yes, friendships are about so much. And they are an important part of becoming a CAN DO woman.
This week in our Becoming a CAN DO Woman Program, we have some questions and answers about friendships. We invite you to read what other women told us about this year of the pandemic and their friendships. Then we’ll give you the next One Action you can take this week to help you as you move toward becoming a CAN DO Woman.
Welcome back to our blog. Becoming a CAN DO Woman – Program #4
We write about ways to become a CAN DO Woman. Ways to take charge of your life. Each blog brings to light a different aspect of how we can change and manage our lives so that we move toward the life we want.
Lately, we have been writing about one of the first aspects of a CAN DO Woman — understanding/ managing/utilizing friendships. Friendships and social capital lessons from the pandemic are the focus of this blog. Friends, in our discussion, includes both family and close acquaintances — people we feel affection for. Although family is often excluded in formal definitions of friends, we have included them here as our lives intersect with theirs and their opinions, in similar ways to how we intersect with our friends.
If you missed the three previous blogs on friendships — what we call Social Capital — here are the links:
In some of our blogs, we hope to help you concentrate on ways you can become the CAN DO Woman you want to be. In other blogs we also focus on strong CAN DO Women, telling their stories. These stories can inspire us in our own lives. We also have blogs that highlight one of our CAN DO Women inspiration sources such a Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Sally Ride. And in still other blogs, we bring to light amazing women we SHOULD know about but don’t such as Bessie Stringfield, Nannie Helen Burroughs, and No Teno Quah Grace Thorpe.
Taken as a whole, all of these blogs have something in common. They help us see action steps we can take toward becoming strong, empowered women. They also help us understand that every courageous CAN DO Woman has had to overcome difficulties and problems in their own lives. No one becomes CAN DO without work.
BUT WHAT ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS AND ROSIECENTRAL READERS?
We asked those willing to respond to help us understand their thoughts. In spite of constant talk of returning to “normal”, we know the pandemic has changed us in so many ways. We’ll never really be the same. We may get back to normal, but not the one we knew before. So rather than pushing the changes under a floor board, we decided to place the changes in our friendships in a large beautiful bowl and display them on a stand for all to see. Or, at least, for us to see. Let’s acknowledge the changes and try to grow from the insights the changes have brought.
Here’s What We Asked
We asked followers to —THINK ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Just below each of the three questions we asked, we have listed some of the many responses. We hope they get you thinking about your friendships — your Social Capital and how you want to use it in your unfolding CAN DO life.
In what ways did the pandemic change your interactions with family and friends?
“I have lots of friends both in my at-work and after-work lives. The pandemic changed all of that. I barely saw any of them since mid-March 2020. This really saddens me.
“So much time has gone by. I definitely lost some of my friendships. Especially those that were fragile or were new.
“I like to joke that I have a “hug deficit.” But it really isn’t a joke. There is no way to make up for all the time that has passed.
“I live on the opposite coast from my parents so I am used to not seeing them. The pandemic, at first, didn’t seem all that different. But as the months crept by, as Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went without my siblings or my parents, I realized how much COVID-19 was taking from me.
“I never really thought about friends until Covid struck. They were just always there. We talked about frivolous things (although I never thought of it that way). With fewer people to talk to and less time to talk, our conversations have become more thoughtful.
- What are positive outcomes in the way you now think about friends and family?
“Gratitude. I’m an introvert so I didn’t really miss not being around people. But over time, I keep returning to the word ‘Grateful.” I am grateful for the kindnesses of my friends and really cherish them. I may not have many, but they sustain me.
“I tend to sort of collect people. But covid has taught me to stop using up my life on people unless I can consider them “real” friends who value me and whom I value.
“I’m no longer as snarky as I was. I had a friend who died and I regret all the ways I didn’t support her over the past few years.
“I never imagined that zoom could bring me closer to friends. Friendships, real friendships, seem to carry right through my computer screen during zoom calls.
“I like that I found out that friends are part of my mental health. This discovery helped me realize the importance of both physical and mental health. When I can finally be around friends again, I want to combine both ph and mh by suggesting walks, maybe yoga classes together, or something else my friends suggest. Friendship needs to be about more than a glass of white wine after work.
What are the negative outcomes in terms of your friendships?
“Simply being apart was hard. Facetime helped, but it really wasn’t the same.
“Couldn’t give (or receive hugs) when I had problems. Physical contact matters.
“No negative outcomes. Friends that drifted away probably needed to drift away.
“My parents live in a rural community and still think Covid is a hoax. My father, in particular, just thinks it is a plot. He and I have not spoken in more than a year. I hope this isn’t a permanent change — but it may be. Fortunately, I still have a good relationship with my mother — she’s my rock.
JUST ONE ACTION. TAKE JUST ONE!
With each of our Becoming a CAN DO Woman Program blogs, we end by suggesting you take just one action in the coming week.
Becoming a CAN DO Woman – Program #4. HERE’S THIS WEEK’S ACTION
TAKE THE 1 ACTION CHALLENGE FOR BECOMING THE CAN DO WOMAN YOU WANT TO BE
- It’s time for you to think about or, even better, write down the one most positive way and then the one most negative way that the pandemic has changed your understanding of friendships — of your social capital.
- Reach deep. When you think of friendships remember your friends are part of who you are. They make up part of your world and are a percentage of your assets. In addition they represent part of what you represent. The pandemic has highlighted the value and/or the lack of value in some of your friendships. Ponder all of this as you write down the one positive and the one negative insight you have gained about friends during the pandemic.
CAN DO WOMAN ACTION…IT’S EASY
That’s it. That is all you need to do this week. Just take one step forward. This week that step is to evaluate one positive and the negative aspect you have learned about friendships during the pandemic. Hopefully the comments of other women will have provided insights for you.
BECOMING A CAN DO WOMAN…
As we say each week, taking simple actions will not change you overnight. But you are now started along the path toward the life you want — to being the person you want. You will have taken another action. You can begin to see how different kinds of friendships help you to expand your horizon and how different types of friendships will help you achieve your goals.