Are meaningful connections possible while physical distancing?
Heart & Soul tips for the age of lockdowns.
Our new normal of lockdowns and shelter in place has many of us saying, “There goes my social life.’’ Many of my single friends are also saying, “There goes my love life.” It’s understandable that government measures to slow the spread of this year’s coronavirus may feel like a total roadblock to “finding the one.” But are meaningful connections really on hold with the current state of the world?
To answer this question, I spoke to people in thriving relationships even though they have spent more time apart than together. They have excelled in physical distancing before it was even a thing. These are people in LDR or long-distance relationships. These are the things that I gathered from my conversations with them, and what they had to say.
Who are my prospects?
Just because we are at home and mostly on our electronic devices does not rule out making new human connections. But you may be asking the question, “Who do I connect with?’’ Remember that time when we went out of our house and attended gatherings without the fear of contracting a virus? I’ll give you a minute. Back in those days, we met people. We were introduced to people. I’m sure you met someone that piqued your interest.
- Someone you met at a Church activity
- Someone you met through your friends
- Someone you met through your family
Well, what are you waiting for? Go find them on social media. Don’t be above a direct message, but just remember to be respectful! First impressions last, even on social media. While we are on lockdown, go and make friends!
Myra sent Facebook friend invites to people she met at a Church event. One of these new Facebook friends messaged her directly. Fast-forward to their 10-year wedding anniversary this year. (See Myra’s full story and answered prayer.)
Getting to know you…from afar
So you have made social media contact with a potential significant other—now what? It’s not that much different from the time before this coronavirus. Get to know each other with some great conversations.
RJ from California met someone from Washington at a Church activity. They started with text conversations. Then the conversations moved to phone calls and then to web calls. Now, RJ and his text buddy are planning for a wedding. His story proves you can still get to know someone while being safe at home.
There’s an app for that
Now that you’ve gotten to know someone better. What is there to do in a long-distance relationship? Erica shared that she and her then long-distance boyfriend would have dinner and a movie though being miles and miles apart. He would order her favorite pizza and they would both watch a movie together while on a web call, making sure to press play at the same time. They have now been married for a hundred days and counting.
There are a lot of applications that can help us bridge the distance and make long-distance easier from free internet web calls. Here are the ones I use:
- Google Duo
- Kast formerly Rabbit
- Facebook Messenger
The silver lining
Getting to know someone from afar has many positives:
- Focus on chemistry and personality
- Less intimidating
- Prioritizing you and your goals
- Easier on your budget
Janelle from Washington explains, “You get to know if someone likes you for who you are. You get to know their personality. You get to learn if there is chemistry. It’s not just about physically seeing someone all the time.’’
She also says long-distance relationships are great for people who feel they may not have a lot of time. Instead of feeling pressured to spend your every waking moment with a significant other, “You get to stay on track with your busy schedule and still have a relationship.”
A long-distance relationship is also easier on your budget. Since your significant other is not available to hang out every week, you can save up for nice presents to send through the mail. You can also save up for when you can see each other…in person.
If you have found someone that you have good chemistry with, finds your meme choices funny and shares the same values and priorities, congratulations! If the texts aren’t as regular as you wish, don’t lose hope. Your new friend may be experiencing stress at work, trying to find work, or dealing with sickness in the family. We all have to be more patient since everyone in one way or another is dealing with this pandemic.
Don’t do it alone
These Christians in long-distance relationships agree that it is not for everyone, it does get difficult, but they recommend it. They also credit the success of their relationship to God. They all trust that He would guide them.
Erica said, “Through late-night fights with loneliness, we would pray and trusted that God gave us this blessing. We took care of our blessing (our relationship) with the faith we have.’’
RJ said, “Having a set devotional prayer helps in the relationship, even though we are far away from each other. We are united in praying for each other. Together, we ask God to help us.’’
For those asking, “Do long-distance relationships work?” or for those who are wary of starting a long-distance relationship, Myra replies, “They need to ask themselves what’s the difference? You get to know each other. You know what you are looking for. If you are being honest with each other and if God is with you, what do you have to be afraid of?”’
When this lockdown is over, hopefully, you will have made new friends and connections without leaving your house. True friendship is the foundation of a strong romantic relationship. So, go ahead, check in with your family, your friends, and your friends-to-be.