This post is an excerpt from my latest story for HelloGiggles, “Is This Normal? I Talk Less to My Friends and I’m Happy”
Dear Is This Normal?,
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed our lives. But now, with vaccines available and everything starting to open back up, I’ve spent a long time wondering what my “new life” should look like, especially when it comes to friendships.
Is it normal that when I look around at my life today, I notice that I talk less to my friends and I’m actually really happy? Part of me feels guilty that I don’t want to pick up life right where I left it, running from one activity to the next and feeling exhausted trying to keep up with all of my friends.
Party of One
Hi, Party of One,
Six months before the pandemic hit, I married my best friend. One month before the lockdown started, my new husband and I bought a house together. Why am I telling you this? Because we had exactly zero months to figure out our new routines and friendships in this new life that we were building together.
So much changed so quickly in the world and in my life that it was hard to know who or what was to “blame” for talking less to friends.
We both spent our twenties collecting friends like rare trading cards, running from work happy hours to band practices to yoga classes, and everywhere in between. When we got married in our early thirties, I knew that life was changing and we would adjust our friendships and schedules, but I wasn’t quite expecting the world to shut down while we were just starting to figure it out.
On top of that, I have chronic health concerns that have put me in the “high risk” category. Our life in our new home as newlyweds quickly grew very quiet, as we had to make hard decisions about staying away from friends and family for the year to keep me safe.
Not only did we get married at the perfect time because of pulling off our dream wedding at a winery in “normal times,” but we also have the visual representation of who is included in our seating chart of closest family and friends. We dwindled the wedding guest list down to roughly 100 people, which honestly was painful. What about that old coworker from three jobs ago? How about that friend from college who I haven’t talked to in years and my fiancé had never met? Deciding on who to include in our wedding celebrations was the hardest part of the wedding planning process for me.
But something happened that I wasn’t expecting: When the pandemic hit, I found that I stayed in contact with the women who had just stood by my side and the friends who danced the night away with us under the stars. Those are the friends who we scheduled Zoom dates with and chatted with on daily group texts.
Party of One, I don’t think we’re made to live life alone—but that doesn’t mean life has to feel like a blow-out party where there’s nowhere for you to stand and you can’t even hear yourself think…
To continue reading the rest of this advice column for the HelloGiggles “Is This Normal?” series, just click here!