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How COVID-19 impacted adult friendships and what you can do to rekindle them

The pandemic made us reorient our economy of attention when it comes to who and what we care about. While the pandemic might have put an end to certain friendships, others petered out slowly. When limited to texting and phone calls and the odd celebration on Zoom, we saw some relationships were held by enduring fondness and some faded away without an in-person anchor. In fact, the way people perceive meaningful friendships has also seen a shift post pandemic. Per Bumble’s research, 43% of Indian adults surveyed felt that their close friendships were negatively impacted by COVID. In comparison, only 18% of people felt a positive impact. Be it falling out or simply losing touch with friends, the loss of adult friendships is felt deeply.

When asked about top markers for a meaningful friendship, Indian adults claim that trust (62%), regular communication and shared values (48%), and equal effort (42%) are of utmost importance.

“At Bumble we believe firmly that social connections play a vital role in the human experience, and that strong relationships are key to a happy and healthy life. Per our recent study, 34% of Indian adults want to expand their circle of friends in a new way post pandemic. More people in India are now opening up to finding friends virtually, and Bumble BFF is a great way to meet like-minded people, who are all there with a shared purpose of wanting to connect!” shared Samarpita Samaddar, India Communications Director, Bumble.

Bumble’s Relationship Expert, Shahzeen Shivdasani, shares tips on how one can rekindle old friendships:

  1. Reach out: When you’re ready to reach out, what you say isn’t as important as making the effort in the first place. Checking in with someone by asking for or providing a life update after a period apart conveys the value and importance of the friendship. Offer an explanation if you want to.
  2. Consider comfort levels and respect boundaries: Make the effort to reach out and show them that you respect their space. Do not expect them to jump back into reconnecting and respect the pace they set to reconnect with you, if they want to.
  3. Make plans: Plan to get together in person or a virtual catch-up once you’re both comfortable. While you can hang out in groups and still enjoy each other’s company, real bonding happens when you open up to one another when it’s just the two of you. This is also how some friendships grow.
  4. It takes effort: All relationships require effort and that includes friendships. If you manage to rekindle your friendship, be mindful of the reasons because of which they fell apart in the first place. Honest, open communication is key.
  5. Be accepting: If your best efforts to rekindle a friendship go unsuccessful, accept the loss. Resist the urge to put any pressure on your friend to revive the relationship. All you can do is express your sincere desire to reconnect and hope the gesture is reciprocated. If not, perhaps it’s time to move on.
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