Over recent weeks, I’ve had far more conversations than usual. Phone calls, Viber videos, zoom gatherings – and more. Each begins with the question, ‘How are you?’ And while in regular times this might have been a throwaway line, now it’s heartfelt, full of concern for each other’s wellbeing.
On our Sunday FriendZoom, the five of us start with weekly updates. And even though we are close, it takes courage to admit when you’re feeling shaky. It’s hard to let others know you’re feeling anxious or uncertain, or that you’re not doing so well.
The updates on weekly lockdown activities are a diary recount; what matters more is what we made of those events. Two hours queuing at the supermarket – am I at risk here? The insurance bill that just arrived – how can we afford that? Juggling young kids while working full-time – am I a terrible mum?
I reckon the most important part of these conversations is reassurance. It’s the much needed response to uncertainty. We need to know that we are not alone in this, that our reactions are not weird. And that others accept us no matter how we feel. It’s only then that we are safe enough to ‘fess up to what’s really going on.
The most generous gift we can offer each other right now is non-judgmental listening. No advice, just reassurance that we are there for each other. Unconditionally.
Who does that for you? And, even more importantly, who are you reassuring?