A woman eating a donut as she sits on a chair in front of decorative materials

I was supposed to be with my best friend when she had her first baby. I bought the ticket months ago—flying from Salzburg, Austria, where I live right now, to Nashville, Tennessee. Then, the outbreak of coronavirus hit northern Italy, just a few hours’ drive away from me. Before long, most of Europe was in various stages of lockdown.

For weeks, I held out hope that it would still be possible to be there with my friend when she gave birth. Eventually, though, I had to accept I would be celebrating this joyous occasion from an ocean away.

For so many of us, this moment is filled with loneliness, anxiety and fear. Flights are cancelled. Parties postponed. There are places we wish we could be and people we wish we could be with. 

As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We may not be able to be physically present with each other, but this isolation is teaching us that there are more ways to show love for one another than high-fives and coffee shop dates. This time is teaching each of us that it is possible to go above and beyond for human connection. 

It is possible to go above and beyond for human connection. 

Here are a few ways to be there for your people, even when you can’t physically be there.

FaceTime/Zoom with them to get that face-to-face feel.

This is as close as we can hope to get right now. I live in a different country from my family and a lot of my closest friends. You could say I’m used to friendship via FaceTime. But guess what? It works!

Regular FaceTime dates really do help to maintain close relationships across the distance. Right now, that might mean being able to see your friend three blocks away. Don’t be shy about maintaining your social schedule from your own living room. It will be worth it for both you and your loved ones.

Don’t be shy about maintaining your social schedule from your own living room.

Order a food delivery of their favorite meal.

Whether you’re missing a loved one’s birthday or they’re just having a really tough day, surprise them by ordering their favorite dish for delivery. Food may not be acknowledged on the official list of love languages, but acts of service are! Having someone else cook for you takes a load off your shoulders. That makes it a great way to show love. 

Do something “together.”

Think about the number of things you do with your friends and family that are just about sharing an experience. There’s no reason that has to stop. Go for walks, each of you in your own neighborhood, while talking on the phone.

Pick something to bake. Bake it at the same time in your different locations: Send photos of the (hopefully!) delicious results. Take the same online yoga class. These are ways that you can create shared memories even while you’re apart. 

These are ways that you can create shared memories even while you’re apart. 

Send them a meaningful gift.

Aside from food, you could send a gift that shows your friend just how well you know them. Maybe there is a book they want to read, or maybe you know of a board game they might like. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be the smallest thing that reminds them you’re thinking of them during this time. 

If this time of quarantine is teaching us anything, then it’s that people need people. Hopefully, you can pull your friends and family into a bear hug soon. Until then, do your best to stay connected and keep investing in each other’s lives. Make sure the people in your life know how much you value them. 

What are some fun ways you can celebrate your loved ones when there is physical distance between you? Why is it important to still celebrate your people?

Image via Prakash Shroff, Darling Issue No. 11

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