Zoom calls, social distancing and the lack of the smallest gestures such as hugs or handshakes have made it more difficult to make friends in college or starting a new job.
But some people have found creative ways to make friends despite the limitations of COVID-19.
“The best way I make friends is through Zoom class, and then we decide to meet up on campus,” said University of Memphis student Abigail Durkee. “Usually, I’ll chat with them, and if they say something in class that I find interesting, I’ll hit them up, and we’ll exchange social medias.”
Ariel Dibia, a recent UofM graduate, said she also likes to make new friends through social media because she has found that you can tell a lot about a person based on how they present themselves online.
“If you see a profile of someone who thinks like you do, or maybe they do something that interests you, or even if they are just funny and make you laugh all the time, that is grounds enough to start a conversation, and it may lead to a friendship,” Dibia said.
Memphis musician Brandon Hughes has worked at numerous restaurants and always seems to connect with people who align with his creative side. If he finds out that one co-worker sings, dances or acts, he makes moves to become their friend based on mutual benefit.
“I try to identify how or if we can make money together,” said Hughes, who said he has built long-lasting relationships from this.
But making friends doesn’t come easy to some people. Jessie Stewart started a new job but didn’t make friends at first. That is until she met Annette.
“She was the only one that reached out to me, so we make time throughout the day to talk to each other,” Stewart said.
When people are shy, it is especially hard for them to initiate friendships, but Terrion Johnson advises others to be themselves.
“Don’t try to change yourself for people just because you want to be friends, Johnson said.