lifestyle

From pandemic postcards to picnics: Guardian readers' tips on keeping friends close


Share your lockdown listening

Some of my friends and I began a lockdown playlist on Spotify, where we would all add one song per day that was either related to how we were feeling or just something we happened to be in the mood for at the time. Music is very emotive: it can create the feeling of your friend’s presence in a way that even a video call or their voice can’t quite manage. We carried on even after the lockdown and did more playlists, where we would take it in turn to think of a theme. Despite physical distance, we were building something together, and it was really nice to be part of it. Ed, Norfolk

Nigel Slater cake
Doorstep cake … from a Guardian regular’s recipe. Photograph: Alamy

Make a tasty doorstep delivery

I regularly bake spectacular desserts and take friends a piece; we will have a nice masked talk on their front porches. I have delivered more than 40 desserts to 40 friends. I do the same with seasonal flowers and fruit baskets. I host afternoon tea or lunch on my patio on dry days using my patio heater. We have a neighbourhood women’s salon on Zoom once a month. We FaceTime with friends abroad on a monthly schedule. Also, I take long masked walks, hikes and picnics, with friends, no matter the weather. All this takes constant work. Many people are just hunkering down and feeling isolated or depressed. But doing something for others helps me, too. Linda McKim-Bell, Portland, Oregon

Send a pandemic postcard

Zoom does my head in, so since lockdown, I’ve been sending my pals pandemic postcards. Sometimes I’ll paint one, sometimes it’s a printed one – it depends on the friend and my mood. A handwritten note seems to resonate with folk, and invariably they contact me for a catchup by phone or FaceTime. I also walk much more with pals (socially distanced), and it doesn’t matter if it rains because I much prefer being with the real thing to a screen. Being outdoors with company is a tonic that I used to take for granted, but not any more.
Annie Grace, Glasgow

Travelling without moving ... plan an imagined trip.
Travelling without moving … plan an imagined trip. Photograph: Ekaterina79/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plan an armchair trip

I like to play “virtual” travel. My friend and I pick a country or city and allocate an amount of time, and a budget, for the virtual trip. We each separately spend a week or so researching hotels, transportation, sights and activities to plan the imagined trip. Lee Jessen, Pensacola, Florida

Swap the pub for picnics

I think the fact that we are living through such challenging times has brought me and my friends closer to each other. With those who live nearby, nights at the pub and dinners at home were replaced by picnics at the park and bike rides (while the weather was good). We are forced to be creative, so we might replace a meal with an online game that we can all play together while not being physically close. Sometimes you have friends of friends playing with you and you meet new people. It’s like a random pub quiz night, only this time you are meeting someone just by listening to their voice. Barbara, London



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