Back in January or February you may have thought that “liking” someone’s Facebook post qualified as catching up with a friend.

But if you’ve been self-isolating at home since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve probably upgraded to phone calls and video chats.

A recent story on written by Lisa Fields, says this dramatic change in interpersonal connection has been one positive effect of COVID-19, fueled partly by concern for others and partly by the free time which people may have when they’re sheltering in place.

“This pandemic has completely shifted where our social needs lie and what we’re craving,” says Marisa Franco, a psychologist and friendship researcher based in Washington, D.C. “People often talk themselves out of reaching out to others because they assume people are too busy to talk. But now, we assume that others have more time.”

Many people are enjoying phone check-ins and Zoom happy hours with their usual circle of friends, rather than relying on texts and social media.

Others are seeking old friends whom they haven’t spoken with in decades, re-establishing meaningful connections amid the health crisis, the story says.

“When we’re faced with stress and uncertainty, what we long for most is comfort and security and a sense of protection from the current threat,” says friendship expert Suzanne Degges-White, professor of counseling at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. “Reaching out to friends from the past is a way to reconnect with a feeling of safety and familiarity.”

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