2020's Biggest Take-away: Check-in On Your Friends and Loved Ones

In a recent New York Times Op-ed entitled, The Losses We Share, Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, shared with the world the personal and devastating news of her miscarriage. One poignant line from the article that should resonate with all who read the beautiful and timely Op-ed is: “Perhaps the path to healing begins with three simple words: Are you OK?” For some, that phrase is simply, the question: U Good? No matter how you say it, if 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need to check-in on our friends and love ones.

Our family and friends make us feel complete. They give us a sense of belonging and identity. They are always there, and have always been there, in every moment of our lives, whether good or bad. They make us feel loved, and allow us to understand love. Unfortunately, during this unprecedented time of pandemics and quarantines, our circumstances require us to be distant, limiting the time and manner we can spend with our friends and families. For instance, we are either trying to set up Zoom calls, or worrying about how to avoid infection, or only preoccupied with our immediate family, that we forget those outside of our household that not only love us, but need us. Our busyness sometimes becomes worse, and we lack time to even send a text, a simple check-in: U Good? Regardless of our preoccupation, we must always check-in on our friends and families because it helps us strengthen our relationships, improving our social lives.

One benefit of checking-in on friends and family is to make them feel cared for. They play a significant role in shaping our personalities; thus, we are indebted to reciprocate the care they give us. When we check-in on them, we make them feel valued, which, in turn, motivates them to continue committing themselves to our relationship. And, that’s the point; relationships are banks for which withdrawals can only occur if we continue to make deposits. In the end, our connection becomes more substantial, making it long-lasting.

Importantly, checking-in on friends and families helps us know what they are going through. For instance, we can be aware of the difficult moments they are experiencing, such as loneliness, depression or sickness. Learning such difficulties put us in an influential position of helping. For example, a friend can inform you about an ailing family member when you check-in on them. With the details about the illness, you can decide which support (monetarily or emotionally) can help. These kinds of familial and friendly check-ins ensure our families and friends’ mental and emotional well-being. An excellent example is when they share their troubles with us; it helps them relieve their stress burden as our concern and care fill them with optimistic attitudes. Happy moments also require the same support as the bad ones.

Communication is key to the success of any relationship. Checking-in on our friends and families helps us achieve productive communication with them even though we are far apart. We get to converse naturally, catching up on our lows and highs. For instance, we can send a simple text that asks: U Good? The communication we attain from such conversations creates a mutual understanding concerning our emotions and rationality, which, in turn, plays a part in strengthening our relationship.

Lastly, checking-in on friends and family benefits us also. The conversations we have while checking up on them boost our mental health. Take an example of when you feel low because you are tired or someone angered you; calling your best friends to check-in on them can cheer you up by, maybe, making you laugh. Again, the conversations can be our opportunity of sharing what is bothering us. They can advise us or support us where they can, enabling us to relieve our stress.

Indeed, the benefits of checking-in on on friends and family extend from building strong relationships to boosting our mental health. Sometimes people suffer in silence, and it only requires simple care to make them know that they are not alone; that they are loved; that somebody cares. We help them develop a positive and resilient attitude that will help them cope with stress instead of turning to harmful methods like drug abuse or self harm. For our sake, check-in on your friends and family, especially the “strong ones”; lets continue to make deposits in life’s relationship bank.

Naturalborn Optimist, with a love for things in the intersection of law and technology.