Letters in Lockdown: Friendship is not a Competition

During these challenging times I would like to share my thoughts with you in my “letters in lockdown” series. This week: why we should be kind to others and remind ourselves that friendship is not a competition.

Last week marked Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s theme being kindness.⁣

To conclude last week I need to get something off my chest, something that has been bothering me since the beginning of the #lockdown.⁣

From the start there were people posting this message (or something similar) on social media: “After the lockdown remember who checked you, texted you, supported you.” There are more variations but this one has been circulating on Facebook ever since the lockdown started.⁣

I would like to stress that you don’t have to keep in touch with me just so I know your a good friend. Friendship is based on so much more. If you aren’t able to support your friends emotionally, if you feel too stressed out or depressed, it’s okay. Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself if you haven’t called that one friend for ages. Take care of yourself.⁣ Mirjam, a good friend of mine, put it this way: “Friendship is not a competition.”

Friendship is not a competition.

Text continues underneath photo.


As flight attendants remind us before takeoff: Put on your own mask first. In other words: take care of yourself first. Only if you feel stable enough, you can support others. I’m not asking anyone to take on the weight of the world. Be kind to yourself. ⁣

And I would like to ask people who keep posting those texts on Facebook to keep this in mind. If your friend hasn’t contacted you since the lockdown, maybe they’re struggling. They’re not a bad friend. They still care for you. They just can’t cope with the stress, which is totally fine. ⁣

These are difficult, challenging times. So I’ll say it once more: be kind 💛



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