Relationships

Have You Heard From Anyone Surprising Lately?

Who Have You Heard From Lately

The other day, I got an email I could hardly believe…

Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. The text of the email was rather ordinary. It was the sender that blew me away. There, nestled in between promotions from every company I’ve come in contact with for the entirety of my existence, was a name I could just about place. We went on two dates. 14 years ago. 

Hi! It said, like this was a perfectly ordinary correspondence. I just wanted to wish you a (very belated) happy birthday and see how you’re doing. What are you up to these days? Can you please let me know you’re alright? 

I’m sure that Facebook alerted him to my birthday and helped him recall our ancient courtship. But it was the final line that got me. Can you please let me know you’re alright?

It was certainly not the first correspondence of its kind. In the last few weeks, I’ve received a few blasts from the past, including from people I never thought I’d hear from again.

My good friend hadn’t spoken to her father in years. Sure enough, as soon as the stay-at-home orders were announced, there was his name in her inbox. They’ve now exchanged quite a few emails and have even pledged to see one another once it’s safe to do so.

“No one has reached out to me!” lamented one friend, only to hear from her high school boyfriend the following day.

“My cute electrician slid into my DMs,” reported another friend. “He asked me out, except nobody can go out right now.”

Perhaps you’ve been the one to reach out. My friend made it a whole month before texting the-one-that-got-away, a feat in any circumstances. “It felt safe since we can’t actually see each other,” she said. “Or maybe it’s that nothing feels safe right now. So I figured, ‘Why not?'”

There are so many people I want to contact, but don’t know how. The barista at my local coffee shop. My favorite technician at the nail salon. The not-so-strangers I no longer glimpse now that our regular foot traffic has come to a halt.

Back in the day (how I now refer to any time before March), I was always fascinated by the Missed Connections section on Craigslist, where people posted about the strangers they almost-but-not-quite connected to on subway cars, in shops, on city streets. Maybe they made eye contact or brushed shoulders or were reading the same book.

It’s especially strange to think: right now there are no missed connections, only intentional ones. Or, in another sense, all connections have become missed connections. Because we miss them. When you look at it that way, is there a better reason to say hello?

Have you heard from anyone surprising lately? Or been inspired to reach out? 

P.S. The tiny moments that change your life and the love story I never thought to tell.

  1. Jules says...

    To everyone who is waiting to hear from a friend and hurting that they haven’t done so – perhaps your friend doesn’t want to burden you with their stuff, and they’re waiting for you to reach out so they can ‘unburden’ without feeling as though they are imposing in your lives. That’s how I’ve been feeling in the last few days. I’ve been in contact with numerous friends over the lockdown period, but my daughter got sick (not COVID thank goodness) a few days ago and life has been hard since then. I would really like to reach out to friends right now but don’t want to burden them with my stuff, unless they genuinely want to know. So I’ve been waiting and waiting to hear from someone, but everyone has gone quiet this week! I finally got in contact with a couple of friends this morning to ask for a Zoom call tomorrow because I just need the sanity of speaking to a friend, but it was hard to reach out because I know that the call is going to involve a lot of me talking about my stuff and I don’t want to burden them with that. I’m looking forward to it so much though!

  2. lacey Wicksall says...

    Wait – did you write him back????

  3. Ita says...

    Just last week a guy I have liked for the past two years reached out… We work in the same industry and bump into each other every few weeks. Despite a couple of heated moments at parties and best made plans we’ve both bailed on plans and then blown hot and cold on each other. We usually iMessage but I am on lockdown abroad so my texts aren’t working, but he reached out on another app for the first time which makes me think he put a little effort into it… I smiled from ear to ear for hours after texting, and am trying to build up the courage to suggest a zoom soon… time will tell!

  4. Scarlett says...

    My usually introverted husband has started suggesting that to friends at work that they “come over for dinner sometime” – something he usually actively avoids and wouldn’t dream of saying normally, lest the person get out their diary and start picking dates! Ha ha!

  5. Audrey says...

    My ex’s Mom!
    Not only did I hear from my ex, who has text me FOUR times during the quarantine asking if I’m okay and then asking for favors and sending me recipes he thinks I might think I like. What!
    Our breakup was terrible, he cheated on me with multiple people after we had bought a house together, so I have no desire to ever speak to him.
    And then his mom adds to the texts saying she’s worried about me during this time and always wished I was part of the family. So inappropriate. I didn’t respond to any of it.

  6. Ellie says...

    My college boyfriend (we broke up 17 years ago, each of us married with kids now) reached out with a note to say how much I’d always meant to him, and how I would always have a very unique place in his heart. It was touching since he’d always been emotionally withholding, but also slightly annoying for the exact same reason! 😂 I think his reaching out was motivated by the everything-is-risky-so-nothing-is-risky feel of the current moment – my reply acknowledging his note certainly was.

  7. CM says...

    I think this post is what made me Google my 20+ years ago ex who was really hard to find online- I’d found him on Twitter about 10 years ago. This time I found him on Facebook. We were good friends as well as dated but split and moved away from each other before the internet was a big thing. I don’t want him to think I’m stalking him, so I messaged our mutual friend so she can friend him first!

  8. Lindsay says...

    I love that this is a universal sentiment. One morning, a week or so into this madness, my husband emerged from the bedroom and declared, “I feel like I need to contact everyone I’ve ever known.”

  9. Emily says...

    I studied abroad in high school, 15 years ago. My host family and I keep in touch, but usually email 3-4 times a year, for birthdays and holidays, although I have gone to visit them a few times. My host mom emailed me in early March, and we’ve been exchanging emails every week or two since then.

    With my kiddo home from daycare, we have a lot more art. So every week or two, we collect a few pieces and mail them off to someone new. She also loves saying and singing happy birthday, so we now send videos whenever a friend has a birthday. These things I hope we continue to do when life changes later.

  10. Sil says...

    Last week I read someone on Twitter talking about this. Later that day, another woman on Instagram complained about being reached out by people who has disappeared from her life long ago. A few days later I got a mail and a Facebook message from two long-lost friends. And last night my sister told me that some acquaintance from the past had sent her a message at 2.00 am. So I guess people are really bored already!

  11. Anna says...

    Two things happened:

    1st- I finally put my foot down to this guy who was clearly just “breadcrumbing” me. Pre-covid, he’s that guy you date, exchange messages with and video call regularly then would just disappear. Then would return again with that “i miss you” text but then would flake the last minute once you agree to see each other. I realized he’s not worth giving my attention to, pandemic or not.

    On the other hand, I heard from a guy I used to date last year. We only had few dates but worth remembering. Our first date lasted for 10 hours! It just fizzled out and found out he got back with his ex. I took it lightly because honestly, I’m still head over heels with “breadcrumbing” guy at that time.

    Now, second guy reached out to me and found out he just broke up with his ex. I know reader, this could be a potential rebound lol but his consistent good mornings and exchanging of voice messages are the little things that help me get through quarantine. And we already planned on seeing each other hopefully once this quarantine is over. I have no heavy expectations with this one but I really appreciate his role in making my days a little more bright. :)

    • Cynthia M says...

      I don’t know if I believe in rebound as a real thing. Sometimes there’s that person who you would connect with if you weren’t with someone- sounds like you are both at the right place now to connect.

  12. T.M. says...

    Before COVID, my 6yo son and I had a standing date every Friday night to play Bingo at our local coffee shop. The woman who leads the game is also a middle school teacher and she lit up every time my son came into the shop (he was easily the youngest person there every week). She would high-five him when he won and strike up conversations throughout the night. I really miss our Bingo nights (hot chocolates and Chai lattes included), but I miss our dear “Bingo lady” too. I think she’s the “stranger” I would most like to reach out to during these Bingo-free days.

    • Linda says...

      Call the coffee shop and ask them to relay a message and your phone number. She may love to hear she is missed.

  13. Alex says...

    I’ve been DYING to hear from someone random, just to feel alive. But, as of yet, nothing. How boring!

    • Miri says...

      Why wait for somebody to reach out to you? Be the one who reaches out to somebody: how exciting!

  14. Liz says...

    This article and the comments really moved me. Both in hearing about how so many people have reconnected, but also in hearing of people’s loneliness or disappointment in not hearing from anyone.
    For those who read this and felt a lonely reminder that no one has reached out, just remember that this isn’t necessarily a reflection on you. We are in a global pandemic – some might use this as an opportunity to connect or go into hyper productivity mode, and others may withdraw and disengage. There are in fact unintentional missed connections right now because many people are suffering and experiencing great loss and stress. Finding the energy to reconnect between caring for children, grieving the loss of a loved one, wondering where the next pay check will come from, or just the general sense of dread at the state of the world might be hard for many right now.
    Now is not the time to compare and determine your worth based on whether someone sent you a text. Now is the time to offer grace to your friends who may still think of you, but just haven’t reached out for any of the reasons above. Now is the time to try to assume the best in others and be kind to yourself. You are lovely and worthy, whoever you are <3

    • Kristen says...

      What a sweet and helpful comment Liz! Nice to see when someone is so thoughtful right now.

    • Kelly says...

      These are such kind, important words. Thank you, Liz!

  15. J says...

    Yes! I live in NYC (aka the epicenter), so I think for people I know who don’t know any other NYers, I must have come to mind when the pandemic began to explode. The weirdest to reach out was this Australian man I spent a few wild and lustful days and nights with when I was backpacking through Europe six years ago in my 20s. Those days are up there as some of the most fun and carefree of my life, but I hadn’t spoken to or seen him since! He reached out to see if I was okay (and also clearly to flirt). I love the life I’ve grown into since then, but it was a very flattering and enjoyable conversation for much-more-settled-down, pregnant, married 32-year-old me. :-)

  16. It is a thing! An Australian podcast Mama Mia Out Loud talked through this very thing a few weeks ago – it’s the 27 April podcast.

  17. Kin says...

    Back in December, one of my best friends from college was dealing with a divorce and I didn’t really know how to show up for her. I had my own stuff going on and she lives in a different country and the time difference created a break down in communication, leading to a “friendship breakup” and her declaring that I’d never hear from her again and that we weren’t friends anymore. I asked if we could schedule time talk but she declined. I was so hurt but wanted to give space. I emailed her this week to she if she was okay in this pandemic and she responded and asked how I was too. I don’t know that we’re friends again, or that we’ll talk about December. It was just good to hear from her.

    • K says...

      It’s good that you checked up on her without knowing if she’d respond or not. Taking some initiative (without forcing) can heal many rifts because actions speak louder than words. You may not be able to offer up the perfect words, but demonstrating that you care at all is the heart of what we all need, right? To feel less alone, especially now.

  18. Naomi says...

    This is the craziest thing. I had a weird gut feeling that my boyfriend’s ex reached out to him- I showed him this article and asked him, and bam! He told me she had, a week ago! She’s been a bit of a thorn on our side so that was a huge bummer. Love this post otherwise :)

  19. Rb says...

    That last paragraph was profound. Those intentional connections have helped me make it through these dark times … but oh those missed moments of familiar faces ❤️

  20. KJ says...

    I have not heard from anyone random but now I’m thinking I should reach out.

    One of my best friends from HS and I had a falling out in college. Well, from my perspective she tried to hit on my boyfriend at a party when I wasn’t there. I heard his side and she wrote me a note but we never spoke again. The guy and I broke up and although she tried to reach out a few times during the years, I always thought what’s the point? She got around a bit so at the time when I learned she was hitting on my boyfriend, I truly believed she was in the wrong.

    Now nearly 40, I know things are not so black and white. And really, who cares about a bad judgment call she made at 19? Thinking I really should reach out….

    • Steph says...

      Do. And read Peggy Orenstein if you are looking for a good book. Was you; regained a friendship.

    • Kathleen says...

      I would also vote for reaching out. One the biggest regrets of my life was not reaching out to a college friend after her sister died. I was scared I would say something wrong, and maybe screw up. So instead, I said nothing and definitely screwed up.

  21. I am also lamenting the loss of the small chance encounters with people. So I decided to make them happen for others. I am calling it The Curated Stranger Project. People fill out a quick survey and I will match them up with a stranger to have a zoom call with in the next week or so.

    I assumed no one in their right mind would want to join (because when I’ve confessed my love for strangers in “the before” people looked at me in a concerned way), but I got 24 responses and will start matching people up to meet next week!

    • fiona says...

      THIS IS LOVELY! I’m so very happy this exists!

    • Lus says...

      Where and how to sign up?

  22. Christina says...

    I was in the hospital a few months ago with a serious illness (pneumonia + sepsis). While recovering at home, I received a text from my high school best friend’s dad, who had heard about how ill I was. Her parents were like parents to me at one time, but years and some life circumstances have created distance. It was very touching to hear from him and hopefully our families can connect again in person when this is all over.

  23. Kerry says...

    I had a couple old dating app guys resurface, from when I was dating in 2017. I dated a LOT and so to keep everyone straight, I’d name them in my phone with the app and a defining characteristic.

    Last week, I heard from both Ryan BumbleBeard and Mike TinderNotOverEx.

    • Grace says...

      Mike TinderNotOverEx is probably messaging all of his exes for comfort.

    • Heather says...

      😂

    • jules says...

      This is so funny. Some dates can be so weird!

  24. Anna says...

    Yes! A cute guy from high school messaged me yesterday saying he had always found me attractive. Except for one night we spent together, platonically, we never got to know each other well then (over a decade ago) and now we’re in different places, but it was nice to hear from him nonetheless.

  25. Mel says...

    One of my best friends from High School and I had a ‘falling out’ in our early 20’s, over 10 years ago. It wasn’t a fight or anything, we just drifted away and got over each other. At a wedding years ago we spoke and it was nice, but she made it clear she had no interest in a friendship. She haunted my dreams all the time as she had been a good friend for such a long time and I never really understood what happened. She’s a nurse in a moderate sized city and has diabetes and I know her boyfriend is a nurse too. One night I just got over my pride and messaged her and we went back and forth for hours. She told me how much she enjoys seeing pictures of my family, asked that I say hi to my husband for her (whom she’d met maybe twice) and I told her to say hi to her parents for me. We decided when this mess is over we’re going to get together for drinks. It’s easily one of the best things that has come from this mess for me.

  26. jess says...

    I love this!

  27. Katie says...

    I got a text from someone who has ghosted me not once, but twice. This time I didn’t respond, though I considered texting a screenshot of our last conversation where I said I was good with second chances but bad with thirds 😂

  28. Julie T says...

    Yes! I did the reaching out, but I have recently reconnected with my college roommate that I had a falling out with. To kind of ease back in to what once used to be near constant communication we started…. Snapchatting. I barely use Snapchat with anyone else, but I snapchat with her every day! Rather than send stuff through out the day, we each send long video messages in one big batch. Responding to what the other said, talking about random stuff, filling the other in on our day, and reminiscing about college. I’ve loved it so much!

    • Mollie says...

      This made lol!

  29. Dana says...

    Since the pandemic began, I have been meeting my college roommates on Zoom for cocktails on a semi-weekly basis, and I am so grateful that this time has brought us back together. The five of us are spread out all over the country, and ordinarily it takes us years to connect as a group, either by phone or in person. One of us will reach out and try to initiate contact, but then it becomes impossible to schedule. The pandemic has suddenly cleared time and space for us to prioritize being together as a group, and it’s been so nourishing and so much fun. These women, and the way we are together, are like no other relationship in my life; we graduated almost 30 years ago but when we’re together, our laughter, connection, and sisterhood is off the hook. It’s like we become young women again in each other’s presence, in all the best ways.

    • jane says...

      That sounds so wonderful!

    • Catherine M Davis says...

      I have been doing this as well with my high school friends- many of whom are actually gals I was friends with in grammar school as well. I’ll be 50 this year so these are OLD friendships. It has been wonderful…

  30. Yes! I received a friend request on Facebook from a person I originally met when I was 17 years old. I am 40 now. We met in an AOL chat room back when those were a thing. He was in the UK and I was in Boston. He was coming to Boston to visit his uncle who was a professor here and we met up in Harvard Square with his uncle and my best friend in tow and ate cheesecake. We wrote letters for a little while after that. We reconnected somehow on the internet for a brief time maybe 12 years ago and lost touch. And he popped up again this week. The side effects of this pandemic are so interesting. Thanks for bringing this up, Caroline!

  31. Anna says...

    I’m actually kind of annoyed because NONE of my old friends have tried making contact with me in lockdown. I’m not even talking exes, just friends! I have called people myself, written lots of letters just to say hi, and I was part of a Zoom call for an old friend’s birthday, so I suppose there was that. But no one has reached out to me who I haven’t contacted first. It’s really kind of a bummer to be honest. I would love to get a message from someone saying, “I was just thinking about you. ” But it never happens. Then again Caroline, your posts often seem to touch on your mysterious allure to all your exes! Not being snarky, but maybe some people are just thought often about by those in their life, and some people just aren’t? I’m learning that I’m one of those “out of sight, out of mind” people and honestly, it’s pretty sucky.

    • Janna says...

      I feel you so much. I’m a person who constantly wonders/worries about people who’ve crossed my path in a meaningful way. And if I reach out and do hear back I just feel like they don’t have any curiosity for me and my life, which frankly makes me feel pretty sad. It’s the worst with godparents and similar people for me, because I don’t have a lot of family.
      It might be our names ;)

    • Maryn says...

      I’m in the same boat, Anna! It stinks to always be the one reaching out.

    • Reba says...

      My experience has been similar! I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me to help them out (everything from tech support for an elderly relative to shopping for a new neighbor), and a few people have contacted me to thank me for a card or a gift that I had sent (niece’s Easter basket, cousin’s birthday card). But no spontaneous “so, how are *you*?” messages independently initiated by someone else. In a crisis, people seem to want me for what I can do for them, which is a little painful, but probably good to know about myself. I’ve tried to make an extra effort to reach out to people who might be in the same boat. Wish I knew your email, Anna–we could check in with each other!

    • allison says...

      To Anna, Janna, Maryn, and anyone else reading this:
      Hi! I know exactly how you feel. Empathy and concern for others is one of the things I like most about myself and one of the hardest when it is rarely reciprocated. While it can definitely make me sad at the end of the day I know a card, note, text, dm (etc etc) will make someone smile and so I send the card, write the text, leave the comment even if it isn’t returned.

      Long story long, I am thinking about you. If no one has reached out to you this week, this month, or since lockdown started: I hope you’re ok. I hope there are more good days than bad days. I hope you aren’t feeling too lonely today. And I hope there is something in your home – music, art, an episode of your favourite show – that will make you feel comforted.

    • Helen says...

      Allison, your comment made me smile and feel loved. I’ve been feeling like Anna and anyone else who had commented about feeling lonely and not particularly cared for. Your comment really lifted my spirits and it was so needed. Thank you for your kind soul.

    • b says...

      I feel this deep in my soul. I think I am a good friend, but like you and others have mentioned, I’m always the one reaching out. I have been texting some people once every two weeks or so to check in and see how they are, but I get one word answers in response and it’s hard to keep the conversation going. It’s to the point where I don’t bother anymore. I’m strictly on social media because I own a small business.

    • Claire says...

      I feel this so much. I’m always the person who thinks about reaching out and asking people how they are. But unfortunately, I always get a one-word response or end up being the only one asking questions about them. I’ve always known I was the “out of sight, out of mind” and it really does suck. It has gotten to the point that I just don’t care anymore about planning anything with anyone.

    • Rezia says...

      FWIW, I finally had it with one of my good friends and sent him an email saying, hey, I always do the reaching out and I need you to do something of the reaching out too, and after 3 long days (in which I was freaking out the whole time) he called me and apologized, and has really stepped it up. It’s really hard to make that move, but I think it can sometimes be worth it.

    • Kate says...

      I feel like I’m also always the “keeper upper.” I’ve stepped back a bit during this time. I’m only really messaging those who make an effort. I found out I’m pregnant during lockdown and I just know I won’t have time to chase friends around come November. I’ve moved a lot so many are spread out. It’s fine to not be great at long distance. We will just catch up on those if and when occasions. I’m letting go.
      PS: I have a great husband and a few great, local, supportive friends and family. It will be ok.

    • Anna says...

      Allison, you are the loveliest. What a kind comment. I am sure all your friends are so happy to know you. Weirdly, though, all of these comments have made me feel better, even the ones confirming that “out of sight, out of mind” is a true state of being for some of us! I guess all I have been wanting, maybe all any of us want, ever, is not to feel alone. My real friends haven’t provided that feeling in lockdown, but now my Cup of Jo friends have! I will be thinking of ALL of you this evening. Love this community so much.

    • Meghan says...

      I really appreciate this comment (and the subsequent replies). I have struggled for years with feeling like I am always the one reaching out, bringing the meal, initiating texts/play-dates/get-togethers…everything. It can get exhausting to feel like you are always the one “pouring out” and not getting “poured into.” Pandemic isolation/social distancing has only intensified this feeling :( To all of those who commented before (and anyone else who might see these comments), thank you for being vulnerable and sharing about this! It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in these feelings.

    • Anya says...

      Anna, and others: i feel your pain too. I’m often the reacher-outer, and it hurts when people don’t reach out to me too. I’ve come to accept that this may just be our roles in life/friendships, just as there are other people who aren’t naturally gifted in these areas. I have found that in my relationship with my mom, I am the one who needs to do the initiating (the calling, texting, scheduling visits, etc). Rarely do my parents reach out to me, unless it’s been weeks since they’ve heard from me. If I get hurt thinking that my mom doesn’t love me because she doesn’t reach out, then I suffer. I do know she loves me very much and is very happy when I call, but it’s not her nature to take the initiative (she also doesn’t initiate this way towards my brothers). So, I have just recognized that this is just my role in my friendships, to be the one to say “i’m thinking about you, how’s your day going?” – and leave it up to others to respond when they can. Of course I do like it when people reach out to me on their own! But I am still loved by my friends and family, even if they aren’t initiating the contact.
      I also do think that most people wonder about others, but some of them are just more likely to reach out than others…

    • Roo says...

      Hey Allison, what a kind comment. And how are you? Hope you’re doing ok. Have a great weekend. X

    • Seconding the other Anna’s comment – “I’ve come to accept that this may just be our roles in life/friendships, just as there are other people who aren’t naturally gifted in these areas.” I learned this about myself in high school, and it was especially evident after college once my friends dispersed. I’ve always been comforted knowing that my mom is very social and has TONS of friends, but she often feels the same way. Being the initiator is now just part of my identity – I know I can reach out and make other people feel loved and remembered and included. And every now and then you’ll reap the rewards of it. (I once had a friend message me after sending her notes for years… she said she was so thankful for my messages and that I was the only person of our friend group who seemed to really care about her during her divorce.) You never know what’s going on in people’s lives, and often they need someone to reach out even if they aren’t in a place where they can reciprocate. Once you accept your role you can start to see how you are a bright spot in people’s lives. <3

  32. Vanessa says...

    My 5 year-old-niece and I are pretty close, She would sometimes give me her drawings(randome stuffs), or she would draw us.

    We are all on lock down, so i we haven’t seen each other for about 2 months now.

    Every Monday, I would collect my mail from my letter box, and i saw my address written by a somewhat, 5 year old kid.

    She send me some flowers that she picked by the road side, it was dead obviously, and a drawing of us. It was so precious. I spent many days trying to draw a rainbow unicorn, and reply her snail mail.

    Loving this pen-pal so far

  33. H says...

    I was just telling a friend how I’m getting some random messages from people I haven’t talked to in a while, it’s funny! Most are from when I lived abroad so I wonder if it’s because they are seeing everything happening in the US and they think of me bc I’m their American friend.

    • Lynn Nguyen says...

      I’m an American living in London, and this def happens the opposite direction as well, the ‘away friend. Friends always message when Boris runs his mouth and they always ask whats going on.

  34. Lynn says...

    I’ve lived in London for the past 5 years, and as the years have gone by some friendships from home have waned due to the time and distance. I hadn’t spoken to a friend in 2 years and then saw his sister’s name in an article (she’s an infection disease expert) and I reached out to him and we’ve both been so happy to be talking again, realising how much we had missed our conversations. It’s such a delight to remember how we’ve touched each others lives, and finding each other again.

  35. Sally says...

    Just last night I had a lovely little chat with my friend Kim from Arizona (I’m in the UK) via facebook messenger. I happened to stumble across a YouTube channel that I instantly thought, “Oh, Kim would enjoy this!” So I spontaneously decided to send her the link, and she immediately wrote back.
    We haven’t really talked in the better part of 3 years, other than via very loose social media exchanges. But it felt really nice. We shared our cross-pond experiences, and updated on the families, and it was just… Nice.

  36. Kamina says...

    Not a surprising PERSON, but surprising COMMUNICATION…

    Almost a year and a half ago I moved from my home city to another city to do a PhD. Since we’re in the mindset that we’re only here for the duration of the PhD, we’ve tried to maintain relationships back “home” through calls, texting and a few weekend visits a year (it’s only a short flight).

    Since everything suddenly went on Zoom due to lockdown – and the state borders closed here in Aus, so we can’t travel – I’ve been connecting with friends and family back home in completely different ways. It never really occurred to me before to video chat or send things in the mail, but we’ve been Zooming while baking, playing games online, streaming free theatre performances at the same time and discussing them. and I’ve received heaps of unexpected care packages or online-ordered gifts. We’ve also reconnected with old friends who moved away from our hometown and we haven’t seen in person for years – suddenly we’ve realised socialising online is an option. I don’t know why we didn’t all interact like this before the lockdown, but I guess the whole thing gave us new ideas. Unexpectedly, friendships have deepened, especially the long-distance ones that “shouldn’t” technically have been affected by lockdown.

    • Lynn says...

      Yes! I’ve lived abroad for years now so virtual comms is very normal, but I’ve enjoyed sending letters and packages in the mail.

  37. Sarah Henderson says...

    My high school boyfriends twin brother reached out to see how I was. It was a sweet exchange, full of care.

  38. Meg says...

    My best friend died unexpectedly last week of a brain aneurysm. The only thing getting me through has been messages I have received from friends… many that I haven’t heard from in a while. If you are thinking about someone, reach out to them. You just never know.

    • Rusty says...

      ❤ to you. That’s tough to get through.

    • Michelle says...

      I’m so sorry, Meg. *hugs*

    • Jennifer says...

      How awful. Be gentle with yourself.

    • fiona says...

      Big hugs to you, so sorry for your loss and really glad your community has been able to step up even if not in person xx

  39. Reevaluating says...

    …or have you never felt more alone lying in bed next to your husband of 19 years?

    • Elizabeth says...

      This pandemic is very hard on couples stuck together in a space where they could previously avoid issues. Sending you love!

    • Jody D says...

      Yep I do.

    • Laura says...

      ditto…Husband of 33 years. I keep receiving the same message from various sources (Insta, books, podcasts): it is time for you to live a different sort of life. Not 100% sure what it means, but I like the way it sounds.

    • Anon says...

      33 years here too, yet we’ve spent the last 10 years to together 24/7, so it’s not lockdown (in Australia things are reopening, school is back and we’re testing the virus tentatively).
      I totally feel alone in this couple and spoke with him this afternoon, about a trial separation. He seems shocked to his core, but I’ve been saying THE same things for 6 years.
      Wot the?!?
      It. Just. Is. What. It. Is. And. Life. Is. Short.

    • meredith says...

      My divorce from my husband of 17 years was finalized last summer and I thank god every day I wake up during this pandemic that I am not stuck in the house with him. It is just me and my dogs and peace. I have a very kind, loving boyfriend that is the best surprise of a human being ever! with two awesome teenage kids, one of which shares my love of plants and gardening. Life can be so so so much better. Divorce is hard, but settling for a lonely life is much worse.

    • Lynn says...

      I don’t have a shared experience on this but have you listened to Esther Perel Where Should We Begin? You might find it helpful.

      Take care and hope it gets better!

    • Reevaluating says...

      Thanks for your words of kindness, understanding, shared experience and suggestions. What a pressure cooker this time is. Love to you too

    • K says...

      Geez, yeah.

      We both work from home now and I felt like I’ve had no partner in caring for the kids who are both out of school, and too young to completely self-manage. Discouraged, I took them to my parents for six weeks, where they can at least run outside. He resents this, calling it vacation. Ah yes, a vacation so I can do my job. But talking to him on the phone every day, we also have nice chats. And the kids not being there has given him some space to work on projects that he enjoys, and he seems happier. It’s rough to think that our happiest selves might be ones who spend less time with each other.

      These are weird times, but it feels like they are throwing some things that have always been there into stark relief. I’ll be thinking of you as you re-evaluate.

  40. ekr says...

    I’ve found myself ruminating on a friend that I fell out with about 10 years ago. I’m not going to reach out, cause that bridge was very much burnt, but my mind just keeps pulling up memories of her. What a curious time we live in.

    • WA says...

      I was thinking about the same thing and being reminded of people we cannot reach out to. One of my friends-like-family stopped talking to me and never told me why. Just cut me out of her life. There was no incident, no fight, no discussion, and it was so out of the blue that it took me a while to realize she was ignoring/ghosting me. I felt so hurt, betrayed, and like a fool for not noticing my expulsion. Instead I kept thinking that I should be mindful that life was just very busy for her. So I’ve been wondering if she’s OK and whether I should reach out now to check in and just find out WHYYYY. It’s been a few years and I still feel those things, but what would talking to her serve? She may not even respond, which would hurt even more. I can no longer trust our “friendship” and would find it hard forgive that 18 years didn’t buy me the benefit of the doubt or a conversation on the ‘why’. Maybe I’ll just send her positive thoughts instead and hope I meet a great psychic who can illuminate the truth (or accept it’s okay not to know)

    • Dana says...

      Having similar feelings on my end, EKR & WA. Prior to the pandemic I thought I had reached a sense of peace about the loss of some important friendships (or as close to peace as I could find). But this situation is really causing some stuff to return to the surface. There’s something about dear, old friends that is irreplaceable. It’s been twisting my stomach in knots.

    • Lynn says...

      A woman I fell out with years ago reached out to me when she was in town about two years ago. I later learned it was part of her 12 step program and while I don’t carry any ill will towards her, whatever connection we did have was certainly not there anymore and it was a hollow exchange. I’ve not thought about it since, till reading your message and I still feel nothing which affirms to me that I’ve closed this chapter and there’s no lingering anything.

      Sounds like there’s something there to work out in yourself, which may or may not mean reaching out but yes these times are curious on our minds!

    • Lauren says...

      Same. I find myself ruminating on an ex. It’s been over a year, I’m now dating someone new, but my mind keeps pulling up memories. This weird time is causing old things to return to the surface. Tempted to reach out but to what ends?

      WA, if you find a great psychic who can illuminate the truth lmk :)

    • K says...

      I really relate to this! I had a dream that we were hanging out again and woke up thinking I should text her although it’s been years. I’ve been reflecting on our friendship and while I miss her, I don’t think it would serve me to reach out. Instead, I wrote a letter to her in my journal—it sounds cheesy but it was helpful to get some closure for myself without opening that door again.

    • samantha jane says...

      Try writing down the unfinished conversation and burning it. Your mind will think that you have had it and possibly you will be able to move on. I too have had that. I do not want to reach out, it serves no purpose, but my mind wanders there.

  41. Jen says...

    Caroline, don’t leave us hanging! What did you say to this guy? How did you even respond?

  42. Amanda says...

    My boyfriend from over 20 years ago, he pm’d me out of the blue and asked “is this aloud?” . Still good looking, still dumb as a rock :)

    • Elisabeth says...

      This made me laugh. Thank you!

    • DL says...

      Thank you for the LOL!

    • Rebekah says...

      Hahaha. Man. This is every boy I dated in high school, save one.

    • Rachel says...

      Made me laugh! Poor guy.

  43. H says...

    I haven’t had this experience but I am dealing with a strange emotion. I am fairly introverted and shy, and coupled with several moves coast to coast within the past 8 years, I just don’t have friends anymore. I have people that I text, but no one to go and have coffee with, shop, or lunch/brunch/ out to dinner with.

    To be honest, before staying at home became the new normal, I had really been thinking there was something wrong with me. “Why, is it so hard to make friends”, and “will I ever have friends again?” became constant thoughts on my mind. And then, this quarantine happened, and now, I am not going out of my mind from loneliness. The only that that has changed for me is I work from home now. I’m actually finding freedom from thinking I need friends. It’s like, this is the one time in life where not having a core group is a good thing.

    I do wonder what will happen when things settle and we can be among one another again. Will my worry and sadness over not having friends come back? Will I force myself past my introverted personality and shyness and just make a good group of friends? I don’t know, but I am hopeful either way.

    • Lauren says...

      I’ll be your friend 💕 Now you can say you have a friend in Canada, we rarely see each other because of the distance, and you know the cold weather up here but we keep in touch through positive thoughts and the odd comment section. How did we meet, funny you ask, our mural friend Jo introduced us! But for real, making friends as a grown up is hard, so I hope this mandated “no making friends” time serves you and your heart well 💕

    • Hannah says...

      Dear H,
      I’ve lived in the same house and worked at the same job for almost 20 years, and I don’t have friends, either. We had a core group of couple friends for a hot second in the early aughts, and they moved/had kids/divorced. We have had other things to focus on with job changes, deaths in the family, kids, etc. Life just happens. One thing I know (and learned for certain over the last 2 months) is that you do you. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t worry or be sad about it. Own the path your life has taken, start anew each day, and meet your current needs.
      I used to come home from social gatherings all drained and then beat myself up further about not talking to more people or having awkward silences or not walking out of there with everyone’s phone number and a brunch date with a potential new bestie. I realized that I was taking on so much of the worry and anxiety about the situation. Relationships are a two-way street – awkward silences happen because the other person isn’t talking, either. I’m so glad to hear that you’re giving yourself the freedom now. After this is all done, give yourself that freedom even if society expects otherwise.

    • Sarah says...

      Hi H! Just wanted to say that you are not alone and that my lonely self has found a bit of relief in being included in the new “normal”. It’s an odd feeling to have my life match those around me for once… I have found myself sad to not be checked in on, texted or a part of friend Zoom meetings but other than that, it’s the same as my life before. I am with you in wondering and hopeful for us both. Much love from Germany ♥️

    • LaLisa says...

      I think I can relate to this. The social pressure and assumption that everyone has their core gang or social life can be really draining. My Mum is very introverted and suffers from mental health issues but I’ve found she’s been a lot happier since quarantine – its like the pressure to achieve, socialize, and fit in has been taken from her!
      Stay hopeful H, you sound like a good person and I hope you find connections and contentment either way

    • Deedle Dee says...

      Oh, man. This is tough. And I can relate. Being shy and introverted, having moved too many times during my early twenties, the worry that my relatively weak social connectedness would be „outed“ (which stopped me at times from making the second move when someone showed interest. Arggghhhhh!). I‘m 37 now and have had to work pretty hard on my social skills/life, especially since I moved to a foreign country 11 years ago, which made things THAT much harder. But forced a lot of growth! This is getting longwinded so I’ll wrap it up with a stream of consciousness list. Haha.

      -you are probably more likable than you think. Most people are very open to you trying to connect with them. Others are often more lonely than they let on at first, esp in this day and age. Some people will rebuff you, you won‘t know why. That‘s ok. I comfort myself knowing I’ve done that in the past bc I simply didn’t know better!
      -try to connect on the „Hobby“ Level with some people. You‘ll always have something to talk about
      -let go of the idea of „core group.“ it’s a trap. Not everybody has that. Do your social life on your own terms.
      -the second you feel the slightest connection with someone, honor that! There‘s probably a good reason for it.
      -don‘t be afraid to reach out to people from the past

      I hope this doesn‘t come off as preachy, I really just mean to be supportive. It’s tough out there but you can do it.

    • S says...

      I hear you, H. I also have a few friends that I text but I’m missing a core friend group. I doubt it, but if you were in Ohio I’d definitely get coffee with you once this is all over!

    • Neha says...

      This really resonated with me, I have made good friends at school, different jobs etc but they didn’t really seem to stick when I moved on, I did try and keep in touch but I think between my introverted nature and the difficulty of a chronic illness I haven’t been successful. I would love to have close friends, especially as I’m now engaged and my fiancee has a huge group of friends from every part of his life and wants a big wedding and I have maybe 3 people I would invite.

      I am very comfortable in my own company and relish alone time but I can feel lonely and wish it were easier to make friends. Or even people who would want to check up on me in exceptional circumstances! I have been feeling on the outskirts of the exceptional methods people are using to stay in touch and be social, but glad I don’t have the disappointment of telling work colleagues about my solo weekend plans every week!

      I hope you get to do whatever feels right to you in the new normal :-)

    • M says...

      I have experienced this to an extent. What I find is that some people get their fill of friendship/connection through Facebook. But I find FB/social media to be so artificial and since I am not onboard, I miss out. I recognize this and am usually the one to connect with people, to actually reach out individually. I think in order to think of a friend and reach out to them, it requires a bit of effort and care, and I find that most acquaintances just don’t want to put forth that energy. It’s a bummer for sure.

    • Britt says...

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through that. It’s a difficult time to be lonely and to not have the kind of friends that you want.

      I don’t know if you have Bumble BFF in your part of the world, but if you do, I’d encourage you to try it. I started a week ago, and it’s been nice – the women on there have been responsive and kind, and seem like they are genuinely interested in making new friends. It’s difficult to make new friends as an adult – got out of a long term relationship last year and went into this quarantine feeling quite alone. Hugs from California.

    • J says...

      Wow I relate to this thread so much. After a bad breakup with a guy in my friend group, I’ve been feeling lonely and isolated for a couple years. Like H, I spent a lot of time obsessing over my sparse social network, but have felt like the quarantine brought everyone down to my level of social engagement haha.

      I try to remind myself of a few things when I’m feeling lonely.
      1. EVERYONE feels lonely sometimes. It’s one of the most universal feelings; no matter how lonely you feel, you’re not alone in that feeling.
      2. There is no “normal.” Books and movies often portray a close best friend and/or a tight-knit circle of friends as a given (*especially* with women), but that’s sort of a trope and not necessarily the most common experience. How many groups of four women over the age of 22 do you know who ONLY hang out with each other?? Why is this still a thing??
      3. Social media isn’t real life. That photo of a group’s sun-drenched brunch together is just the one best-looking millisecond they’re choosing to share.
      4. A lack of friends isn’t a reflection of who you are as a person. Everyone has social ups and downs throughout their life, so try not to give yourself too much of a hard time while you’re in a valley feeling like everyone else is living on a peak.

    • H says...

      Awwww, I’m the original “H” poster here. My replies were going straight to spam so I had no clue so many sweet messages came through. You all are lovely and Yay! I have friends now! :)

      Cup of Jo has been one of my daily reads for such a long time. It’s been years, yet it still feels like a new blog that I’m just discovering. The thing I love the most about this blog is that it feels like such a safe space. The posts and the comments are refreshing, heartfelt, funny, sad, strong, brave, vulnerable. So, I felt comfy writing about the weird experience I am having with the stay at home order.

      Someone mentioned below, and my apologies if I paraphrase incorrectly, that our society kind of expects social norms to include a core group, and/or, a highly socialized life. I agree with that sentiment so much that at the start of the quarantine I expected to have a rough go of it, but it has been quite the opposite.

      I think, for me, it’s not so much that I’m sad, or lonely. I’m actually quite happy in my introverted, quiet bubble. I want more in person friends, but understand now, that I don’t need them like I thought I did, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s a surprising realization that I never would have understood had it not been for this quarantine. I do think there are things I can and should do to push through my shyness and appreciate all of the kind suggestions here.

      Thank you all!

  44. Wow, 14 years ago?! That’s wild.
    I had a guy I went on 2 dates with months ago text me, then friend me on Snapchat (which I declined) and on House Party, which is a video chat app, so that was SUPER random.

  45. A Willey says...

    Slightly off topic, but I would love to hear the CoJ writers and incredible commenter’s advice on how to handle heartbreak during these current world events. My fiancé and partner of five years suddenly decided he no longer wanted to be in a relationship. So, in the middle of a pandemic, I am left to move out of my home, reimagine my entire life, and decide who gets to keep our wonderful dogs. Meanwhile, none of my closest friends are supposed to be within six feet of me. Any ideas on how to move on from sudden and deep heartbreak would be gratefully appreciated.

    • Ingrid says...

      So sorry….

    • Jessica says...

      Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this! Hang in there!

    • Jen says...

      No advice, but sending you virtual hugs. That is such a rough situation to be in xo

    • Lauren says...

      First of all, I am so, so sorry! Even if this relationship ending is for the best, that doesn’t make it any less difficult or heartbreaking—especially since it’s happening right now. I’m sure all you want is a hug! I’ve never been in your exact situation, but I’ve had my heart broken, badly. There’s no way to avoid the pain, you have to feel it to get over it. But you can do little things that make you feel better (walks, making cookies, talking to friends over the phone, finding a book or a show to lose yourself in temporarily). And I promise you, little by little it will hurt less. There will come a day when you look back on this and feel no pain at all and it will be astonishing. Sending you love from Washington ❤️

    • S says...

      Could you share a long call with a friend? Don’t even have to talk the whole time, shared silence just knowing they are there at the other end can be very comforting, for me at least.

      Sending you a virtual hug—that sounds hard and terrible. You also sound like a person who is strong and thoughtful and I wish you healing moments that lead to healing minutes, then hours, days, weeks, months, and years.

    • INGRID BELQAID says...

      I’m so sorry for your heartbreak. I know it’s hard, but you will get through this. Right now the breakup is probably the first thing on your mind when you wake up and the last thing on it when you go to sleep. That won’t last forever. Trust me. One day you’ll make it to the shower before thinking of your partner. Then one day you’ll make it to lunchtime. And one day, probably not anytime soon, you’ll actually have to check the file cabinets in your memory to remember that person’s full name, the color of their eyes, and what you liked about them. Until then, keep yourself busy. Start building the House of You. Make lists of things you want to accomplish. Places you want to visit. Heroic endeavors you want to undertake. Read historical fiction about strong women who’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Ride your bike. Do not listen to sad, downbeat music. Dance and move your body every single day. Be gentle with yourself. Do not say bad things to yourself. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Go to youtube and type in the search box HOW I HEALED MY BROKEN HEART. You’ll get over a million videos. Watch them and be inspired. You’ll see as time goes on, it does get better.
      You’ll know you’ve completely healed when you’re able to forgive the person who hurt you and wish them well. Right now It doesn’t seem like that’ll ever be possible, I know. But trust me. One day, it will be.

    • Cadence says...

      Hi A, gosh that sounds so so tough. We are all thinking of you and sending love and strength!! Here are some thoughts
      1. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself time and space to grieve, try to lean into feeling those feelings vs avoidant behaviors. When I feel something strongly, I try to pause and name the feeling (I’m sad, or I’m angry, or I’m lonely) and identify where I feel it in my body (my face hurts, my throat feels tight, my stomach feels tight) and then try to just sit with it and really feel them. This helps me process that feeling and then it passes.
      2. Reach out to your community! Let them know what happened, how you are feeling. They will support you and that will really help. If you have specific ideas on how they could support you- share them! What feels extra hard right now? Maybe you want to cook dinner with a friend over zoom every day next week, which will make dinner feel fun instead of overwhelming and lonely. Or meet up for a walk or remote TV show watching or yoga?
      3. Turn to your favorites- watch your favorite TV, order your favorite foods, listen to your favorite music, wear your favorite dress, drink your favorite tea. Surround yourself with those comforts!
      4. If you want, in time reading something like Option B could be helpful, it shows how to process total and complete sudden heartbreak. But you’ve got to be in the right headspace for it!

    • Katrin says...

      I separated from my partner of 16 years just before the pandemic, so I feel you. It was the worst. I asked my close friends (whom I couldn’t hug!) to send me encouraging letters and care packages. It felt so vulnerable to ask, but now I have these letters from them expressing their love, physical reminders of our bond. One friend even sent a set of sealed notes to be opened during the worst times. Highly recommend.

    • Katrin says...

      Another thing I did was write letters to all the objects (and in your case, I guess, pets) that I had shared with my partner. I wrote about what they had meant and which experiences I connected with them, and what I wanted then to mean in the future. Some things I kept in my life, someI let go of. For the things I kept, I came back to wanting them to be connected to love – for example a sofa that had been the site for so many difficult conversations. I re-dedicated it as a place of love, rest and relaxation and drew a little heart on it that only I know about.
      I hope this helps in this difficult time!

    • Victoria says...

      This sounds so, so hard. What a time to have to be alone. I hope you are ok.

    • Mariah says...

      Sending you the biggest hug! Hang in there!

    • Karinny says...

      Oh I am so sorry you have to go through this, hope you can hear from people who can help. I am sending a virtual hug (and hope you keep the dogs)!

    • Lauren says...

      Wow! Well, what I’ve learned in therapy is good: try not to push away feelings; they’ll just come back stronger. But no sulking! When you feel something, let it come, notice where you feel it in your body, be curious about it, be an observer. Different feelings will come and go. Don’t push them away (denial), don’t hang onto them (sulking); go about your day, only stopping for ‘contractions’ when you need to.

    • Hilary says...

      I am so sorry – that is truly awful. I wish I had some sort of brilliant advice, but heartbreak just sucks. Be gentle and don’t expect too much of yourself – it may just be hard, but it will pass.

    • Toni says...

      I’m sorry for your pain and what you are going through.
      It’s said, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”? You will survive this.
      Talk to friends and family as often as possible – vent, cry, laugh, scream, etc.. it helps…
      I am going through a divorce after 13 years of marriage – closing on the sale of my home and moving into an apartment next week. Leaving my neighborhood and the safety of my home during a pandemic is frightening, but, we do what we must..
      Hang in there….

    • Anja Meyer says...

      Hi A, first of all: everything everyone else here said. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. And one more thing: if you can, keep the dogs. Having to go out with them on a fairly regular basis (even know) and having a living, breathing being next to you will be so good for you. and you deserve something good. Much love, Anja xx

    • A Willey says...

      Returning to so many kind and thoughtful responses brought me to tears. Thank you all for your insights and the reminder that this will eventually start to feel better than it does now. It was also so helpful feeling validated that yes- this really does suck. Thank you for the boost from afar, your words made my heart ache, but this time in a good way.
      I love this community.
      Alex

  46. Isabella says...

    One thing that’s happened for me is that I’ve taken stock of my current circle of aquaintances and noticed that there are a few people I actually really *want* to be friends with, and was for some reason overlooking — maybe because they’re colleagues and it felt awkward to make the leap from working together to having a real connection? It’s not a matter of them having failed to make the friend-grade until COVID-19 changed my perspective, it’s more like I didn’t have the courage or clarity to take those connections a step farther. I’m still a bit unclear on how to move forward, since a couple of them are married men and it always feels a bit socially in appropriate for a single woman to strike up a chumminess with a married man. I wonder if any CoJ readers have any perspective on this…

    • katie says...

      hey isabella! i don’t think it’s inappropriate so long as your intentions and then behaviour together isn’t inappropriate. a few of my good friends over the years are married/partnered men (one a couple of decades older than me) and i also am on good terms with their partners. i suppose issues could arise with partners if they take issue with the friendship, but i’ve always taken the view in these situations that their arrangement is their business. in other words, i don’t go out of my way to ingratiate myself with them, not only because that is artificial-seeming, but also as it might suggest there is something inappropriate going on with their guy.

      so, i’d say go for it, with a simple “how are you holding up these days?”

      good luck :)

    • Sarz says...

      Isabella, I’m a woman in a longterm, monogamous, heterosexual relationship, and my closest friendship is with a single, heterosexual man. We’ve always made the effort to have our get-togethers at my place, just to avoid any potential, uh, speculation, ha! I think that if you make some small attempts to endear yourself to their wives, it’s absolutely worth pursuing these friendships further!

  47. Hannah says...

    An old best friend and I drifted apart after he moved cross-country about a decade ago, although we stayed loosely connected via social media. I texted him over the years on his birthday and he never responded, so I figured he had changed his number. He just started texting me out of the blue the other day and low and behold, he still has the same number. It’s been nice to reconnect with him and it made me realize just how much I miss his friendship. We’re hoping to get together for a visit once travel restrictions are lifted. I’d like to introduce him to my kids since they’ve heard so many stories about him.
    Also, just yesterday I received a DM from a guy I performed theater with almost 15 years ago (and haven’t seen or spoken to since). He’s had pretty big success in his profession and it’s taken him all over the world, so I was genuinely surprised that he even remembered me after all these years. Feels nice to be thought of fondly enough that someone reaches out after all these years.

  48. JoanieO says...

    My husband spent a year in Montana on exchange from Australia when he was in high school. Given that his workplace is so quiet as most people are working from home, there aren’t many people for him to talk to on his breaks, so he’s taken to giving his old friends and host family a video call instead. Usually the timing works out that he’s having a coffee, and they’re in the middle of making dinner – it’s been a fun way for him to connect with people from 20 years ago and thousands of kms away.

  49. Jane says...

    My hairstylist reached out to me! We don’t know each other well, but have always gotten along. She just wanted to check-in as we both live in Brooklyn and New York’s obviously been so crazy. It was so sweet!

  50. Chelsea says...

    One of my college roommates called me out of the blue the first couple weeks of the stay at home order- we follow each other on Facebook and exchange brief messages occasionally but we haven’t talked on the phone or in person in a long long time. She has a 9 month old baby and just moved to a new state after living overseas for almost a decade. She said between the isolation of being a stay at home mom in a new place and coronavirus she was just feeling so lonely and she wanted to connect with old friends. I thought it was so sweet she reached out and we’ve talked on the phone a few times since then and often text. It’s a nice thing about all this- having a moment to consider the people that have touched your life in some way.

  51. R says...

    I heard from a man that I had a special connection with 21 years ago, when I was 18 and he was in his early 20s. I have always been filled with cringey embarrasment about that time because I was so awkward and dorky. I replied to him with a superficial, generic message, including some subtle references to what a great, successful life I have – travel, work, baby, husband, house, etc. I guess my reply was intended to paper over the layers of tenderness and self-loathing I still harbour from that time. Now a few days have passed and I’m reflecting on the times we shared – Nick Cave music, exploring the outdoors, the conversations. I’m finding I can start to put the awkwardness aside and feel really fond of those memories, and lucky to have had what we had.

  52. AJ says...

    I’ve only heard from one guy, someone who once had a crush on me years ago when we were both married to someone else.
    As far as someone I want to reach out too….. no exes for sure, only friends! Now I am disappointed that no one else has reached out to me! haha

  53. b says...

    No, and I haven’t reached out to anyone either. There are a few people on my mind, but I have no way to reach them.

  54. Emily says...

    It’s interesting seeing who I’m talking to! Beyond my family, I’ve been talking much more often with one of my close friends who lives across the country– our relationship’s been slowly rebuilding after conflict a year ago and further back, but it suddenly feels much closer! I’ve also realized how close I’ve gotten with two NYC friends who I’ve kept in good touch with, and somewhat reconnected with a close friend who’s drifted apart. And my high school friend group has checked in several times! But meanwhile my book club, who I’d been hanging out with a lot socially this year, hasn’t been in touch at all. WEIRD!

  55. AB says...

    Oh yes! I have definitely heard from some friends spread out over the globe, which is so nice and incredibly strange at the same time that we are ALL going through the same crisis! I got a message from a camp counselor from maaaannnyy years ago who just casually said he was responding to my message from… 8 years ago?! And then, I got one from a Chilean study abroad fling and well, that one I couldn’t pass up! We had a nice conversation, and that was that!

  56. C says...

    I’ve had a couple friends reach out who I lost touch with and I have to say, it’s been lovely! But this comment isn’t about them. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I’m one of those people who have slid into someone’s DMs in some sort of hopeless romantic mid-COVID crisis! A friend posted their wedding photos from months ago and in them were some pictures of a guy I was friends with in college. There had been a moment in those first weeks of our freshman year when we had a sort of spark outside a party one night, but neither of us ever acted on it. I went on to date his friend for a few months, and we lost touch. In a moment of hysteria and weakness, and after much text-screaming with my girlfriends, I sent a message to him.

    We hadn’t spoken in maybe 7 years and are both in our mid-20s now. He’s moved countries and we’ve both grown up. We didn’t even have each other on social media! He answered with a hello and I drafted a list of 6 replies ranging from “Haha hope you’re doing well!” to “Sometimes I think about our Sliding Doors parallel universe.” I asked him if he wanted a regular reply or a chaotic reply on a scale from 1 to 7 (Reader, I have no answers as to why I did this. Does your heart ever ask you to do something absolutely absurd and irrational, and once every decade you give in?). 7 would be that I showed him a screenshot of all the replies, but I didn’t tell him this.

    He chose 6, and so I told him, “Sometimes I think about our Sliding Doors parallel universe.” And we talked for a bit and had a nice, warm conversation and said our goodbyes. Talking to him had been so easy, so cozy and kind. I moved on, wistfully but surely.

    Ten days later, he messaged me. He’d watched Sliding Doors so he’d understand what I was saying. For a couple weeks we just joked back and forth, recommending movies for each other and discussing them now and then. And then the other day, something cracked open. He told me he’d had a crush on me in university but pushed it aside because we were both dating other people. I told him the same. He said he watched Sliding Doors so he’d have an excuse to reach out to me again.

    Now we talk into midnight hours, stuck in this strange place of warmth, yearning, and distance. Sometimes I feel so sad thinking about how doomed whatever this friendship is! We’re so physically far from each other, I can’t even imagine when it’d possibly be safe to visit him. But I also think about how I would have gone the rest of my life without speaking to this guy again if we weren’t in this pandemic. It’s all very strange, haha! So I daydream that we’re in the brunette Gwyneth Paltrow timeline, where she and James sort of cross paths throughout the whole movie, never quite being in the right time or place for each other, and then finally meet as the movie ends.

    • Julie says...

      ❤️

    • Maria says...

      Dear C,
      this is so funny and heartwarming. I wish you all the best!

    • Kamina says...

      I LOVE THIS STORY!!

    • Alyssa says...

      THAT IS NOT HOW I EXPECTED THAT STORY TO GO and I’m so happy! To quote Marie forleo, everything is figureoutable ;)

    • J says...

      This sounds very exciting. Good luck!

    • Barbara Jane says...

      This is so sweet! I hope that you do come together at some point! (and also, I’ve never seen this movie but now I really want to!)

    • Ker says...

      I love this story C. I’m rooting for you guys. And I’m going to re-watch Sliding Doors!

    • AM says...

      This!! This exact thing. Brilliant.

      My ex from 9 years ago reached out. Partly to tell me his dad passed away, but tbh is not something we would’ve done in normal times.

      Also a really introverted work friend who I’d tried hard to befriend, texted and then called to check on me. Felt good to know that I mattered enough to reach out after all my efforts! :)

    • Lauren says...

      eeeeeek this was so fun to read! Except how will we get to know the ending?!

      Miss Jo, get this girl in a future post-COVID (?) processing piece 😆

    • Robyn says...

      Ooh well isn’t this wonderful! I sincerely hope the best for you two, and hope there is some way we can be updated :)

    • C says...

      Haha, thank you everyone! ❤️ It made me so happy to read these replies and tell this story to all my CoJ virtual friends because I just haven’t felt like sharing this with anyone IRL. Worried I’ll jinx it? For now I’m just enjoying the conversations, but I’ll come back here and let you all know if the universe pushes us together someday. Even if it’s months from now and there’s nobody here to read it, I promise!

      If there’s someone you wanna send a hello to, as long as you wouldn’t be causing them harm by reaching out, I say go for it! Do the wacky thing. Who cares! Life is too short to not tell people you care about them because you’re worried it’ll be embarrassing. Make their day or be the funny story they tell their friends that night :)

    • Ramona says...

      This is exactly the kind of content I need in my life ❤️

  57. Elise says...

    I heard from a (now) woman I hadn’t heard from since we were both 16. Best friends since I moved to the area she still lives in when I was 12, I hadn’t really realised that the feelings I had for her were romantic and/or sexual until her family’s new year’s party that year when we finally got it together. As my memory goes, she blocked any of my attempts to talk to her after that night but I’ve carried thoughts of her through the events and loves of the last decade and a half. Fast forward to getting a call from an unknown number the other week. I wouldn’t usually answer but I’m job hunting at the moment and so I’m jumping whenever the phone goes. At first she feigns being a Tele marketer but drops her name pretty quickly. 90 minutes of conversation ensues, of course the elephant in the room of us sleeping together at 16 is not spoken of but by the time she’s talked of all the very human things that have happened in the last 15 years, I’ve managed to dismantle any pedastale I’d inadvertently built for her in my mind and was just so pleased to be chattering away to someone I’d been so close to.

  58. Meg says...

    Reading these comments of how much people enjoyed hearing from friends who have lost touch, I’m hereby committing to reach out to somebody in the next few days that I haven’t been in touch with, just to say ‘Hi’ and let them know I’m thinking of them. (I still need to brainstorm who!) Anybody else want to commit to join me? :)

    • Laura says...

      Yes! My very close friend and college roommate and I have drifted apart over the last few years (we’re 40 now). We don’t live near each other and our lives are pretty different. But I’m always thinking I should send her a message. I will now publicly commit to doing it :)

  59. Agnes says...

    Oh I love this the most. I heard from my ex-boyfriend from 2002 who was worried about me having lost my job (I didn’t) and offering to help me and my family members financially if we needed. I always want to remember his kindness!! Also heard from long-lost cousins (2) who I haven’t seen or spoken to for 30+ years. I’m loving all these stories. LOVING. Can’t wait for more comments here!!

  60. AN says...

    Between the ages of 19 and 23 (30-ish years ago), I was in a relationship with a lovely boy whose mother I absolutely adored, like I wish she’d been my own mother. We were very close during those four years, but then lost touch after my and her son’s break-up. I saw her very briefly again ~20 years ago and not since. Just before Mother’s Day, I was compelled to email her. She wrote back, and at the end of her sweet note, she revealed that THIS ENTIRE TIME, she’s had a framed photo of 20-year-old me on her bookshelf that she sees every.single.day. I died. Of course I sent her flowers for Mother’s Day immediately and am rekindling our connection, this time forever.

    • Laura says...

      I love this!

    • gaya3 says...

      love this <3

    • Lauren says...

      that’s so sweet! These posts have really got me thinking. . .

  61. Robyn says...

    I am quite close to being the random person to reach out! I met a guy last year through friends, and became smitten pretty quickly (this rarely, rarely happens). We live in different cities but he happened to be visiting mine a few weeks after we met. We spent an afternoon in the park, and I fell further. We left it there (I wanted to kiss him, but didn’t make a move, and neither did he which I took as confirmation that he didn’t feel like I do). I’ve thought of him a lot since, especially since lockdown. I truly would like to just know he and his family are ok, and also where he is – he was thinking of doing some travelling this year, or making a move). But I of course would also like more. What if he ignores me? Or tells me about his awesome new girlfriend? Is it better to just daydream?

    I know other people have bigger problems at the moment, but I am bored and single and my mind has been obsessing! It felt good to get this off my chest. Ladies – to text or not to text? What to say?!

    • Kathryn says...

      Be the random person! Generally I don’t regret being bold, usually my regrets are from what I don’t do!

    • Maria says...

      To text!

    • Babs says...

      Text!! As I was once advised by an older male, married mentor, ‘embrace the awkward.’ I have yet to regret heeding this advice.

    • Melissa says...

      Text. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

    • Anonymom says...

      Yes! Then let us know what happens?

    • Lauren says...

      Hm, what would you say to a friend if this was their story? :)

    • Maia says...

      Text him, Robyn :)

    • Ramona says...

      Text! And then tell all!

  62. Anne says...

    Weirdly for me, texting some with my crush of the past three years…… We went out once two years ago, and got back in touch (platonically) about a month before lockdown. He’s a terrible texter in general, so it’s been surprising to see him pop up in my inbox now and again.

  63. Ramona says...

    It’s weird because I haven’t seen any of the people I ordinarily talk to regularly–mostly people who I’m friendly with but don’t know very well, like other parents at preschool, the people in my spin class, my house cleaning person, etc. But I have been in much more frequent contact with the people who I actually am close with but don’t hear from as often, like my college roommate, old friends, cousins, etc. In some ways I feel lost from myself because I’m not in my usual routine, but in other ways I feel much more myself than I’ve felt in a long time because I’m talking to people who actually know me.

  64. Amanda says...

    This post is so timely because I’ve been thinking and reflecting so much on those that have reached out to me (I’m 38 weeks pregnant and celebrated a birthday last week, along with Mother’s Day), and I have felt so loved through this pandemic. I’ve reconnected with several friends over text, IG, etc., and it has meant so much and has put me in the right headspace time deliver this baby. Unfortunately, I’ve also experienced the opposite situation. A friend of 20+ years has not reached out to me once to see how I’m doing/feeling. I have resentment because I’ve been there for her through both of her pregnancies, and the last time we actually had a conversation was when she told me her grandmother had passed (over an Insta DM). I reached out and also sent a card and we haven’t really spoken since. She’s texted but her messages are short and closed, she does not ask questions and does not want to engage. I’m heartbroken over it all. We’re all going through an unprecedented time and I realize we all process things differently. I know I could reach out, but she’s never been one to have deep conversations or talk about her emotions and aren’t I allowed to be selfish during this time?

    • S says...

      As a person who has been having a tough time with this whole thing (health care worker, worried about PPE etc etc), I have to admit I have been a bit closed off and mostly not reaching out to people. I don’t want to make them worry or darken their day with my fears, but I don’t have the strength to pretend everything is ok. I do sometimes reach out on my better days, but most days I keep to myself. I still wish all the best for my friends new and old, and hope I can eventually get to a place where I can be a good friend again. I don’t know if this is the case with your friend or not, but I am sharing this in the hopes that it may lessen your heartbreak a little. Congratulations on your baby!!!

  65. Kate says...

    A lot of these comments about rethinking friendships seem harsh in the current emotional landscape. I love my friends and even acquaintances (work friends, school moms, etc) and am generally a very social (and upbeat) person. But something about this quarantine lifestyle has made me more insular for the time being. I had a few “zoom happy hours” with girlfriends at the start, but everything just kept coming back to cv—19 and just made me feel low. Also, my kids and husband are here ALL the TIME so if I get a second, I just want to be alone. I hope my friends are not going to abandon me for not reaching out at this time. When I do have the energy/time/mood to get in touch, I’ve been prioritising talking to people who are isolated alone, which means I’m not spending time calling my closest friends who live in homes full of husbands and children and pets. I hope that they give me grace in these circumstances and don’t make it some kind of marker of our friendship.

    • Liz says...

      This resonates with me, as an introvert who must–for her own sanity–have alone time at the end of a busy work/kids/partner day. I have historically not always been the best friend, but if I have failings during this time, I also hope they will be forgiven.

    • Emiley says...

      I totally agree, Kate. I was having the same thought about showing grace; these are strange, unprecedented times and we are all coping the best ways we know how. If nothing else, I hope we feel compelled to show more, not less, kindness toward others. Especially those we have called friends.

    • Kate says...

      From another Kate, yes to this. :)

    • Lauren says...

      Maybe you could send them cute cards just for ‘thinking about you’. Low social energy cost, but shows you care, and who knows they might have it up for weeks, versus never hearing from you 🤷‍♀️

  66. Monica says...

    Caroline, yes! I have found myself reaching out via FB to colleagues or old college or high school friends (I’m 45!), and texting random friends in my phone contact list. I think it’s so great that we as humans still feel the need to connect with each other and take care of each other. I get super anxious grocery shopping, but I see the same cashiers and bagging folks I’ve seen for 15+ years at my stores, and it makes me even more thankful for them. People are so important, around us and in our past, even if they are strangers or remote or middle school friends from long ago. :) Thank you, this hit home for me!!

  67. nadine says...

    Love this post and all this stories!
    I have a different one, in January I received a whatsapp message from a guy that I have dated once when I was maybe 18. I’m 35 now, I have moved several countries and it took me a while to remember him. The message was weird and it felt a bit stalkery, it creeped me out so I blocked him without answering. I wonder how different it would have felt if I had received it now.
    On the other side I’ve been definitely chatting much more with friends I wasn’t talking to very often.
    And I keep wondering too how are people doing in my ordinary life. I started following my yoga studio on facebook and it was moving to see the familiar faces. I wonder how my hairdresser is doing, how the shop assistants of my favourite bookstore, the waitress at my lunch spot next to my office.. I even miss my dentist! I’ll be so emotional when I’ll start to get out! Haha

  68. S says...

    Today my best friend and I were talking about an article on Man Repeller about wanting to feel hot again during quarantine. She feels hot when she looks androgynous. I shared the most hot I ever felt was when learned that the tall, dark, and handsome guy in our friend group had always had a crush on me. I’ve never been so flattered and so not single.

  69. I just got off the phone with a friend I haven’t spoken to in probably 15 years! She just discovered a podcast I was on and listened to my interview about growing up Quaker. She reached out on Facebook to tell me she enjoyed it and that it reminded her of all the great conversations we had in our early 20’s. Her voice felt like time travel, we used to work together and I saw her everyday and knew everything about her. This quarantine has been tough but having time to connect with people has been a bright spot.

  70. Grace says...

    I rekindled a dear friendship by sending her flowers a couple weeks ago. She was so thrilled and we spent an hour on google hangout catching up. She was a huge part of my life in my twenties – everything from mimosa brunches, to concerts, to serious talks about family and the future. She was always the person I could laugh with AND lean on during the sad parts of life. It made me happy to know that she still loves me too and we can pick up right where we left off.

  71. Nina says...

    I’m having the opposite experience. My best friend and I live blocks from each other- because we are so busy with work and kids we don’t see each other much but we talk on the phone a few times a day. Without commutes, and lunch breaks, we haven’t talked much- only twice in two months. Realizing maybe she isn’t my best friend?

    • Silver says...

      Don’t take what is going on during these times as an indicator of how much someone does or does not care about you. This is an unusual and crazy situation. Some people reach out, some people pull blankets over their heads. She might be drowning out there.

    • Sounds like you miss your friend, but something keeps you from checking in: that must be so hard. I am sorry for you. Hang in there. And make sure to be careful about using this difficult time as your only barometer. Friendships are gifts that give over lifetimes. Only time will tell. Wish you the best.

    • Jen says...

      I’ve found the same with my closest friends and wondered the same too, but I hope the truth of it is that we’re all frazzled at the moment, trying to do it all, and our closest friends know that we’ll be there afterwards to pick up as we were before.

    • Amy says...

      Same boat. My best friend and I used to see each every Friday since the quarantine we’ve maybe talked 3x? Whereas I started to hang out with another mom maybe two months before the quarantine started (we knew each other through mutual friends but never really hung out before) but since the quarantine, we talk almost every day. Life is has a weird way of working out.

    • Kate says...

      Maybe she’s really struggling with all of the changes? Or one of her kids isn’t doing well without being at school or daycare? Or maybe she has so many zoom calls each day that it takes every ounce of energy to get through the workday and she can’t muster enough energy to call in the evening? Truly not trying to judge your comment because I’m sure it’s hard not talking to your best friend as frequently as usual, but sharing my own experience in case it’s helpful. I have admittedly not been the best friend and finally confided to a few that my mental health has really been suffering so I’ve been pretty silent.

    • Becky says...

      Oh no I dont think so! This is just a weird time. My best friend and I live states apart and usually talk on phone 1-2x a week. Since the pandemic we speak once a week at most, usually every other week. She and her husband are so busy with the kids and longer work hours. Make a zoom date!

  72. Vicky says...

    Oh my goodness I was blown away when I saw the title of this post. After thinking about it for a few days (and helped along by binge-watching Normal People over two evenings), today I wrote to my one that got away (though technically I was the one that got away). Our last email was from 2013, with only a few drunken midnight texts since then. No idea why I did it – just sometimes I feel this huge void in my life where he used to be. I really would have liked to talk to him. He hasn’t written back yet.

    • Micah says...

      Keep us posted :)

    • Mandy says...

      Oh my goodness! Keep us posted !

    • Sally says...

      Can we talk more abt normal people pls? Probably my favorite show ever and I can’t stop thinking of my first love tho I’ll never contact him. Joanna, pls watch – normal peoples rich and Nuanced Subject matter will launch a thousand posts. Way better than fleabag, which I also enjoyed. I keep rewatching and it’s been a week! Lol

    • Laura says...

      Ooh, please keep us posted!

    • Vicky says...

      Still no news :-/. I am not sure if that e-mail address is still valid, but I didn’t want to
      write on facebook. Will post an update if he writes. Normal people really threw me for a loop. I think hearing the words “it’s not like that with other people” would have made me cringe so hard if I hadn’t experienced it, and suddenly I remembered how easy and right it all felt. He made me a better human and I broke his heart by moving abroad for grad school. I can’t blame him if he doesn’t want to write back. But I wish he would.

    • Ramona says...

      Please post an update if he writes, I am living vicariously through you!

    • Vicky says...

      I had to come back to let you know that he just wrote back. He was his same kind, honest, considerate self. He told me he has been thinking of me as well, and thinking about the last time we met and how we should have maybe done something differently. It was in Berlin, almost two years after we broke up, and I remember walking through a park and hoping he would take my hand, but he didn’t. He wrote that he is not exactly happy, but he is content. And he got married just a few months ago.

  73. Stephanie says...

    Similarly, my now-husband of 17 years and I started dating a week after 9/11. We had been good friends for many years but thought our friendship too important to lose if a relationship didn’t work. The whole world felt risky and he was my safe space. He continues to be the one I want to face all life’s challenges with.

    • ellie says...

      Love this! Might be the most romantic thing I’ve read in years….

    • Sarah says...

      I love that.

    • LIz says...

      That’s beautiful. My now-ex-boyfriend, who graduated a year before I did and had just moved out of NYC, moved back in light of my post-9/11 panic. It ultimately didn’t work out between us, but I was grateful to have him back at that time.

  74. Margaret says...

    I’ve been writing a couple letters a week to random friends, close and distant, for no reason other than to let them know I’m thinking of them. I would feel weird texting or emailing out-of-the-blue, I think, because those formats feel like they demand a response–and who has a good answer to “how are you doing” these days, anyways? (Whenever I get asked, my mind jumps to that iconic Real Housewives of New York quote: “I’ll tell ya how I’m doing: not well, b*tch!” Like even on a “good” day, we’re all still facing down a global pandemic!)

  75. Jess. says...

    This inspired me to contact “my friend” who runs the best Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood. At the beginning of the NYC lock-down, I called to place an order (to support the local economy), but they were closed. Since then, I’ve been worrying about her, as anti-Asian racism has ramped up. I called her today to check on her, and . . . they are open again! Tomorrow: we feast! Also: we tip!!! xox

    • Sadie says...

      “Also: we tip!!!” :)

    • Jeanne says...

      That’s so wonderful of you!!

  76. Lindsay says...

    Wait… did you respond to the email?

    • Shannon says...

      I MUST know!!

    • CMG says...

      yeah, don’t leave us hanging Caroline

    • Laura says...

      Yes, and what about your friend who texted the one who got away?

  77. Annie says...

    I received a really lovely email from a stranger who read an academic article I’d written a while back and wanted to chat about our shared interests. It was such a fun interaction! My husband was inspired by that email to reach out to a person in his field (semi-famous but only in that field) and ask a question. Now they’re having a Zoom coffee date! I bet the shared experience of boredom has led to some interesting collaborations.

    • hali says...

      so cool!!

  78. Elizabeth says...

    11 years ago, I was 24 and I fell for handsome my tour guide, in an Austrian ice cave. I’m normally shy and reserved, but something about being in another country for the first time and trying to communicate with his broken English and my complete lack of German, He and I openly flirted the entire hour long tour in front of my older brother and my dad and about 15 other people, haha. He kept calling me The Shorts Princess because I was wearing shorts in an ice cave and lent me his gloves for warmth. We went our separate ways after the tour while waiting for the gondola to carry our group down. I watched him from afar as he climbed over a fence to pick tiny wildflowers off the edge of cliff, He brought me a miniature bouquet. I was smitten… I got the courage to walk up to him a later after the gondola ride where he was sitting with his fellow tour-guides at a picnic table drinking a pitcher of beer to hand him a piece of paper with my email on it. It was most exhilarating and nerve-wracking, my face red as I walked away and hearing his friends laughing and talking in German. I’ve half-jokingly called this my great European love story, even though we never met up after that, despite a few attempts. I probably could have made it happen, but I went back to being my typical and nervous self the rest of the trip. We wrote each other letters by post for a year after than and quietly followed each other on facebook then instagram,

    I married 5 years ago, and we now have a 16 month old (Side story: Joanna, I actually left a comment on COJ that I had just found out I was pregnant but hadn’t told anyone yet, it felt so good to share and your comment in response made my heart nearly burst). My husband and I are happily together and I can’t imagine a world where he isn’t my partner. That said…the other day, Tour Guide commented on an IG story, a picture of me with my daughter and an incredible sweet and flirty conversation followed. It’s unlike me to dabble in coquettish behavior, but there I was doing just that. It was an incredible pick me up from the indifferentiable day to day covid routine we have been stuck in. Maybe it’s the safe ocean wide distance between us, and that he’s like an old familiar friend, but it felt perfectly innocent and made me feel so very alive.

    • Micah says...

      This is amazing

  79. Melissa says...

    I have been thinking about my own not-so-strangers. I am more stressed and almost nostalgic about them missing their daily routines (which I had come to know so well) than I am about missing my own. The man I saw every single morning through the window at the corner diner at 7am reading the newspaper and eating his breakfast – WHAT DOES HE DO FOR BREAKFAST NOW?! I can’t reach out to him, as you said, I wouldn’t know how. But, perhaps, when (if?) things go back to the way they were, I’ll finally stop into the diner and ask him.

    • Mandy says...

      Ohh this is such a good comment! I wonder? What are they up to now!

    • Julie says...

      I worry that our not-so-strangers are alone and lonely during this time. But I have to remind myself – who am I to assume? Maybe he has a partner that is a Chatty Cathy, so he escapes to the diner for a few moments of silence each morning! I’ll keep telling myself that story instead.

  80. Hali says...

    My best friend from childhood reached out to me! We had what I can only describe as a truly heartbreaking breakup a few months before my wedding in 2018, days after I lost my grandma, was simultaneously losing my future mother in law to cancer and soon would have a miscarriage. I could have used her presence in my life so much but haven’t spoken to her since the breakup.

    She sent me a real, proper apology that alleged no guilt my way, gave no excuses, and just mostly said “I’m sorry, I miss you, and I hope you and your family are ok.” My chin hit the floor when I saw her name flash across my phone. My house filled with light when I realized immediately that I forgave her. I don’t know if we’ll ever see each other again. Truly, it was a bad breakup and I’ve moved on in a lot of ways. But it was incredible to be able to say “I forgive you” to listening ears. I think it was the first time in my life I felt the incredible power of forgiveness. Wild!

    • HH says...

      Yes! I turned 40 in March. My sister says spring brings out the wistfulness in exes and ex-pseudo-relationships and sure enough, two of these men emailed me just after my birthday. The first one was kind and considerate. I responded but did not write back when he suggested I call him any time to talk about the hard stuff we’re all facing. I broke his heart once and don’t want to do it again. The second ghosted me four years ago after we were long-distance dating for a year (a year!). And that was the second time he ghosted me! He wished me a happy birthday and said he was working from home. No mention of the pandemic or explanation for the absence of four years. Thanks, I thought, but, no thanks, I will not be responding!

    • Joy says...

      Love this story.

    • Alexandra says...

      Hali, I do hope that you get a chance to connect with or see her again. I had a similar thing happen: had a terrible falling out with my closest friend from high school. We were completely incommunicado for many years, and then I reached out, which led to a lunch date and a heartfelt apology on her part. I immediately felt no blame towards her, and was able to admit that I wasn’t the best friend to her at the time. We patched it up, and while we aren’t the super-close friends we once were, years later our families spent a lovely day together, and then she came to visit me in a foreign country and we spend this whole weekend eating and chatting and catching up on each others’ lives.

  81. Anonymous says...

    YES! Omg girl. Yes. I got a text from a man from my past who told me that he should have married me instead when he had the chance. That was validation “kind of” – I’m happily married and have a family now, so it wasn’t earthquake life shattering “let me go pack a suitcase” news…but it felt good, even for a moment, to know I wasn’t as flawed and unworthy as I felt at the time.

  82. Hillary says...

    I have followed a high school friend for years on Instagram but just last month I reached out for the first time in maybe 10 years to compliment her and connect on our shared interest in Enneagram. It didn’t rekindle our old friendship that naturally grew apart, but it brightened both of our days to have that sense of nostalgia for the wonderful friendship we had.

  83. Tara says...

    This FINE Brazilian man I dated years ago , showed up with ice cream on my front porch last week. I was taking the trash out. I WAS ON DAY 5 OF QUARANTINE HAIR. He was the first man I cared about post-divorce. He is who you date at 22 and damn it’ s good time until he gets into the hammock with some random stranger at a party. I ate that ice cream. Thanked him and haven’t spoken since.

    • LIZ says...

      THIS is the best story in the world. So glad you ate that ice cream. Also: beautiful people we dated years ago have NO business showing up on our porches. HAVE SOME DECENCY.

  84. BG says...

    This is kind of a weird flip, but my husband (whom I recently left) started dating his former janitor during the quarantine. I am beyond shocked he started dating so soon after our split (we were together 20 years, separated for four months) and that it was someone he already knew… but I’ve been consoling myself with the fact that if he hadn’t felt isolated, he might not have rushed into a new relationship so quickly. I don’t think that he and the janitor were having an affair (maybe that’s naive)– but rather believe/hope that this is one of those random couplings that comes when people are alone and freaked out and have too much time on their hands and so start reaching out to everyone/anyone that they know. True or not, thinking that is comforting me…

    • Sonia says...

      That sounds really difficult to process. I’m sorry you’re going through that right now. <3

  85. S says...

    I heard from a guy I dated for a few weeks last year. I was sad when he ended it, but he did so kindly and we parted with no hard feelings. He reached out early in quarantine in a friendly and platonic way. I let him know that I’d been chatting with a new guy and as it turns out, he knows the new guy! (and had positive things to say about him) I met both on Bumble, so I had no idea they knew each other. Before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep chatting with new guy while in quarantine, but after old guy vouched for him, I decided to stay in touch. We’ve been chatting and facetiming for 2 months now!

  86. Maire says...

    I’m on an intense letter writing campaign because it is a great way to fill the time and to support local business (cute stationery + cards) and the USPS. I have definitely reached out to a few friends who I have lost touch with due to long distance moves or life circumstances just to say hi and hopefully brighten their day!

  87. shannon says...

    I’m a therapist, and just this morning one of my former clients sent a quick email that totally made my day. We meet with people for (generally) time limited, intense, and difficult snippets of their lives. I so rarely have the chance to hear from them again after we finish formally meeting. This is to be expected and something I have learned to accept, but wow, it was such a treat to hear from this person!

  88. Deana says...

    Yes! One of my British aunts, who is 80 and never calls anyone, called me from England, even having to look up the area and country codes for my number. She was worried about me having to cope with my mother in the hospital with the virus. It now appears Mom will pull through, which I’ll be happy to report to my aunt (her sister).

  89. Megan Sanders says...

    I teach first grade (such a joyful year!) and at the end of each year, I send the kids off for the summer with a self-addressed notecard and envelope so they can write to me over the summer. A few days ago, I got one such card back from a student who was cleaning out her desk and came across the notecard. She’s going into 6th grade and sent me a funny note with questions, comments and little doodles about how things are going, and an apology for taking so long to write!

    • Joy says...

      Cute story!

  90. LP says...

    I haven’t received any blasts from the past, but I have given a lot of thought to the people that I used to see all the time, but haven’t been in touch with at all since shelter in place began. (Referring mostly to friends of close friends, whom I would see often at group gatherings but don’t hang with one-on-one.) At the risk of sounding trite, this experience has really crystallized who my friends really are and who I’ll be seeing more of when we can finally spend time together in person!

  91. Kristiana says...

    Literally 3 exes. WHY?

    • Rose says...

      You must be extremely wonderful.

    • Karyn says...

      Love this, and Rose’s response. You’re both awesome!

  92. Molly says...

    I mustered up the courage to send a LinkedIn connection request to the one-that-got-away. He doesn’t have any other social media and we’ve been out of touch for 12 years, so it was definitely very random, but he’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’m married now, so I don’t feel comfortable reaching out beyond that and having him potentially misconstrue my intentions, but it felt thrilling when he accepted the request and comforting to know he is alive and well.

  93. Calla says...

    I have not heard from anyone unexpected. However, I’ve moved a lot throughout my 20s and have had a cycle of close female friendships that sort of fizzle out because I’m bad at staying in touch long-distance. I always think about these women and mean to reach out but never do! This is a good reminder, I’m going to try to contact one a day!

    • liz says...

      I have so many beautiful friendships that have fizzled through some combo of distance and my inability to keep up with them. I hope to reach out, too. Good luck!

  94. Melissa says...

    What happened with your friend who texted the-one-that-got-away?

    • Kez says...

      I came here to ask this too! :)

    • Jasmine says...

      ME THREE!

  95. JP says...

    Going to be honest here – This “time” has just reinforced what I already believed, deep down. I need new friends.

    • Katie says...

      It has made me see some of my friendships in a new light too.

    • Julie says...

      Having very similar thoughts JP! :D

    • CR says...

      I understand the way you feel. I just reconnected with a friend who I hadn’t talked to in five years and it was easier to talk to her than any of my current friends. It was really illuminating. Best of luck!

    • DJ says...

      I’ve come to the same conclusion. Hang in there.

    • Grace says...

      You’re not alone in that – I feel it too. I’ve been more and more disappointed with my nearby friends, but I’m reconnecting with long distance friends and hoping the bonds continue.

    • Agnes says...

      Same.. I had to be quarantined for 2 weeks after being abroad and guess who brought care packages to my door? My 2 most ‘difficult’ colleagues. Guess who didn’t even CALL me, let alone offer to bring food? My best friend since age 7!!! Seriously?? We talked it out, but man.

    • B says...

      YUP! I love my lifelong friends with all my heart (our entire families have been friends since the three of us girls were six months old). They are the ones who showed up for my grandma’s funeral and held me back when something unpleasant happened during the service and I almost had words with my uncle, but we are all in vastly different stages of life. There are zero hard feelings and I cannot wait until we can see each other again, but we are also not six years old anymore. Sleepovers are a thing of the long ago past. I’m single, while they’re not. They own their homes, I live at home (which is a non-issue for them). I could go on, but it’s a changed dynamic for sure and that’s hard to grapple with.

    • Jessica says...

      Same here! I feel that way too.

  96. Csilla says...

    Um… that was weird! I read this little article and thought how there were people I’ve been thinking about and should reach out…. and LITERALLY 5 minutes later I get a facebook message from a HS boyfriend I haven’t talked to in 20+ years!

  97. Katie says...

    I’ve been having wildly vivid and salacious dreams about my ex, and have been since the start of the stay-at-home order. Not sure if that’s a cosmic sign to get in touch with him, but I’m so far resisting. Will update if I become the person reaching out to the person from the past.

    • Laura says...

      Keep us posted!

  98. Theresa says...

    One positive for me in this situation has been that I have started to reach out much more often to my grandparents, something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I am lucky enough to have 3 grandparents alive and living independently and a mixture of anxiety for their health, extra time on my end and knowing I won’t be able to see them in person for a while, gave me the push that I needed to connect a lot more regularly. I just pick up the phone whenever I feel like it, no planning on either end.

    Our conversations are often light and short and we talk about the weather, or my grandpa gives me updates on what other family members are up to, or I tell my grandma the recipe for Rice Krispie squares and she tells me what kind of flowers I should plant in my east-facing window boxes. One time my grandma and I just whistled to each other and it made my day. It’s the kind of casual, yet intimate relationship I’ve always wanted with them and I am extremely grateful for that.

    Thanks for the lovely article Caroline, and to the entire Cup of Jo team!

    • Ellen says...

      This is so sweet!

    • Courtney Tait says...

      This is so sweet.

  99. Paige says...

    This just happened to me! An ex boyfriend of mine reached out to see if I would “give [him] another chance.” It was unexpected considering we haven’t see each other or spoken in about eighteen months. My favorite part was he sent the initial message on April Fools Day. I immediately took a screen shot and sent it to my best friend asking if this was a joke. We laughed about how he could not have sent that on a worse day but I ultimately decided to respond because it was secretly comforting to hear from him during this unfamiliar time.

  100. My ex and this guy who I thought was probably crazy, reached out to me the week of my birthday in April. Mostly cause when COVID hit, I unblocked them in a moment of weakness. Can’t say either was a positive exchange, so they are again blocked, this time forever. The internet tells me that Venus is now in retrograde which means we may hear from old friends or exes, although I suppose that doesn’t explain why I got this barrage a month earlier. But yeah, everyone is making sure everyone else is alive… and for us single, non-cohabitating folks, maybe looking for a little connection.

  101. Anne says...

    Unfortunately, no. Hahaha.

  102. Lynn says...

    My best friend from 8th grade reached out to me because she was cleaning out her closet. And there she found a stack of letters from me that i wrote to her in HS; since she moved away. She read one letter, that moved her so much that she managed to find me. The letter was befitting for the pandemic currently however was meant for her 9th grade soul after a crush rejected her. “Dorothy, you are the best thing ever. Don’t let anything tell you you aren’t.” She called me, and we talked for an hour! We are almost 40 and haven’t talked for ages!!!

    • cilla says...

      o gosh, such a nice story. i hope you will stay in touch

  103. Taylor says...

    I suspect that I have been the random reacher-outer! I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first child–I’m the first of my entire friend group to get married/have kids, first of my generation in my family to have kids, and I just don’t have anybody outside of my own mother and google to ask “is this normal?” about literally every random weird thing that freaks me out during pregnancy. My friends were and are wonderful, but there’s only so many times I can text them about my anxieties and receive “I’m sure you’re fine!” I’m not sure! That’s why I’ve texted you about my weird nipple six times!

    So….I’ve definitely reached out to friends from high school I haven’t spoken to in 12-14 years in situations where we already follow each other on instagram and they have babies! I’m also moving back to the state I grew up in, where a lot of these women live, and I am genuinely hoping I reconnect with some of them–isolation in pregnancy has made it glaringly obvious the power of having “mom friends.” Especially as I get closer to her due date, I’m glad I did the awkward thing and have new/renewed friendships for when I am trying to breastfeed at night or am baffled by the poop situation coming my way!

    • Emily says...

      I have a three year old and would love to part of your girl gang! Momming is so hard–we have to stick together! I am hoping to have another in the (not too distant future). We should start a COJ facebook group but moderate it from bullies

  104. C says...

    I heard from a high school/college boyfriend who texted that he hoped me and my family were well…we dated 10 years ago and I would have been surprised to hear from him except he called me on Christmas Eve this year while I was in the grocery store with my sister, to tell me that he had just driven past my parents on the interstate (they were on their way to stay with me). When they got to my house a few hours later, I asked how their drive was, and they told me that it was uneventful except one car kept speeding up and slowing down to keep up with them for a while, and it was making them nervous because the driver kept staring at them…I told them who it was and they got a big kick out of it, they thought someone was maybe going to follow them and try to rob them!
    I chose to let the quarantine well-wishes text go unanswered…some things (people) are better left in high school!

    • SL says...

      This gave me a giggle. :)

  105. jane says...

    I reached out to an old housemate – zero romantic interest on either of our parts – who now lives in my area. We had a meet cute reunion while hiking the same trail – decades had passed so it was pretty wild. We exchanged numbers then a couple years passed so I texted him out of the blue, because I always think it is ok to try and befriend men – even though they nearly always misunderstand, and we had a nice chat ending with him letting me know he was seeing someone so wasn’t interested in opening up a connection. Ouch. I explained I just wanted a bit of socializing – not romance, (which is true in his case, and frankly he should have known based on our previous life). Anyway, we ended on a friendly note and hopefully he’ll reconsider socializing in the future once things open up. I tried ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  106. LK says...

    Different, but I’ve taken a workout class with some people for years now and somehow we’ve never talked. Now that our teacher has started Zoom workouts again, I know their names finally and can say hi! It feels good to see them again.

  107. Shannon says...

    Caroline, I love your writing and this particular piece felt reminiscent of a Sex and the City closing by Carrie and I AM HERE FOR IT. <3

    • Ramya says...

      I had the same thought!

    • Allyn says...

      Same!!

  108. Meghan says...

    I would love to connect with the people from my cycling class. They are my no-so-strangers turned athletic acquaintances (friends?) but I don’t know their names! I haven’t heard from any exes – phew! I have reached out to some friends from uni I haven’t spoken to in years. Lovely writing and thoughts, as always, Caroline!

  109. Steph says...

    I found my best friend from 8th grade on Instagram. We’d been super close and had some crazy adventures together before I moved away. We lost touch. I reached out and she replied back. We haven’t seen each other in over 30 years, and now live in different countries, but I’m hoping we can meet up at some point in the future.

  110. Amanda says...

    A month ago I got a text from one of my best friends from college checking in on me. We realized that we have been living in the same city for two years without knowing it. We would love to see each other, but with social distancing, it will likely be many more months until we are able.

  111. Carlene says...

    I wish!

  112. Christina says...

    Oh my gosh I love this post so much. I will definitely be back tonight to read the many amazing comments left by your readers! Unfortuantly, no one surprising has reached out to me… I would love that! I suppose I could reach out instead.

    • Calla says...

      I was thinking the same thing!

  113. LN says...

    I did this the other day! Apparently etched in my brain forever is the birthdate of a childhood crush. I knew that he worked for the same large company as me, so I sent him a happy birthday email. A short and sweet email from me and response from him, but it was fun to get to hear from someone that I’ve known for almost thirty years but haven’t seen for almost ten! I hope it made his day that someone outside of his current family and friends was thinking of him.