Roar: The Podcast | Episode 8: Friendships (and communication)


Roar: The Podcast | Episode 8

Welcome back to Roar: The Podcast! In this episode, seniors Zianna Razon and Bea Augustin discuss their friendship and how it has been affected by the pandemic.

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  • Zianna Razon, senior at Santa Clara High School 
  • Bea Augustin, senior at Santa Clara High School

Edited by Melina Kritikopoulos


Melina: Hello everyone and welcome to Roar: The Podcast, a student-run podcast hosted by members of Santa Clara High School’s very own The Roar staff.

Zianna: Hello everyone and welcome to Santa Clara High School’s Roar: The Podcast. I’m Zianna, and I’m a Roar staffer.

Bea: I’m Bea, and I’m a senior at SCHS.

Zianna: Bea and I have been friends since freshman year and have consistently hung out with each other in and outside of school. We’re pretty much what you call best friends. However, like all students during this pandemic, COVID-19 has greatly limited how often we see each other in person. In this podcast, we are going to explore how friendships are changed during a pandemic by reflecting on our own experience. For context, Bea, do want to talk about what kind of friendship we are and when we started being friends?

Bea: Yeah, so we met when we were pretty young in this outside organization, but we started becoming friends our freshman year of high school around December. It honestly escalated into kinda like a best-friendship pretty quickly, I think. When we started talking – it’s when we had a sleepover – we got to know a lot about each other then. Then we just talked a lot and then became really close.

Zianna: Yeah, I would say that at first I was pretty nervous around Bea. But then over the years, I’ve gotten much more comfortable, and we’ve opened up to each other about a lot of things so we have a very deep understanding and connection.

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: I would say we’re very, very close friends.

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: Yeah, we do hang out a lot. We FaceTime a lot, we hang out safely when we can during this pandemic, and then before, of course, COVID-19 came around, we would hang out a lot, like almost every day at school. Sometimes we’d have sleepovers, and we’d hang out outside of school pretty often for school-related activities.

Bea: Yeah, for school-related stuff.

Zianna: Like homecoming and BOTC. But we’re going to talk about how things have changed ever since this pandemic started and how it’s affected us.

Bea: Going back to how pre-pandemic – before everything – we wouldn’t hang out really just to hang out. We would only hang out outside of school for school-related things, and I think when the pandemic started – obviously, every time we’ve hung out safely – of course, it hasn’t been for school-related things. It was really just to catch up and talk to each other, so that’s something that’s different. Definitely, yeah.

Zianna: Yeah, for sure. I kind of credit us not hanging out outside of school-related things before the pandemic to strict parents, and neither of us had a license so…

Bea: Oh, true.

Zianna: We didn’t have many opportunities to hang out either.

Bea: That’s true, yeah.

Zianna: With this pandemic, we miss each other more because we don’t see each other at school, so we’re trying to find any excuse or any available time to hang out with each other.

Bea: I would say that we definitely FaceTime and call more. Obviously, we FaceTime and call more, but I think something that’s unique during this time and that’s changed in our friendship is that we both acknowledge that there’s a lot going on with school and mental health and acknowledging that and creating space for each other. We’ve been doing that pretty much throughout this pandemic, and there were periods of time where I wouldn’t answer her calls because I was just going through it, just communicating like, “Hey, like, I’m actually not feeling it.” That changed.

Zianna: I should tell you guys this now, but one of our main intentions in making this podcast and talking about how our friendship dynamic has changed during COVID-19 is to kind of provide some advice or guidance and tips in staying close with your friends during these times. What Bea was saying (about) how everyone feels a little under-motivated to reach out to their friends. Sometimes we’re just not feeling it, and it’s a really lonely time. Sometimes our brains just don’t want to use that social energy to hang out. It’s hard to describe. But it’s also important to know that’s very valid if you’re just feeling too tired to talk to people because I know with in-person learning and before the pandemic, you’d kind of be forced and be used to communicating with a lot of people every day. But now we’re kind of just locked in our rooms just barricaded by these four walls, and we’re not forced to talk to all these people anymore. It’s a pretty drastic change, and you’re probably used to not having to go the extra step to talk to someone because usually you just run into them and it’s a normal conversation. That’s definitely reflected with Bea and I because… well, I wouldn’t say I would feel awkward calling her and reaching out to hang out with her because we’re very close with each other, but definitely with my other friends that I’m not as close to, I kind of feel a little awkward reaching out when usually we don’t really text. We just talk to each other when we can, like at a sports practice or at school. I really think that’s something to adjust to: normalizing reaching out to friends more often online.

Bea: I feel like before this pandemic, we were so used to social settings and environments and being put in that kind of situation compared to now being isolated for so long, your social battery is a little different. It’s totally okay, like what she (Zianna) was saying. It’s really valid to be like, “I need a moment to myself. I just want to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ all night and not talk to anyone.” Oh, something, though, I feel is important to talk about, too, is that, during this pandemic, I think once you really realize everyone’s going through it, I think it’s a little harder to reach out to people because you don’t want to feel like a burden. That was something that I was kind of going through too with my friendships with a lot of people. It wasn’t only the fact that I just wasn’t… I didn’t have the emotional energy to have a conversation with people or with Zianna. It was just that I didn’t want to bring that out of her. I didn’t want to drain her if she wasn’t ready for it, so that’s different. Also, you don’t really think about that, obviously, before the pandemic.

Zianna: Aww, no!

Bea: There’s a different level of, I guess, consideration for what people are going through because it’s a really hard time.

Zianna: Yeah.

Bea: But you know, communication is key, so you just got to tell people how you feel and sort that out.

Zianna: Oh Bea, you’re never a burden to me. It’s never a burden to talk to you. It’s like lifting a burden to talk to you when we can, like every other day. I really love it, and I think that’s something that everyone deserves during this time: to have someone to talk to. This is a time when we’re having a lot of problems. It’s a depressing time, it’s really sad, and having someone to talk to about it and complaining and validating each other’s feelings helps so much. I can’t emphasize this enough. This is something that has been helping my mental health and making me stay happy during this pandemic as well.

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: There was something I did want to talk about as well, which is kind of like the components of keeping up a good friendship since we’ve been friends for so long. We can kind of go over some of our little tips. First, let’s talk about conversations, both face-to-face and online.

Bea: Okay, so face-to-face before the pandemic, right?

Zianna: Yeah, or how to build a good friendship and keep a good friendship through those things.

Bea: Interesting. Oh, I mean, obviously, things can’t feel forced, right? It’s really just like a natural thing with someone. You have love for this person, and you’re present in conversation. I feel like that’s really important. Oh my gosh, something that I was… Speaking of being present in conversations, me and Zianna were FaceTiming or Zooming one time, and she was talking to me about something, and then she wrapped it up super quickly. I was like, was it because my head was down? I’m so sorry. I was listening to you; you can keep going. So being engaged and like letting someone know, “Hey, I’m here for you. I’m talking to you, and I want to be doing this.” That’s really important. That’s what I personally value too: someone really being present with me when I’m talking to them and hanging out with them. That’s a big thing, at least that I see in me and Zianna’s friendship.

Zianna: Absolutely, that’s the key to a fruitful conversation; you have to really listen to the other person and show that you’re listening. I remember Bea and I did this… Do you remember last year in history, or on the first days of school in Ms. Liao’s class? Ms. Liao was giving us a lesson about why it’s important to show that you’re listening during a conversation. We did this practice where one of us would be talking to the other person and the other person would act really uninterested and look at their phone and not focus on the conversation at all. What people noticed was that the person who was talking was kind of trailing off. They weren’t feeling listened to; they weren’t feeling enthusiastic. Lesson is: you have to show that you’re listening and obviously be listening to have a great and bonding conversation that strengthens friendships.

Bea: Exactly.

Zianna: And that applies in person and online.

Bea: Yeah, definitely.

Zianna: Especially online. You guys have got to be engaged. If you just want to call because you’re doing homework and you’re both busy, that’s cool, too. Just make sure you communicate that.

Bea: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say too. Our friendship has been strong throughout the pandemic, specifically, calling for random things and for company. Me and Zianna sometimes watch Netflix together when we’re on Zoom, like “Gossip Girl” and stuff. Having those cute hangouts is really helpful.

Zianna: Yeah. In terms of enjoying each other’s company, I think one really important thing to think about when you’re wanting to keep your friends close and keep specific friends close during a time like this because – take it from us – it’s pretty hard to keep up multiple friendships during this pandemic because you’re not seeing everyone every day, and it’s a lot of work to reach out to people. I would say that you want to spend your social energy battery on people that you really, truly enjoy the company of, like people that make you feel happy and that feel fulfilling to communicate with. You don’t want to waste your time on someone who doesn’t really want to spend time with you, or has a bad influence, or feels like a toxic friendship where you feel drained. Especially during a time like this when we’re feeling drained already. You don’t want to hold a draining friendship with you. You want to be with people that make you happy.

Bea: Period. Exactly. I meant exactly.

Zianna: So, Bea, I have a question for you.

Bea: What’s the question? I have an answer.

Zianna: The question is, do you feel like this pandemic has been testing the strength of friendships?

Bea: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, in general, or you and me?

Zianna: You can start with you and me and then expand it, if you want.

Bea: Yeah, definitely. This pandemic did serve as a test for our friendship strength, I feel like ‘cause it’s really easy to detach from someone, I guess, naturally, when you’re both going through things. I think an obstacle that we crossed together was just going through it together, you know what I mean? We didn’t necessarily share each other’s hardships or things that we were going through. I think we just were there for each other and validated each other, and that was really important. Also, the disconnection. Not being able to see each other physically, or being in an environment where we see each other every day like school. That can throw a lot of friendships off, obviously, because you’re not getting that time with people. It’s more like your friendship turns into kind of a voluntary thing that you have to carry now, right? Since you’re not in school, and you don’t see each other every day, it’s like, “Oh, I have to call her. I have to text her. Something has to happen.” Both of us have to make the move. Not only do both of them have to make the move, equal effort has to be contributed. So yeah, there’s a lot of different ways that friendships can fall off during the pandemic. It is a test, absolutely. A test for a lot of friendships.

Zianna: Yeah, but you know what? Through hardship comes fruition because that fruit is like a very strong and everlasting friendship. If your friendship can survive a year-long pandemic, or you’re able to bloom a friendship, or revive a friendship, that shows so much strength in how much you guys care for one another and are able to be friends.

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: I have so much more faith that Bea and I are going to be friends until the day we die because of our experiences during this pandemic. It’s been hard to stay close for some people. I feel like it’s a little more natural for Bea and I. I haven’t felt disconnect from her at all.

Bea: Yeah, I agree.

Zianna: We definitely have gotten closer, and through this year – it’s our senior year – we’ve been maturing together. This whole time, I feel like we’ve gotten to know each other and (grew) our friendship much more during this pandemic, as well, through these FaceTime calls and everything. I really want to emphasize to everyone listening, that yes, it is hard. My advice to you is to reach out to the people that really matter to you, that you enjoy spending your time with. Put in that effort. And if they’re a good friend to you, as well, they’ll put that effort back. The outcome of this pandemic, on top of everything bad that has happened, you will at least have a good friend that you can count on and that you’ve experienced these hard times with. I hope that advice is helpful to you guys.

Bea: I think, though, the last things that I want to say and the advice that I would give is: communicate anything and everything. People aren’t mind readers, no matter how long you’ve been in a relationship or a friendship with them. Have discussions with people. Have those tough conversations with people, whatever it is, even if they’re uncomfortable. If it’s important to you, then do it. I was gonna say another thing. For those who are struggling with friendships right now and don’t really have anyone to lean on: I’m super proud of you, and maybe you could try the route of building a relationship with yourself. I think that’s something that’s really important too, throughout this pandemic, is building a friendship and a really loving and nurturing relationship with yourself to the point where you don’t really need anyone’s company that much.

Zianna: Yeah, that’s power to you, as well. I think this time alone has made both of us stronger people as well.

Bea: Absolutely.

Zianna: Personally, I’ve really loved all this time to think to myself, think about what I want in life, and learn to love and care for myself a lot more. I definitely agree with what you said about communication. That is so key. Bea and I have never had an actual real fight. Ever. I don’t think that’s ever happened. No, high school drama like she told her this and I said this.

Bea: Oh my God, we never did have that.

Zianna: That’s because we communicated! I’ve seen other drama outbursts with trios or duos or friend groups, but Bea and I have never had that because we’ve always been so crystal clear with each other.

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: If we ever have a problem, we talk to each other about it. Feeling this loneliness and lack of motivation to reach out to people during this pandemic is a problem worth communicating to your friends. You can approach them and be like, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t talked to you a bunch recently and I haven’t reached out.” You can explain, “Oh, I haven’t been feeling very motivated, but I still treasure this friendship and I still treasure you. And if you’re up for it, I want to try reconjuring.” Is that a word? Reconjure?

Bea: Reconjuring? You’re talking about the scary movie?

Zianna: Sorry, I was trying to find the right word. But say, “I do want to try working on this friendship and getting close again.”

Bea: Yeah.

Zianna: I think the other person would really appreciate that.

Bea: Yeah, that’s a revelation coming to me now. I never even realized that we’ve never really fought. That is so crazy to me. That’s so crazy. Oh my God, this is a healthy friendship.

Zianna: I know. It’s awesome.

Bea: Wow. Communication prevents fighting and toxicity, everyone.

Zianna: That’s all it is. Yeah.

Bea: Thank you for listening to our communication podcast.

Zianna: I guess this is about communication, wasn’t it? It’s helpful advice and a huge emphasis on communication.

Bea: Plot twist.

Zianna: And then as just being softies.

Bea: I know.

Zianna: Alright, well, I think this is a really great note to leave our podcast on. We hope that you guys have had some lightbulb moments, you’ve thought of some people you want to reach out to, and you know what? I challenge you, we challenge you right now. Text them, say, “Hey,” put a little smiley face on it.

Bea: Make the first move.

Zianna: Yeah. We believe in you guys, and we’re so proud of you for making it this far during this pandemic.

Bea: I fully agree. Anyone that’s listening that knows me, I want to say thank you for listening, and I’m so proud of you. I really miss you guys so much. I want to cry just thinking about it.

Zianna: And even if you don’t know her, she’s still proud of you.

Bea: Yeah, facts. Yeah, that’s literally so rude. But yeah, I’m proud of all of you guys. Anyone that comes to our school or is listening to this: I see you.

Zianna: Yeah, thank you guys for listening, and we hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. This is B and Z, signing off.

Bea: Buh-bye.