"The most I can do for my friend is simply be their friend”- Henry David Thoreau.
The last 18 months have been full of uncertainty, stress and change but within that there has also been unexpected joy, laughter, and conversation. Everyone has a newfound understanding of loneliness and a renewed commitment to building connection. This summer we’ve seen the world open up again, and with restrictions easing lots of our Love Your Neighbour matches that ‘met’ over the phone during lockdown have had the opportunity to put a face to a voice over the phone, and spend time together in person for the first time
Each friendship formed through Love Your Neighbour is completely unique - just like the older and younger neighbours involved! Phone calls between matches throughout the pandemic have taken the place of the usual offer of a hug or a cup of tea, instead, these calls have provided solace — showing neighbours that they’re being heard, understood and aren’t alone — whilst also creating space to enjoy company and conversation over a distance.
Something that kept cropping up when chatting to older and younger neighbours on Love Your Neighbour was the feeling of not knowing ‘what to expect’ when matches finally had the chance to meet in person. It’s a completely understandable feeling — maybe you've got an idea in your head of what someone looks like that's totally wrong, or maybe you haven't met up with a new friend in a while. You might even find you've got some nerves that you'll be able to get on just as well in person as you've done over the phone!
Camilla and Pam, who’ve known one another now for almost a year and have spent over 35 hours sharing stories and laughter together, recently arranged to meet up in town. Camilla let me know how she found the experience of meeting Pam face-to-face for the first time:
“I was full of apprehension on meeting Pam which was predominantly around the logistics! What would she look like? How would I find her in a busy train station etc?
Needless to say whilst we had a slightly awkward “Pam?!?!” “Camilla!” Moment to start with!
We proceeded to negotiate Bold Street ending up in an Italian restaurant where we chatted for hours. I had just submitted my doctorate thesis which Pam had lived through (tears, tribulations, and all!) so it was definitely celebratory in more ways than just finally meeting each other! Whilst we have spoken by phone since, I'm hoping to go and see her at her house over the bank holiday weekend.”
Tennessee and Marie are another match that have been enjoying going out into town together. The pair of friends have known one another for 9 months now, and have spent 20 hours catching up together. Now they’ve ventured out into Liverpool, and have been to The Tate for tea and also taken a spontaneous ferry across the Mersey! Tennessee gave me an insight into how his friendship with Maire has blossomed and translated face to face:
"I had no expectations before talking to Marie, I just worried about breaking the ice during our first call, but a minute into the call, we were chattering away like we'd known each other for ages. We talk about everything and amazingly, we agree on everything. She's an absolute joy and her positivity is infectious. Meeting up has been an absolute pleasure and I'm so proud to be seen with her. I never think of time with her as charity, it's a real friendship."
As you can see from these joyful insights from two of our younger neighbours, each friendship is truly unique and has found their own rhythm for adapting to the easing of restrictions. Friendships on Love Your Neighbour give neighbours the opportunity to celebrate their differences as well as their similarities. It is a joy to share stories of the friendships formed through our Love Your Neighbour Programme.
If you would like to get involved and meet someone new please email Alice Taylor, our Love Your Neighbour Programme Coordinator- [email protected].
Posted by Alice Taylor on Tuesday 31st August 2021
Alice Taylor is the Love Your Neighbour coordinator for Liverpool Cares. She manages our one-to-one friendship matching programme.