Back in elementary school, friendship bracelets were the ultimate symbol of being best friends for some and simple fashion statements for others. In my school, it was a mixture.
In fifth grade, everyone wanted a friendship bracelet, and I was the one person making them, so I made bracelets every day after homework for the next day of school.
But then, the interest in friendship bracelets stopped all of a sudden.
It was like someone had flipped a switch and friendship bracelets weren't cool anymore.
Friendship bracelets were ultimately a symbol of closeness and solidarity. To our elementary school selves, that usually meant who we sat with at lunch or maybe the cute classmate we had a crush on.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it means checking in with one another over text or dropping off groceries at an immunocompromised friend's house.
When we can't be there with each other physically, friendship bracelets are a stark reminder that we still care.
Managing any kind of relationship right now is hard, whether it's romantic or platonic. When you can't go on outings or out to dinner, it's hard to find ways to express that same level of solidarity that you did before.
Making friendship bracelets was an easy way I found to do just that.
Fall semesters are kicking off and anxiety levels are high. I live in a college town so there's a lot of fear of the potential for a huge increase in COVID-19 cases.
As some of my high school friends are preparing to leave for the semester, I struggled with how to show them I'm still here for them with all this uncertainty.
Mailing them friendship bracelets was cheap, easy, and affirmative.
Making sure I wasn't breaking the bank while trying to comfort my friends was critical. I am a college student after all. Sending a letter across town was a reliable, no contact way to give them a little gift (plus it helps support the USPS!).
Making the friendship bracelets didn't take a lot of time but being handmade, they carry a lot of meaning.
And, did I mention they're cute?