In brief

In this blog, Oli Barrett shares his personal reflections on relationships that have gone untended as we did what we needed to to get through the dark days of the pandemic. And he reminds us that it’s not too late to reconnect with those who make us feel most alive. 

Oli Barrett

Oli Barrett

Oli Barrett is a serial co-founder who has helped to start numerous ventures including Volunteer It Yourself, StartUp Britain, Tenner, and the Turn On The Subtitles campaign.
You can find out more about what Oli’s created here and follow him on Twitter here.

In 2020, relationships around the world were put on hold.

Friendships, acquaintances and business connections were frozen.

We couldn’t meet, we didn’t speak, we didn’t exchange.

It was a bizarre and unsettling time and yet this great disconnection came wrapped in a sense of understanding. That it was difficult to keep in touch. That everyone was fighting their own battle. That spring would return.

In 2021 I have sensed a darker shadow. There have been times when I have wondered if many of those relationships would return at all. When the silence lasted too long. When my (and their) messages went unanswered. Because the world has changed, and perhaps so have they. Or so have I.

That’s why I’ve been thinking about the nature of relationships.

Are they carved, like marble, in a way which could last for hundreds of years, only needing the dust to be blown away, to return to their former glory?

Or are they like all living things, which without care will die?

Perhaps it depends on their depth in the first place. The idea that the strength of a friendship or business relationship depends on how it is forged.

It is this idea that, all around us, relationships have died, which saddens me the most.

Twice recently I have been called out, both times by dear friends, for not replying to them. In both cases I was completely gutted. And I wonder how many other messages have gone unanswered, all around the world.

I refuse to believe that these special connections die. Perhaps instead they are also part of the circle of things.

Like the seeds or the acorns which have fallen from the trees, they can and will be reborn. But like those seeds, it will take time, and the right conditions.

Whatever you believe about the nature of relationships, I hope that you will not give up on the people you most appreciated.

Rumi said “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

I choose to believe that the people who made us feel the most alive before the pandemic are waiting to meet us. Wherever and whenever that may be.