How a Cheap, Goofy Gift Idea Helped Me Reconnect with My Friends

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During COVID-19, missing my friends and family has almost become a hobby on its own. Since 2012, I’ve been lucky enough to be part of an all-women bowling team, typically the only all-women team in our league. Over the last eight years, these women have become some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Each member is uniquely intelligent, compassionate, and a leader in their chosen field — a real intimidating crew. We have grown together from our 20s into our 30s, through breakups and engagements, surgeries and unemployment, and all the little things in between.

No matter how tumultuous life would get, I could always count on one thing consistently — our Tuesday-night games. Knowing I would get to see these ladies every week without fail made my days so much brighter, ensuring I always had something to look forward to. During the pandemic, we have continued to meet weekly for video chats, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.

Better Than Your Regular Gift Idea

I was missing my team even more than usual when I had an idea. I had seen some goofy adult coloring books online for under $10. It struck me how easily I could send them all a cheap gift just to brighten their days and let them know I was thinking about them.

As I ordered the coloring books, I noticed they would arrive on different days. Hatching a silly little plan, I decided to strategically include one for myself. Sure enough, when the first one of us received it a couple days later, she sent a photo to our group chat saying she anonymously received the coloring book and asking if one of us had sent it. One by one, each member added to the confusion with her own picture and inquest, including me. (I had to throw them off the scent, after all.)

After about two days of laughing every time I would receive a confused and bemused text about the coloring book, I finally came clean. As far as mysteries go, this one was pretty low stakes. But I’d like to think I gave them all (in addition to the coloring book), a good distraction, as well as a hearty laugh, at my gesture-turned-prank.

While we may be separated from some of our greatest support systems during a time when we need them the most, we can use this as an opportunity for some creativity. There are many ways we can still connect, even if we can’t be together in person. Even as I write this, I am being bombarded with texts from my bowling girls in our group chat proclaiming our undying love. Let it be known, nothing in this world, not even a virus, is stronger than female friendship.

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