FriDates: Keeping the Friendship Alive, in Sickness and Mental Health

Online Support Group

This quarantine brought about by the coronavirus pandemic forced me to confront the demons living inside me. While spending more time at home means more time with family, this also means having to fight battles alone within the four walls of the our homes. Battles that are not comfortable to share with family members as these could add to the growing wearies. Battles that are not familiar to grown-ups – and seemingly strange of a weakness to comprehend. Battles that are difficult to explain – because even I have a hard time figuring out what really is the problem.

And so many nights were spent in agony – crying in silence, feeding the anxiety, worrying about so many uncertainties. All along thinking I was alone in this endless mental battle.

If there’s one thing I’m grateful for despite the pandemic, it’s the power of technology. Despite the distance, I am still able to express my rants and frustrations to friends in our group chat. It became a platform for us to share sentiments, to affirm that we share the similar burdens these days: of adulting in this time of pandemic.

Sadly, sometimes chats are not enough to contain all the emotions that are disrupting us. So one of our Kamote Club member (as we fondly call our group), suggested a zoom meeting for everyone – to allow us to tell more detailed stories of our quarantine experience, to affirm our conditions, and to simply make each feel our physical presence despite the distance. Now, more than ever, the adage: no man is an island, finally makes sense.

FriDates with Kamote – Online Support Group


Online Dinner and Kwentuhan

One thing I like about Kamote Club is that we get to freely voice out our suggestions, without getting discriminated or unheard. The initial suggestion was just to eat dinner together – online. Back in the days when we were still able to physically report to work, we do love eating out for dinner. So to revive those days of debating where to eat, what to eat, and who should pay, we agreed to eat dinner together – and compare the food we prepared (or prepared for us by our family).

Kamote Trivia

Then another suggestion came out: to hold a Trivia Night where we get to answer fun facts and win cash prize which will be utilized as donation for our chosen recipient. It’s not that big, but enough to keep the fun and learning going. A trivia master was assigned to prepare sets of questions about a certain topic – social media fun facts, video conferencing apps, Kdrama trivia – and the rest of the group gets to answer the questions using Kahoot! or other gaming apps.

Masyadong pinaghandaan. Salamat Renz!

Faith Sharing

Finally, and what I most like about this support group session is our faith sharing. Like many of us, my faith is easily shaken, especially during trying times. So it’s kind of comforting to be able to pray together and pray for each other. We were initially tasked to choose a bible verse which we get to share with the group – no explanations needed. Words are powerful; and as these verses personally moved us, these may also provide enlightenment to our friends.

The following week, a different kind of prayer was prepared by the assigned prayer leader. And it gets amazing to see how prayers can take different forms.


Despite the faulty internet connection and apprehensions of sharing the things that were bothering us this quarantine, our first Fridate was a total success! We didn’t realize that we’ve spent almost four hours talking, sharing, and exchanging great laughs and cries together.

Fridates with Kamote didn’t solve our personal (and financial) problems, but it eased some burdens that were long caving inside us – the elephant in the room, the lion that’s slowly devouring us, and many other figures we associate with whatever is going on in our heads. It gave us an opportunity to think creative activities that can be done online and to strengthen our faith to the One above.

Somehow, our Fridates has inspired some of our friends and colleagues to initiate their own video conference with their friends. Now, more and more of us are literally excited for the weekend to come – because it’s a Fridate!


Quarantine gave us so much time for self-introspection that it gets mind-boggling at times, even causing us to get sick. But I guess if we have real people to talk to, to share our sentiments with, 2020 will pass by as quickly as it arrived.

Let’s continue staying alive this year. Let’s continue taking care of each other!

Read other Quarantine Stories here: