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Creative ways to reconnect with your friends this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic: 2021 Refresh

The past 12 months put a pause on many friendships. But this Valentine's Day, reconnect! A relationship coach has her own recommendations.

CLEVELAND — This week, we celebrate love. But we will be missing out on one of our favorite pop-culture holidays: "Galentine's Day." Thanks to the show Parks and Rec, getting together with our girlfriends became an annual tradition. But this year, it's been hard to connect. Relationship coach, Kathy Dawson shared some expert advice about how to keep those bonds strong.

“In our culture we think about romance between two people who have a very long relationship, emotionally and physically intimate, and that's great. But romance means this -- "you matter to me" And so you can romance anybody,” Dawson says.

Nothing pairs better with wine and chocolate, than a couple of close friends. But almost a year into this separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom is getting stale and just like every relationship, our friendships could use a little spark.

“You know I always tell people take a different runway. If you're always showing someone they matter in the same way, they're going to become immune to it. So, you know, drop off a little note."

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Dawson, herself, found a few ways bond during COVID. There's always a virtual book club.

“We also discuss a whole bunch of other stuff. But it's fun! We say, how did you like the book and different characters, and it's just a different way to connect.”

She also started a bake club, asking her friends to share their favorites and dropping off a monthly treat.

“Even if you don't live across the street, you can still get in your car and drop off a surprise for someone.”

But Dawson also says this time gives us an opportunity. She recommends opening conversation to include the tough times you may be going through. To start deeper and more meaningful discussions, she recommends asking “Are you comfortable if we talk about …” and then approach the topic.