The Destiny’s Child group chat reunion is a good reminder to check in with your friends

Michelle Williams shared never-before-heard audio clips of a phone call with her fellow Destiny’s Child members, and it’s reminding us about the importance of checking in with our friends.

In the clips, shared to Williams’ Instagram Wednesday to promote her memoir “Checking In: How Getting Real about Depression Saved My Life—and Can Save Yours,” she catches up with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland to talk about mental health. 

“Look who checked in yesterday with me!!” Williams captioned one of the clips. “The only time we’ll let y’all eavesdrop on our group chats!!”

In one clip, Rowland chimed in on the idea of checking in, saying, “You have to allow yourself to hold a safe place in a safe space for all friendships to be able to check in.”

She continued, “It’s a blessing to be able to have that. When it’s your person, it’s nothing that they’ll judge you for. It’s nothing you can’t tell them, and I think that that’s the greatest thing Destiny’s Child has ever given me, is my gift of friendship for you ladies.”

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Healthy friendships and social connection are important and can have a positive impact on your mental health and well-being, experts say.

“Connecting with others can help lower stress and foster a sense of meaning and purpose,” says David Harari, a psychiatrist and director of behavioral health at K Health. “Research also shows that social connection is associated with increased happiness, improved health and longevity.”

Checking in ‘shows that you care’

And just like the Destiny’s Child phone call reunion demonstrated, part of building close friendships is taking time to check in.

“Checking in with friends, through good times or bad, shows that you care and are there for support, something we could all benefit from in an increasingly changing world,” Harari says. 

Destiny's Child with Grammys at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 27, 2002. (Photo: DAN MACMEDAN, USA TODAY)

The Mayo Clinic suggests making an effort to see friends regularly and to check in with them in between meet-ups.

Staying connected can be an important part of maintaining mental health no matter your age. Sierra Filucci, editorial director of child advocacy group Common Sense Media, told USA TODAY in March 2020 that young people also benefit from check-ins with friends.

“Any opportunity to keep up social contact between kids is good just overall for mental health,” she said. “For younger kids, social interaction can be a very important part of education, and for older kids, social interaction is an important part of their social development.”

Michelle Williams: Destiny’s Child star ‘proudly, happily’ sought mental health treatment

In one clip, Williams also opened up about wishing she came to her friends sooner about her mental health challenges.

“It’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to tell somebody you’re not OK,” she shared. “Because honestly, I should have done that with y’all. I’ve been open about a lot of things that I never was real truthful about how I really was.”

Fans were quick to chime in with their support in the comment section.

“This is the content we love to see! Queens supporting queens!” Kalen Allen wrote.

“This was soooo powerful. I just love friendship. The sweetest. Message for all of us really,” user @capturingdestiny wrote.

Am I OK? How to do a mental health check

Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland were a ‘safe place’ for Michelle Williams

Opening up about yourself is another way to connect and build intimacy with friends.

“Being willing to disclose personal experiences and concerns shows that your friend holds a special place in your life, and deepens your connection,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

On the other end of the conversation, it’s important for the listener to be engaged and trustworthy during these talks. 

As Williams noted, her Destiny’s Child group members proved they were “safe friends (and) safe sisters,” allowing her to feel safe in disclosing her battle with depression.

Beyoncé said she feels “so honored that we are now your safe place where you can express any and everything.”

“We know that you are that for us, and you’ve always been that for us. So we’re just happy to be along this journey, and happy to witness the birth of a new chapter,” she added.

Harari says that friends are able to “listen and validate.”

“Good friends are there to accept us as we are while also gently pushing us to be a better version of ourselves,” Harari adds.

What is languishing? Alonely? A mental health glossary to explain what you’re feeling

The members of Destiny's Child, from left, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams at the Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2004. (Photo: Eric Jamison, AP)

How to make your check-in intentional

Williams also says that the pandemic has made the groups’ check-ins even more “intentional,” a theme many can relate to due to the isolation the past year has brought.

“A lack of social connectedness has very tangible effects on our health and well-being,” Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer at Humana, wrote for USA TODAY in October. “Due to COVID-19 social distancing, we are all more aware of the negative effects of social isolation.”

When striving for intentional, meaningful check-ins, Harari says “practice makes perfect.”

“The more we push ourselves to admit weaknesses or admitting to needing help, the more comfortable we become with expressing the need,” he says. 

When seeking help, Harari encourages people to clearly communicate their struggles, how the issue is affecting them and the outcome they want. For example, are you looking for emotional and verbal support? Or, would you prefer guidance?

“Many miscommunications often come when we don’t express our desired outcome, so feel free to be direct,” he advises.

Contributing: Jessica Guynn

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