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Friends in the Pandemic: Will Temporary Physical Distancing in the Pandemic Result in Permanent Distance between Friends?

This past year, many people are finding friendships harder to maintain. Group chats and phone calls are just not the same as going out and having adventures, sharing delicious meals, watching movies at the theatre, or late-night chats on the couch. Texting back and arranging Zoom calls are burdensome in comparison to the effortless emotional connection and natural interaction that the in-person setting allows for.

Jordana from London says, “Everything that we would regularly do to support each other has been taken away. To not have nights out, dinners, day or weekend trips, or even be able to just sit in the same space has been hard. I don’t live close enough to have walked or exercised with them and I miss how even just being able to sit in silence with your closest friends solves things and lifts your soul.”

Studies and surveys found that people are losing touch with their friends in the pandemic and there is a mental health decline in lockdown. When the world opens up again, will we resume like nothing happened, or will we realize that we need something different in our friendships?

What is causing our friendships to change?

Nedra Glover Tawwab, a relationships expert and author of the book, Set Boundaries, Find Peace, says:

“Work, family, and personal time have become blended because they are all conducted in the same space—home. The time people spent commuting is no longer an option for talk time. People will now have to figure out new ways to fit friendship into their schedules to stay in touch.”

Nedra says that our downtime has been reduced, therefore people are forced to be more selective about which relationships to maintain—especially since downtime with friends in the pandemic calls for extra screen time, which most of us have enough of during work hours.

“This period in time is teaching us how to spend our time according to the health of the relationship. People are learning to value quality-over-quantity friendships.”

Why do some friendships feel more important than before?

In many cases, the shared traumatic experience has brought many of us closer; we check in more frequently, and we celebrate each other’s small wins. A study in 2020 by Snap Inc showed that 41% of British citizens say their friendships are more important now, and 47% said that their online conversations with friends in the pandemic are a lot deeper than before. The distance we have had over the past year allowed for reflection; who do you actually miss? Maybe it was meant to be that we lost touch with some of our friends in the pandemic.

Will our friendships be changed long-term?

This transformative time will cause a shift in what we find important in a friend; friendships are likely to become more meaningful. This experience has caused us to question our core values and some of us were able to witness a different side of our friends in the pandemic that may or may not have given us a reason to lose touch.

Pre-pandemic, many of us were addicted to digital communication, but now that the pandemic has made it the sole form of communication, digital fatigue comes into play and we may develop a greater appreciation for the in-person interactions we have with our friends.


For more information about this article, visit the source content at the Metro UK website.


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