In what ways did COVID-19 alter friendships?
Seniors long for face-to-face engagement and rekindling relationships.
Similar to a plant or any other living thing, friendships develop stronger with more care and attention, and individuals feel more connected as a result. Friendships were therefore put to the test when COVID-19 arrived, and the concept of “social distance” became the new standard.
Some relationships become stronger as a result of the pods that people created to try and reduce their exposure to the virus. Others withered away or were lost entirely after months of little to no contact. As a result, friendship’s value had to be reconciled because it’s only when something is taken away that its worth can truly be understood.
In a recent AARP study on friendships among individuals, 50 and older, over half of respondents said that since the pandemic started, fortifying bonds with friends and family has taken on a greater significance in their life.AARP.org
Spending time with others amplifies feelings, enhancing both happy and negative emotions. The limitations that came with the pandemic emphasize how critical social connection is to our ability to experience homeostasis.
These six examples show how COVID-19 has affected friendships.
#1: Reconnection has received more attention recently
People’s attitudes toward friendships have changed as a result of the pandemic. That period of time caused individuals to pause and consider the people they wanted to get in touch with after a long silence.
Did you know?
According to the results of an AARP study on friendships among persons aged 50 and older, 67 percent of those who knew someone who developed COVID-19 or died from it and 59 percent of those who didn’t know value social interactions and quality time with loved ones more.
#2: Increased usage of technology for connecting
Zoom, messaging, email, and other technological advancements have been crucial for maintaining friendships throughout the pandemic. We feel more connected to people the more we interact with them. Therefore, the boom in this type of technology.
#3: People desire face-to-face interactions
People want in-person contact despite worries about COVID transmission. In fact, the attitude towards meetings with people has generally changed, pushing people outside and out of the boundaries of virtual reality.
#4: Close pals became even more intimate
In general, the effect of COVID on friendships seems to depend on how close the friends were before the virus’s discovery in 2020. Our most intimate friendships, which typically provide us with the most support, tend to grow stronger in times of more vulnerability and adversity, which is why they did so during COVID.
On the other hand, sporadic relationships that were frequently formed through chance encounters in public places or at social gatherings have taken a hit. Relationships with neighbors and community members have deteriorated as well. During the epidemic, people still placed a high value on maintaining and even deepening relationships with close friends and family, but they put less weight on doing the same for neighbors or other members of the community.
#5: Some people’s friendships ended because of their views on COVID-19
Friendships were strained and, in some cases, ended as a result of factors other than only the physical distance and separation brought on by COVID-19. Many people share that due to different views with respect to COVID – about vaccinations in particular – they started avoiding people who were too judgmental or angry in their opinion as this brought less joy in sharing the presence.
#6: Male friendships took a hit
Because men are often less comfortable expressing their emotions than women, friendships between men have occasionally changed.
Despite the fact that we have been repeatedly told that we only need one person to complete us, this isn’t always the case. To feel complete, our community must be as a whole.
Also, it is imperative to try and be as communicative as possible without making yourself uneasy. Challenge yourself, without extreme force, to reach the next level in your communication.