By Sarah Deiss
Friendships in lockdown have been undeniably crucial for keeping sane. No need to explain the value of friendships as the benefits can be endless but during lockdown friendships may have changed for better or for worse.
According to the Independent, relationships during lockdown (outside of the household) have struggled for 1/5th of people in Britain. Of that, younger people (under 30) may have suffered the most with their partners as 18 percent have had a break-up. Often, worsening relationships have impacted people who are of lower income, unemployed, have mental health disorders, or have disabilities. Those who suffer with anxiety or depression already may have had problems maintaining a friendship, so with more restrictions on socialising, communicating online might not cut it.
With all this chat about social bubbles and social distancing revolving around – you know what, its likely you have been more aware than ever who you are talking to, or not talking to in our new normal. It really set in that the future of communication was online when catch ups, quiz nights, meetings and lectures via Zoom were no longer a novelty. Our first lockdown days feel like a century ago, but it was only five months. Lockdown may have wrapped an anxious cover over those who live alone. That cover spread to everyone’s relationships inside and outside the house.
“I have had to make some decisions that haven’t been easy. I live with my partner and at the beginning of June I moved back down with my mum for a while. It was getting hard and I felt guilty going on the train, but I had to, for my mental health and relationship,’”says a student studying at Glasgow.
The state of the world in the political sense adds an extra layer to be aware of when talking to your friends, topics these days are limited to, American Politics, British Politics or what is opening up again soon. Remember the times before we could have a conversation without talking about the lockdown? Me either.
Though with all the bad there has to be good. At the beginning of lockdown some reconnected with friends that they have not had a proper conversation with in years. Though these conversations did not last in the long run, it is good to know that old friends are always there for a catch up – to acknowledge we are going through this and it’s a common ground. Students have expressed how their families has gotten better with technology and how to use it to communicate, a proud moment many can appreciate. Other students who have been living on their own talked about the importance of ‘how’re you doing?’ texts, getting them every couple of days from close friends and family have kept them from falling off into the deep end.
Through the various stages of lockdown answers to ‘how’re you?’ has probably changed too many times to count, having people who check up on you and who you can speak honestly with should not go under appreciated during these times. Community support across the world has increased as neighbours are relying more on each other, especially at the beginning of lockdown when people were panic buying. Support groups and chats online have gained more popularity than ever. Our growing concern for fellow humans has created an understanding for those most vulnerable and the overwhelming support for health professionals and essential workers bring people together to know there is hope in each other. Do I sound like the ads on the tele?