A little while ago I discussed the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on dating and relationships. As I said, it hasn’t been great for serial Tinderers or people in unhappy relationships but the pandemic has forced us to slow things down a little and that hasn’t been all bad either. As you all know I am a bit romance obsessed and have been through my phases of all of the above, and so its understandable that the impact of a pandemic on my love life would be a preoccupation. However, not everyone is wired the same way I am and not everyone’s main priority in life is not dying a virgin 😉
With that being said, however, no (wo)man is an island and we all need some form of human interaction, don’t we? Well, the pandemic has also turned the world of platonic relationships on its head to.
Are Coffee Friends Worth The Risk ?
I’ve never been averse to have a hierarchy of friendships. While there are a handful of people you’d drop everything for. I also believe that there are also higher grade acquaintances that you may meet once in a blue moon for coffee. Now, my COVID protocol is pretty lax compared to most people because I only really have to worry about my own health and that of my dog. So within the limits of the law, I basically live as much as my old life as possible. I’m back at the gym and I’d probably go to the hairdresser if I had the opportunity to take my new hair do out someplace. Sadly, da club isn’t open yet and we still have a booze ban so social outings are limited. The only thing acting in favour of my COVID practice is that bring a Brit, I’m pretty averse to unnecessary hugging. In. fact, I truly believe the only people you should be hugging, pandemic or no pandemic are 1) Your dog 2) Your Significant Other and 3) Perhaps your child (although, I’m sure in this day and age you need to have their written consent for that!).
Despite this somewhat chilled attitude though, I do question the value of meeting up with a mere acquaintance just for shits and giggles as we did once upon time. I do think most of us now will try to find a balance between the value of an interaction and the risk of catching COVID. It’s a little sad though.
What About Activity Friendships Though?
Moving swiftly on. It’s not only about physically meeting up though. Unless you are serial hugger, it’s not like you constantly need to be touching whoever it your meeting, so surely we should be able to maintain our friendships technologically? Yes but not but, if you ask me. Unlike a (healthy) romantic relationships which do require some physicality (sex three times a day as a minimum 😉 – Jokes!), good friendships should really be able to withstand the challenges posed by social distancing.
As someone who had moved overseas, I still have a handful of solid friendships with people over on Plague island. Sure, we don’t see each other regularly like we once did but you can still keep each other in the loop with regular Whatsapps or even just sharing Facebook memories and the like. With that being said, however, this doesn’t apply to all friendships. What about those friendships that are based around a particular activity – like the gym, running or boozing down the pub? It’s kinda sad because these friendships aren’t necessarily fickle but without that common activity (which isn’t always that easy to replicate digitally) things can easily fall to the wayside.
Finding People On Your COVID Level
#zlotybaby recently asked me if I’d met any new people since we went into lockdown. And it got me thinking. Well, seeing as networking events are out now, the chances of making new connections is somewhat limited. Saying that however, I have somehow reconnected with people from the past. Strangely, I do notice that those that I’ve connected with or existing friendships that have become stronger do seem to correlate on some level to COVID risk tolerance.
At this rate, I’m unlikely to ever go to da club again (I’ll be at least 40 by the time this is over), but even if there is some underground rave happening I have no desire to be throwing shapes with a bunch of drunkards at a super-spreader event. By the same token, I’m am not corophobic to the extent I want to hike with a mask on the whole time. It might be kinda sad to admit but especially with new friendships I think we’ll be gravitating to people on our COVID wave-length.
Are New Digital Friendships The Future?
I famously once said, I wasn’t so socially inept that I needed Tinder to make friends. But what happens if you are stuck in lockdown (government imposed or otherwise) and need/want to find new friends? Well, like all good things these days, it seems like you’ll have to do it digitally. If you put your reservations aside , I think you’ll totally find its totally possible if you are willing to put yourself out there. I’ve heard of pub quizzes, music events and book clubs happening online so I guess at least for the moment if you need to extend your social network you’ll need to do it on the world wide wide. And who knows? One day you may actually meet these new mates in person!
Is A Cull Necessarily A Bad Thing Though?
Pre-pandemic, I was in the unique position of planning a move to Plague Island (thank god, the universe worked its magic in my favour for once). Anyway, I had silently weighed up which friendships would withstand the long distance and for months prior to the pandemic focused on spending more time with these people and limiting the time I would spend with more fickle acquaintances and ‘coffee friends’. I don’t really regret my quiet little cull because the pandemic showed that I was almost 100 percent correct about the friendships that would have survived.
Regardless though, are regular friendship culls necessarily a bad thing? I’m not saying you need to be loud and proud about it (I had one friend who messaged everyone in their immediate network and openly said that if they weren’t willing to meet up in person then she saw no value in maintaining any form of friendship with them. Needless to say most people told her to do one!). But its possible to let things slip away without making a fuss. It may sound a bit little callous but perhaps the pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to reevaluate the value of our interactions, after all our time is precious and you should only be spending it on people that bring you copious amounts of joy and happiness.
Finally… Having A Puppy Helps
Human relationships are HARD, and with the platonic ones (and you aren’t even doing it for the sex). It’s understandable that we all have moments when you are over humanity in general. My only solution to this is to get yourself a slightly unfortunate looking shelter dog. I guarantee they’ll provide you with unconditional love, plenty of coro-free cuddles and they’ll defend you against any bad hombres too. What more could you ask for?
In addition to the impact that COVID-19 has on the nature of romantic relationships, its also forced some of us to rethink the friendships. It’s certainly made things tricky and made it difficult for us to have a hierarchy of friends but culls aren’t necessarily a bad thing are they. Remember it’s not any relationship with substance will be able to stand most of the challenges thrown at us by the pandemic. Even if you don’t physically meet up for months or years, there isn’t anything stopping people from checking in on each other. So use this time to reevaluate your friendships, roll with the punches and if all else fails get yourself the ultimate bestie in the form of a shelter dog.
So Rinsers…Do you think COVID-19 has changed the nature of your friendships? Have you lost friends as a result of the pandemic? Or have you managed to make new ones despite the challenges posed by social distancing regulations? Do you think you will be able to pick up where you left off with people once the pandemic is done and dusted? Or will we all be a bunch of billy no mates when we reemerge out of lockdown? Do you agree that there is a no better option than a puppy for a friend or am I just a crazy dog lady. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.