The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant social and psychological effects on the population. Research has highlighted the impact on the well-being of the most exposed and active groups, including college students, children and health workers, who are more likely to develop post-traumatic anxiety, depression, stress disorder and several other symptoms of distress.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to prolonged exposure to stress. Consequently, researchers showed an increased interest in measuring social and community uneasiness to support the population psychologically. This growing attention might help in managing the current situation and other possible epidemics and pandemics.
According to the social role invested, the security measures adopted in managing the pandemic had different consequences on individuals. Few sections of the population seem to be more exposed to the risk of anxious, depressive, and post-traumatic symptoms because they are more sensitive to stress.
Getting Back to Life
This pandemic has affected and influenced every facet of our lives, including our circle of friends. In the era before-COVID-19, many people had organized their social lives meeting people in locations for activities.
Office Colleagues might get together for a drink after work, and parents might schedule visits to the park so that the kids could play while the parents hung out. Old friends would meet for dinner, and couples would go out to hear music.
Few people responded to COVID-19 by reducing their social engagements ultimately. The interactions they had with their colleagues and friends were replaced with binge-watching streaming television, exercise at home etc.
Other people used technology to find the companionship they would otherwise have gotten in person. Social media allowed people to reach back out to old friends to revive relationships from the past. Video chats and even old-school phone calls made geography less critical for social engagement.
As we start to remerge into the world, what are our social interactions going to look like? Here are a few possibilities:
The Happiness of Small Gatherings
From watching TV, one might feel that the best social meetings are enormous. Whether it is an over-crowded party with loud music in someone’s apartment or a gala fundraiser, it is easy to get a sense that bigger is better.
With pandemics, though, we have found ways to connect with small numbers of people. Phone calls, walking out with friends, and small socially distanced dinners have revived the joy of conversations.
As we are trying to move into the new normal, these small gatherings are likely to stay. Getting together with just a small group of people is safer than attending large conferences for now. Plus, it is nice to be able to hear the people you’re talking to rather than shouting over the din to be heard.
Time for More Planning and Less Spontaneity
Our social interactions post-pandemic is also likely to be much more planned and scheduled than the ones we had before. Pre-COVID-19, we could get together with a group, meet somewhere, and then find a place to spend time.
But now, there are likely to be few limitations on the occupancy of all kinds of commercial establishments for some time to come.
Consequently, it will be tougher to make on the spot changes in plans, and it might even get challenging to add more people to an existing plan. Consequently, one has to spend more time planning, and the substitute for planning is to do more activities centred around someone’s home.
Embracing Live Events Again
Then, there is the matter of live events—theatre, concerts, sporting events, and festivals. One set of friendships that suffered are ones that were organized around activities that ground to a halt.
Movie theatre and live shows have not returned in full force yet. Concerts are still rare; Sporting events have been held with limited-capacity seating in the crowd, though that seems about to change. And there is a lot of discussion about restarting outdoor festivals of different kinds.
You’ll have to gauge your interest in returning to each of these kinds of events and then reach out to your friends and see where they are leaning.
You may find that the friends you usually attended events with may take some time to get equally comfortable at returning to these activities. In the meantime, sharing news related to your mutual interest is an excellent way to keep up the relationship.