It seems strange to begin talking about a post-COVID world.
Especially as we’re very much living with the ongoing daily reality of COVID-19. Us humans, however, have a tendency to bias towards optimism, or hope, especially when it comes to our own futures. How does this play out in our relationships?
Researchers studying the early effects of the pandemic on our social relationships have found initial evidence to support a tightening of friendship circles. Ever-mindful of public health, we are skipping large group interactions in favour of smaller, more intimate settings with our inner circles.
It’s not just our close relationships that have changed, we are also having significantly fewer micro-interactions, the type we usually take for granted. It’s the conversation by the water cooler, or before the meeting, or bumping into a friend at the shops – interactions that have been replaced by a respectable 1.5m distance, if not eliminated altogether.
Expert on loneliness, Michelle Lim, believes these effects are only temporary, and unlikely to outlive the public health emergency. When we escape the stop-start, lockdown-no lockdown, mask-no mask world; Lim believes we will revert back to our natural levels of socialising. We humans also have a tendency to revert to the mean, and Lim makes a strong case, pointing to the instances of people breaking the restrictions – almost all of which to see friends and family – as potential evidence.