For some, lockdown has been a blessing in disguise.The chance to remove themselves from everyday, unnecessary interactions. Whether that’s a chat in the office kitchen, the opportunity to wind down at the end of the day instead of rushing for evening plans, not having to cosy up to sweaty strangers on the tube. Sounds like bliss doesn’t it?
But has our change in lifestyle also changed the way we interact socially? When the news of COVID began to reach the UK and murmurs of a lockdown were trickling through, we saw people rushing to the supermarket, bulk-buying supplies with no thought or care for those around them. This was the first indication of people’s self survival mode, and that we were poised and ready to look after only ourselves. As I looked around the tills going to buy my normal weekly food shop, I was disgusted at people piling up their trolleys with fresh food that they possibly couldn’t eat before it went out of date.
Over a year later, as we begin to venture out more, this sense of self-centeredness is still hanging around. I’ve started to notice that the lack of awareness of each other is still creeping through. I’m not sure if i’m the only one feeling like this, and maybe I take these small things to heart, but there seems to be an underlying selfishness that is out there right now.
When I go for a walk or run I constantly feel that i’m always the one to move out the way and walk into the road when there is a group of people walking towards me, or when we go for a drive there seems to be (even) more people who are impatient on the roads and refusing to give way. Have we become too wrapped up in our own bubbles and are completely unaware of those around us? Or maybe we just lack the patience we once had?
When restaurants and bars began to open up again we were reminded to be kind to hospitality staff who were getting back into the flow, whilst having to navigate COVID regulations. But isn’t the fact we even had to be reminded to be patient and kind really telling of our interactions towards each other? It’s easy to expect everything to go back to the way it was, but people have been in and out of work for over a year, everyone is exhausted and being thrown back into the swing of things is off-putting. The best thing to do is remember to be understanding in these moments.
It makes me wonder, will COVID have a long-term impact on the way we interact with others?
Saying this, I feel like interactions between friends have become fewer but stronger. Whether this is something that naturally comes as you start to mature, or this is an knock on effect of COVID, i’m not sure. But, it’s something i’m beginning to embrace. I’ve always had quite a close-knit group of friends, and not been one to flit between groups or people, but the past year conversations among friends have been more in-depth, valuable and have been centered around encouraging each other and celebrating achievements rather than the repetitious ‘how’s your day going?’ chat. Perhaps this is something I need to write a more in depth blog post on.
Although my recent interactions with the general public haven’t been as positive as i’d like, I know i’m missing the many uplifting stories out there of kindness and understanding, which i’d love to hear more about and discuss in more detail on here. Or perhaps you’ve had similar experiences to me and want a place to write about those too. All thoughts and feelings are welcome.