Has the Pandemic Changed our Friendships Forever?

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Covid-19 has placed untold strain on our friendships, but has it ruined or strengthened them?

Words by Tina Charisma


Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The pandemic has presented one of the biggest social challenges ever faced by modern friendships. It hasn’t been easy to conduct our entire social lives online. While the last 12 months would have been infinitely harder without Zoom, FaceTime and Whatsapp, they are no substitutes for being able to see loved ones IRL. Technology often gives the impression of false closeness that can lead to a lack of effort in day-to-day relationships. Then there are the riffs that have been caused by perceived flouting of the lockdown rules. Judgements have been cast and respect for others lost. The pandemic has made us feel grouchy, fearful and fed-up, all ample breeding ground for arguments and hot-headed reactions.

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Coronavirus has undoubtedly transformed our social interactions and circles, but to what extent? We have all been physically cut off from loved ones, so how has it changed the way we see our friends? According to UCL’s Covid-19 social study into wellbeing and mental health during the lockdown, 22 per cent of people reported that their friendships outside the household worsened. Younger adults were most likely to report a worsening of relationships, while older adults were least likely to report a change.

Friendships are subject to various external forces that either strengthen or chip away at their quality


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