A different way to stay in touch: relationships under lockdown


By Lily Sheridan-Power, Second Year, Anthropology

The Croft Magazine// Being apart from friends and family can be difficult at any time, but coping with the extra stresses of lockdown has forced our relationships to change in unexpected ways.

Since the United Kingdom entered lockdown, various aspects of our lives have changed. For many of us, this ‘new normal’ has meant not seeing our friends and family.

As a consequence of the distance, rapid mood swings and endless boredom, I have struggled to maintain healthy relationships in lockdown. Making a phone call feels like a gruelling endurance test. I recoil at the suggestion of a zoom meeting. My reply time is nearing days. I miss my friends and family, yet find the pressure of staying in regular contact draining.

Zoom fatigue

Just to be clear, the calls I’ve had since lockdown was enforced have made me feel a million times better and I’m grateful to everyone who has checked in. However, the conversation repeatedly ends in discussing what we’ve done since lockdown started. I now loathe the innocuous question, ‘what have you been up to?’

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I haven’t mastered the art of sourdough baking; started writing a novel; learnt a new language; completed the 100 push up challenge. My days are often monotonous and repetitive, consisting of napping and binge-watching Netflix.

Now more than ever I want to be there for my friends, in a supportive and genuine way

My friends give me a sense of identity and purpose, and not being able to see them has been terrible. But given the current coronavirus outbreak, which is causing uncertainty over the future and the drastic changes to our daily routines and financial constraints, it is understandable that we don’t feel like exchanging gossip.

Now more than ever I want to be there for my friends, in a supportive and genuine way, that doesn’t involve a virtual quiz.

Try different ways to stay in touch

To let your friends know you’re thinking of them during lockdown, write them a letter or send a care package or small gift. While measures such as social distancing and self-isolating help mitigate the impact of coronavirus, they also threaten to devastate small and local businesses.

Buying art from local artists, handmade jewellery or using a flower delivery service is a win-win. It lets your friend know you miss them, while also supporting a small business.

Epigram / Lily Sheridan-Power

Similarly, organising a book exchange with your friends can help you stay connected. In these uncertain times, books can be a wonderful escape from everyday life: research has shown that reading can reduce your overall stress and anxiety.

This too shall pass

It’s important to remember boredom is a pandemic privilege. As Tory Shepherd stated: ‘This frustration will pass. Until then, think of boredom as a blessing, for the alternative is not worth considering.’

Remember that these constraints will come to an end but in the meantime, we are going to be physically closer to some and more distant from others. To get through this unprecedented time, we all need to talk, listen and care for each other.

Featured image: Epigram / Lily Sheridan-Power

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Lily Sheridan-Power

Anthropology student.