The pandemic has influenced every facet of our lives including our circle of friends. In the before-COVID-19 era, most people had social lives organized around meeting people in locations for activities. Colleagues might get together for a drink after work. Parents might organize visits to the park so that the kids could play while the parents hung out. Old friends would meet for dinner. Couples would go out to hear music.
When the lockdown started, a lot less happened in person. Colleagues weren’t seeing each other at work, and Zoom happy hours were often joyless attempts at camaraderie. Movies, dinner, drinks, live music, and other activities were no longer options.
Some people responded to COVID-19 by reducing their social engagements altogether. For them, the in-person interactions they had with friends and colleagues were replaced with exercise at home, binge-watching streaming television, and hobbies. 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 important for social engagement.