Two years into the pandemic, during which many have adapted their lifestyle and withdrawn themselves, we were wondering how this might have affected personal relationships, and checked with the IKM long-term community “Times of Corona”.
No loss of close friends
The good news is that friends have not been lost over time. People stayed in touch via phone, zoom, skype.
“I am trying to keep friendships going as well as I can (personally, virtually, etc.)”
”Not willing to give up any friendship”
“Talk to important people regularly / have personal contact on a regular basis“
Neglected but not lost
Still there are many relationships that have been neglected over the past year. Some report about having barely socialized with friends. Those who have been rather scared, and therefore withdrawn themselves, are often respected for their decision. More distant relationships from the past have been put on ice and are hardly missed.
“I am glad I didn’t have any obligation to attend anymore / no social obligation / can enjoy more freedom”
“Everything on the side like celebrations, meetings, basically everything that requires my attendance, I don’t miss at all. I feel more free if I don’t always have to or must“
Nevertheless, there are groups of people who have been neglected.
- Friends who did not accept the contact limitations and got angry
- Parents and older family members who have not been visited as frequently anymore due to fear of spreading the virus
- Colleagues and friends living further away could not be visited due to contact, and travel limits, and thus felt cut off
Many report that some relationships have become even more intense during the pandemic. Friends that live close by, some neighbors, and family members have became more important, often even being some kind of a support group. Close friendships have been nurtured and intensified, as most focused on a few key contacts. Some even grew closer to their colleagues despite home office, needing to support each other in these difficult times.
“We are all in the same boat and the feeling of belonging together grew immensely“
Some even made new friends. Neighbours connected more often. People seem to look out for each other and showed increased awareness and readiness to support.
“Now, during my quarantine, I am even surprised how much help I am being offered from everyone. Even my boss offered to help if I needed anything“
However, this positive social connection seems to decline with the continuing social division of our society.
“On the onset of the pandemic one felt that it let to stronger social cohesion, yet, by now, I feel a clear division (vaccination discussion) and loneliness because of the distance”
After weeks of “light” lockdown, Germany went into a full lockdown in December 2020. That day, IKM started a long-term online community to observe changes in behavior, compliance, emotions, and observations of consumers in their close environment.
Stay tuned – We will consistently post findings from this standing consumer community.