It’s been almost six months since the majority of Australians were forced to lockdown and stay home as a COVID-19 safety measure. However, now that life is slowly returning to normal, we’d argue there are many Aussies who are still not socialising the same way they were prior to COVID.
This time last year, Sydney was about to enter a gruelling four-month-long lockdown while Victoria had just finished its second – but not last – lockdown of 2021. Yes, it’s safe to say that while some countries suffered far worse, Australia still had it rather tough during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there are still COVID restrictions in various places across Australia, most have eased to the point where life almost feels how it did prior to 2020; travel is back on the cards, toilet paper is no longer in short supply at the supermarket and checking in isn’t required anymore (aside from when visiting hospitals and aged care facilities).
However, there are many things that have most likely changed forever, thanks to COVID. Many businesses – including Airbnb – are happy to let their employees continue working from home. And I’d argue many Australians have cut back on how often they see their friends.
I believe this is because COVID forced many of us to put our friendships into perspective, and now we’re acting accordingly.
For example, in my own experience, after really struggling with not seeing friends or family during the strict lockdowns, once we were ‘free’, I made sure I saw the people I missed most, as soon as I could. And now, I prioritise hanging out with those people whenever I can.
However, there are a few people who prior to COVID, I considered as ‘friends’ but have little to no desire to reach out to them and see them post-COVID; a feeling I’m sure is mutual as they haven’t reached out to me either…
And it’s not as if I don’t wish these people well. I honestly do. I just realised during the lockdowns that we never had that much in common and I’m a little fuzzy as to how or why we actually became friends in the first place.
Plus, this isn’t just my experience. Many of my close friends have confessed to me that they came to similar conclusions about other ‘friends’ of theirs during COVID, and now “can’t be bothered” to visit or stay in touch with these people (thank God, I made the cut).
Is this a tad rude? Yes. But again, I maintain that the people I and my friends no longer want to see haven’t reached out to us either. And if they did, I would then try and see them. As Suzanne Degges-White, a professor of counselling at Northern Illinois University told BBC last year,
“When there’s a friend that you haven’t kept up with during the pandemic – if you didn’t feel the need to check up on this person, and they weren’t checking in on you – then kind of believe what your gut is telling you. Not every friendship is meant to last forever. It goes both ways.”Suzanne Degges-White
Therefore, if there’s a friend – or friends, plural – you still haven’t caught up with since all Aussie lockdowns ended last year, don’t feel guilty for being a ‘flake’. After all, Flakes are delicious (sorry, that was a terrible pun – no wonder some people haven’t reached out to me since COVID…)