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The effect of this year on social relationships and community

(28 Posts)
inuet Thu 19-Nov-20 14:32:54

I realise the "official" image is of cosy communities pulling together, of children drawing rainbows and of local food delivery groups. I live in a rural village and so far have had the early 12 week period of strict restrictions, and am now weeks into a further period of similar restrictions, no social gatherings etc, which may be extended.
I used to love the place I moved to. It was warm and welcoming and I felt for the first time in my life (I moved here last year from abroad) that I belonged and was accepted. Before I say this let me make one thing clear before the coronaqueens descend. In saying this I am not suggesting there should not have been these restrictions. I am just pointing out some consequences for me. I live alone, and the social fabric of where I live has been absolutely ripped to shreds, from people twitching curtains and finger pointing in lockdown one, to people going mad from loneliness, ignoring each other, getting angry and forgetting how to interact. There are old people who used to get out and about who have as good as curled up and died, single middle aged and younger people really suffering with loneliness and this all-pervading sense of everyone retreating into themselves. There is a FB group locally and it is all just Cath Kidston -wearing Mums with their 4 by 4s going on and on about how "it is ok to feel sad" and posting drivel about how "we Weill all get through this" while congratulating themselves on how empathetic they are. My only real friend here lost their job and is moving several time zones away and I fell completely lost and adrift in life. I wondered if anyone else felt the same?

OP’s posts: |
Thousandmiles Thu 19-Nov-20 14:51:21

Oh, thank you for posting this, I am REALLY feeling this at the moment. It’s like I’ve just hit a brick wall and can’t see past it. We MUST be going to go back to normal at some point but for some reason I’ve stopped being able to envisage it.

I do think I am starting to forget how to interact; I worry out of all proportion for ages now even after the briefest small talk-type exchange with someone as I feel like I come across badly - what is that about?! I used to be quite warm and humorous (I think?! confused) but I’m becoming really self conscious and inward-looking. My pre-school age DC was shy/reserved with strangers before lockdown, let alone now. I worry about how she will relearn “normal”.

Sorry for the waffle but just to say, I get it, thanks for posting because perhaps this is a normal response for a lot of people and we’re not actually losing our minds..?

Rabbitholebonkers Thu 19-Nov-20 15:37:26

My mums area has turned into the one you describe in the OP, although hers is very affluent. It’s basically dead now with all the finger pointing etc.

I’ve got to be honest, for me, and where I live it’s been the opposite. My area is a deprived ex council estate.
2020 was the year we actually all got to know each other. No finger pointing here or anything like that. It’s been good.

RhubarbTea Thu 19-Nov-20 22:27:54

Thanks for posting this. I live in a small city so don't really know my neighbours, but in terms of wider community stuff yes people have just retreated inside their little worlds and shut everything else out. My choir has stopped - since March - but the leader has also stopped bothering to do anything online, so all the many elderly people who used to attend it have been cut adrift. Some of my friends have revealed themselves not to be friends at all, although I think that does tend to happen in any high pressure situation that exposes inherent selfishness and people's real priorities. It is hard. I'm a single late 30-something and am really lonely, even though I do have friends I love. None of them are within walking distance so lockdowns are always pretty hard although I try and just get on with work and stuff (I'm self employed).

This situation has made a lot of people mentally and emotionally shut themselves away. Even beyond what we are being asked to do by the gov. That makes it very very challenging to cope with if you don't happen to live in a big bustling family or houseshare. flowers

SaltyAF Thu 19-Nov-20 22:32:34

I don't really notice it locally as I don't have time.

Societally, though, I'm really so done with it all. There is such nastiness towards those of us who have no choice but to be out there working, taking our chances. No-one gives a shit and it's made me realise how worthless I am. This in turn has really destroyed my own compassion - I have nothing left for anyone else.

Smellbellina Thu 19-Nov-20 22:38:13

I live similar to where you describe OP but whilst there has continued to be a lot of ‘debate’ on the local FB page people really have come together. Although I am sure some people will have missed out on this through no fault of their own there has been a real drive to try and support the anyone who needs it as a community.
I wonder what it is that makes the difference? Ours isn’t a deprived area but neither is it affluent and there is a real mix of families going back generations and ‘newbies’.
I listened to a Radio 4 programme about mental health during lock down, which reported that studies suggest suicides haven’t increased and they attributed that to greater support within families/communities during lockdown, but obviously that is only an average and as this thread shows the experience within different communities is vast.

PerkingFaintly Thu 19-Nov-20 22:46:22

Like Rabbitholebonkers, my local experience has been of people coming together. I've been pleasantly surprised.

I know it can't be like this everywhere, though.

flowers

And SaltyAF, thank you for carrying on working. I really appreciate everyone who does (well, perhaps not cold call centres, but... grin). I'm extremely well aware that I'm only getting to stay safely at home because of all the people going out to work to make it happen, and want to say a big Thank You.

throwaway100000 Thu 19-Nov-20 23:16:18

I do think I am starting to forget how to interact;

I had a chat about this with my shielding friend earlier! She says she has started to stutter etc when having conversations with people nowsad as she’s had such a long gap from being social.

RuleWithAWoodenFoot Thu 19-Nov-20 23:21:06

Well, I found lockdown really social the first time around. I'm a teacher, so was in and out of school, and working on lesson videos and stuff at home, but as soon as my child started back at school, I was doing the school run.

I'd never done the school run before lockdown, and haven't done it since September. But in those couple of months I met a load of people, and have been able to facilitate lots of friendship stuff for my daughter that was missing before. We'd only been living here a year when it happened, most of which I was leaving home at 7am and getting back at 6am.

I was looking forward to seeing some of them as adult social stuff, but that obviously hasn't happened. Also work is quite shit, so I'm knackered most of the time.

Chessie678 Thu 19-Nov-20 23:21:12

I think this has brought out the worst in some people. The community speed watch team where I live has repurposed itself into a group of self appointed covid marshals who post comments about people not following their version of the rules on the village website. Few people I know are following every rule to the letter (no judgment from me as it's very difficult) but are very quick to criticise others for wearing their mask wrong, meeting as a 7, shopping at the range etc.

But that's what you get when people are scared and have been taught to see each other as a threat. We are intentionally dismantling the social connections between people and it's hardly surprising if that affects how empathetic people are. I think one of the longer lasting consequences of all this might be an even more fragmented society, particularly when the long term economic consequences become clear.

Many of my peers have quite enjoyed lockdown because they get more family time and they have been buying all their food from the local deli while their children paint rainbows. Someone even told me it was nice that they had had a chance to use their tennis court properly over the summer. I see the same attitude on here often. There's nothing wrong with it except when they use their experience to decide that lockdowns are easy and others are selfish for struggling with them. I also have a friend who had a mental breakdown because he felt so isolated - he said that it felt like his mind was falling apart and is now under the care of a psychiatrist and still off work.

How easy people find it is going to vary hugely depending on circumstances. I would probably have found it relatively easy if I hadn't had a new baby this year because I live with my husband, have a secure busy job and am fairly introverted anyway but as it is I have found it very difficult. I can also recognise that many are in a much worse position than I am.

I think there's an element of second guessing how someone else wants you to behave though. I am very happy to chat to neighbours or meet people in whatever way we're allowed to etc. but am more hesitant than usual in starting up a conversation or suggesting anything because I don't know if it will make them uncomfortable.

BogRollBOGOF Thu 19-Nov-20 23:44:46

Nov 2020 and my community is a youth group on Zoom.
The junior parkrun directors box has now begun gathering its 9th month of dust since its last use. I miss participating in the 5k parkruns too.
My DCs haven't engaged with their scouting unit since March because they can't cope with zoom.
I used to help in their school 2-3 sessions per week. Now I'm struggling to hold conversation on the school playground because I can't hear clearly or lip read through other people's masks.

I miss being a part of community. Life can be bloody lonely stuck at home hearing half calls from DH WFH all day, neither company nor genuine solitude, and realistically being the spring when there's any substantial improvement in social contact.

Parkrun have done a study investigating the effects of coronavirus measures on people's connection with community and physical activity and roughly 2/3s of participants reported negative impacts throughout both sections.

GolfMad54 Thu 19-Nov-20 23:50:52

I think this shows people how little they need others compsny, how nice it is to be anti social, how much money they can save without all this eating out, shopping, cinemas. It's showing people they need to save money, prep and plan, have a nice home in a nice location with nature, needing good technology and internet. It showed how selfish people are, hoarding all the toilet rolls and pasta...when it comes down to it each is worried about their own. I think we are incredibly divided, frim brexit to trump to mask wearings and vaccine ...i think it is making us look more inwards instead of as a community. It's codswallop all this crap about it being like war.

MadameBlobby Thu 19-Nov-20 23:55:36

My world is shrinking and I feel myself becoming accustomed to it which is even more scary. It’s not good at all.

I was made redundant and started a new job but it’s phone based all day and so I don’t even get any zoom or phone chat with colleagues on small talk. It’s hard. Life is just work from home and stay at home. But then my husband has been furloughed for ages as works in hospitality. It’s rubbish, all of it.

QueenOfTheDoubleWide Fri 20-Nov-20 00:06:51

@Thousandmiles I do think I am starting to forget how to interact; I worry out of all proportion for ages now even after the briefest small talk-type exchange with someone as I feel like I come across badly - what is that about?! I used to be quite warm and humorous (I think?! confused) but I’m becoming really self conscious and inward-looking.
So relieved to hear someone else say this as it is exactly how I feel.

DH has been made redundant and no jobs in his field at present so is at home all the time which means I have no time to myself at all, ever, and it is driving me mad

MercyBooth Fri 20-Nov-20 02:04:07

Its the effect on police and community relations where we will see consequences.

HumanFemale1 Fri 20-Nov-20 02:37:05

I am very glad you opened this thread op because I've noticed this too. The other day my I run into my neighbor on the staircase, I smiled at him and he said nothing, instead he moved 2 feet away and stood in the corner until I passed him.

This brainwashing that has been done to people, making them look at fellow humans as dangers they should stay away from is heartbreakingl

Spinakker Fri 20-Nov-20 12:26:06

People ask yourself does it need to be this way ? Are these restrictions proportionate to the risk of coronavirus ? People die of all kinds of things. The average age of death for a covid death is over the average life expectancy! Start questioning what is actually going on here. Locking people down does not make any sense for their health. People are getting mentally and physically more unhealthy. It's time to speak out.

PerkingFaintly Fri 20-Nov-20 13:13:35

Time to speak out? People have been "speaking out" since before the first lockdown in March.

And blithely ignoring what we were told to do. "It's only guidance! I'm going to use my common sense! Can't stop me going to the gym and having a party for 70 people!"

We brought the spike down from what it could have been unchecked, but the UK still has an unenviable death toll so far, and with posters like you it's likely to continue.

Yes, it's rough being stuck in. But all the other options are rough too. Personally I'm putting my energies to helping people cope with the situation until we have decent vaccines up and running, rather than pretending that ignoring the virus will make all the bad stuff go away.

FuzzyPuffling Fri 20-Nov-20 13:16:17

Also, it depends on your personal circumstances and risk. If you've got underlying health conditions or ( especially) if you're in the CEV group, your chances of dying or having life changing after effects of covid are considerably higher. It really isn't " a touch of flu" for very many people, and it doesn't help to minimise their experience.

LindyLou2020 Fri 20-Nov-20 14:25:21

Everyone on this thread has made such important, relevant, valid observations as to how the lockdown is affecting them and their environments.
Some good things are happening, but many more not so good.
I feel much more crappy now than I did first time around.
But no-one yet has mentioned one big difference between lockdowns 1 and 2........the time of year. We are now colder, wetter, and darker than we were in the spring. Being outdoors in the sunshine and doing stuff, seeing people, made things much more tolerable for me at least.
Whilst no way minimising the other issues, I do think this has got an awful lot to do with the fact that we have entered "hibernation" season, even if there wasn't a pandemic.

megletthesecond Fri 20-Nov-20 15:01:07

I know it's not buy yanbu. My estate was skanky before this and unsurprisingly nothing changed there. Bit of fly tipping, too much drinking, no community 🤷‍♀️. I'd like to start a neighbourhood watch to filter out the nice families but I'm not sure how to get round the drug dealers.

yy lindy no one is in their garden here. Except me when I garden or do a HIIT. It's dead out there. I work and can oversee the gardens and there's nothing.

anothernamereally Fri 20-Nov-20 15:37:38

throwaway100000

*I do think I am starting to forget how to interact;*

I had a chat about this with my shielding friend earlier! She says she has started to stutter etc when having conversations with people nowsad as she’s had such a long gap from being social.


I've noticed my ds has started to stutter too

HumanFemale1 Fri 20-Nov-20 16:19:43

PerkingFaintly

Time to speak out? People have been "speaking out" since before the first lockdown in March.

And blithely ignoring what we were told to do. "It's only guidance! I'm going to use my common sense! Can't stop me going to the gym and having a party for 70 people!"

We brought the spike down from what it could have been unchecked, but the UK still has an unenviable death toll so far, and with posters like you it's likely to continue.

Yes, it's rough being stuck in. But all the other options are rough too. Personally I'm putting my energies to helping people cope with the situation until we have decent vaccines up and running, rather than pretending that ignoring the virus will make all the bad stuff go away.

For gods sake when is it going to get through your head that for a lot of people, the lockdown does more damage to their lives than just having to be stuck in their homes?

cologne4711 Fri 20-Nov-20 16:33:10

The junior parkrun directors box has now begun gathering its 9th month of dust since its last use. I miss participating in the 5k parkruns too

I miss (Saturday) parkrun too but they've announced they are looking into bringing junior parkrun back when they can. I do hope they can get it off the ground early in the new year.

PerkingFaintly Fri 20-Nov-20 16:33:13

Ta for that heads up, HumanFemale1, but I already knew.

Could have made a list. A long one. But as this particular thread is about social interaction, I just stuck it under "all the other options are rough too."

Answer's the same though: I do what I can to help folk cope, be it financially or socially or whatever. And look forward to the vaccine improving things somewhat – though it won't be the end of the story, unfortunately.

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