How do I become anti-social again

Does the virus make us anti-social?

I've rarely felt as alone as I do now. Socially isolated. Even though I live with my partner, with whom I have a lively exchange and have a wonderful relationship. So I'm not alone in that sense. But I've never been one of those people who neglect their friendships as soon as they find themselves in the hormone rush of a new partnership. The value of friendship was always preached to me as a child by my parents, and I was always aware that friends are the rope that holds when all else fails. Without my friends, I would not have easily got over relationship pain, disappointments in life and other setbacks. It was always friends, it was social experiences with them that tore me out of pain and brought back lofty emotional states of laughter, warmth, and familiarity.

That is precisely why I attach great importance to cultivating friendships. That includes regular contact, that includes being there when you need each other. To me, cultivating a friendship means being interested in the life of the other. Honesty is part of it and reliability to stick to agreements. Good friends inspire each other and tickle what you might not have discovered on your own.

But lately it seems to me that these things have hardly had any more meaning, hardly anyone is sticking to agreements, people are concentrating more on themselves and are increasingly isolating themselves within their own four walls. It happens more and more often that appointments are canceled at short notice. That friends hardly ever get in touch, that you don't hear from each other for weeks. I miss the inspiring exchange with my friends. Social experiences with the most important companions, which one will remember with a smile years later, seem as distant as from another life.

At the beginning of the pandemic, people were at least skyped, but virtual conversations have become exhausting, and so even the thin virtual contact thread was cut. A couch trip with the hangover or an evening with your partner in front of Netflix remains a social highlight.

The framework conditions are currently not very favorable for lively social exchange and collective bonding. At every meeting there is uncertainty that makes the friendship heavier: Is it morally okay to have dinner with a couple who are friends? Does the friend feel good when I invite her over for coffee? Can I take my mask off when walking next to my pals? The lockdown, the hygiene measures, the constantly changing rules have taken away the ease of a wine evening with friends, the conversation with your best friend the intimacy, the spontaneity from life.

Under these conditions, many lose their appetite for social interaction. But we are slowly beginning to internalize this isolation as a new reality, to get used to the couch-potato lifestyle.

The long-term effects of the pandemic are not limited to exhaustion or loss of taste. They go beyond physical symptoms and affect the social behavior of many people. The pandemic is increasingly being used as an excuse not to have to slip out of the cozy sweatpants in which one has spent the whole day in the home office. And because you want to watch an episode of your favorite series on Netflix instead of getting on your bike and cycling to the park, you prefer to talk about "avoiding contact because you are due to visit grandma" and cancel the meeting at short notice.

The long-term effects of the pandemic are not limited to exhaustion or loss of taste.

It's like playing sports. If you stop jogging regularly for two weeks, it is easy to fall into an indolence from which it is difficult to get out. Starting jogging again becomes a challenging show of strength. And so it is currently too exhausting for us to go out to meet friends - within the right framework, of course, with few people, ideally outdoors.

We have to ensure that the symptoms of social lockdown remain temporary and that our society does not wither into an anti-social mass permanently. Our active togetherness is already suffering from digitization - just think of the most representative scene of the 21st century: a couple staring at the cell phone, she staring at the cell phone.

We must fight all the more against a general social dulling; ensure that the things that make friendship - reliability, shared adventures, a shoulder to lean on - are not forgotten; Keep a word counting, revive a sense of community, and remind ourselves that friendships and social interaction are essential to happy life and personal growth.