There’s nothing like a global pandemic to cut off those toxic friendships for good – The Sun

After the frenzy of quizzes, virtual dinner parties and constant WhatsApping in the first weeks of lockdown, things have shifted.

Now, I’m mainly keeping in touch with friends via the occasional meme, half-heartedly copied and pasted from Instagram.


Lockdown has done a 180° on my social life, and it’s changed how I feel about my friendships, too.

Partly, this is because there’s nothing much to say. There’s only so many times you can drone: “It’s so weird, isn’t it?” before one of you loses patience and blames patchy Wi-Fi.

But it’s also because a pixelated friendly face in a square on your screen can feel worse than not seeing someone at all. Now the novelty has worn off, virtual meet-ups are a painful reminder of how great it was to see your friend IRL.

When you could sip each other’s cocktails or comment on their new perfume and not have to repeat a joke and get a four- second delay before someone laughed. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to sort the friendship wheat from the chaff.

And I don’t just mean the person I know who’s fallen out with her best friend because she broke the curfew and got her hairdresser to come round.

Time away from the hamster wheel of normal life has made many of us think about the friends we’ve really missed (other than the ones who can touch up our roots), and also the people we’re secretly quite pleased not to have to see.

This could be the perfect time to cut those toxic mates out of our lives for good

Hopefully, they’ll think we just decided to stay in isolation doing jigsaw puzzles forever. There are friends who I couldn’t have got through this meltdown-inducing time without; the ones who can cheer me up with an emoji, who can tell by just the
way I say: “Fine”, that it means anything but.

These are the friends I have vowed to make more time for when this is over. There have been surprises, too. For one thing, I’m now chatting to my neighbours and the postman like it’s 1953. And earlier this week, a friend I hadn’t seen since primary school phoned me completely out of the blue.

My initial reaction was pure terror and I nearly blanked her call. But when I did answer, we ended up having a brilliant catch-up. Would this have happened at any other time? No.

Did it feel weird and awkward at first? Of course. But I’m getting used to that these days, seeing as every video chat involves a: “No you first… No, no, you go,” as everyone tries to talk at once. Psychologists say that we only need four ofive close friends for optimum life satisfaction.

And I think many of us are suddenly looking at our friendship group like we are our handbags and shoes. We’re wondering why we have so many and what we ever did with them, but also rediscovering a really special pair buried at the back of the wardrobe for far too long.

Just as it’s predicted that divorce rates will rise when lockdown is over, it will also test the limits of our friendships.

This week I’m…

Lusting after… luxe loungewear

Specifically, a tiger- print sweat from hip unisex label Les Girls Les Boys.

Reading… Exciting Times This debut by Naoise Dolan is making time fly.

Believe the “Next Sally Rooney” hype.

Trying… sophrology

I’ve found this “moving meditation” calming. Join free guided sessions with @Besophrolondon on Instagram Live.

We shouldn’t be surprised if we find it hard to spring back to easy intimacy with people we haven’t seen in months.

Or if we find ourselves searching for the mute button when we meet someone for a drink.

But the proper friends, the ones you’d give your last toilet roll to? We’ll hug them until our arms hurt.

  • Follow Kate on Instagram @Katewillswrites.

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