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    Covid blues: Not being able to meet friends made 69% Indians lonelier, 50% felt social distancing weakened relationships

    Synopsis

    The pandemic has also led to deeper and meaningful conversations.

    iStock
    Nearly four out of five of friends say they relied on digital communication to stay connected through the lockdown in India.
    A new Snap report shows Covid-19 is deepening our relationships with our best friends, while distancing us from others in India

    Snap Inc. today released its second global Friendship study, interviewing 30,000 people across sixteen countries, to explore how the Covid-19 pandemic and global issues have impacted friendship. Seventeen experts on friendship from around the world contributed to the report.

    Covid has further accelerated the importance of digital connections in India with nearly 91% saying that they have helped friends maintain their relationship, regardless of age. This is much higher as compared to the global average.

    Here are some key findings:

    • Covid has brought some friends closer together, but also made some of us feel lonely
    • Covid has also led to deeper and meaningful conversations
    • Covid has seen people reconnect with lost friends
    • Indians rate ‘trustworthy’ and ‘honesty’ as the top qualities that they look for in a friend
    • Friends are our first line of defence against loneliness, and we generally make our best friends in childhood; on average we have known our closest friends for at least half of our lives
    • Most of us have lost touch with a close friend from childhood, with the majority wanting to rediscover that close connection.
    • While most of us are keeping connected better through digital communication channels, we still need to develop our friendship skills to help us learn how to maintain friendships over distance and get back in touch if we do lose contact
    Digital impact
    Nearly four out of five of friends say they relied on digital communication to stay connected through the lockdown in India (87%). For many, those conversations have been deeper, rather than focusing on surface-level topics (76%). It appears digital communications are key to staying in touch when we’re apart, with a vast majority.

    Even though there’s been an uptick in outreach to friends, Covid-19 has also led to loneliness for some. Half of those we surveyed said they’ve felt lonely since the pandemic started (51%) which is 13% higher than pre-Covid-19.

    For many of the people (69%) being unable to see their friends has made them feel lonelier, with almost two-thirds of them feeling friends are not reaching out to them as much as they would like (59%). In fact, half of the people (50%) felt that social distancing has weakened their relationships with friends.

    In total, a third of people we surveyed said that Covid-19 has affected their friendships (44%). With just close to one-third saying that it has led to them not feeling as close to their friends (33%), while over two-thirds say they have grown closer to their friends (67%). And nearly two-thirds of those surveyed agreed with the statement that they felt more disconnected from friends because they couldn’t spend time in-person (62%) .

    Reaching out
    The upside is that, with the pandemic causing so much isolation, people genuinely want to reach out and check in on those they care about. More than half of the people (54%) say their friendships are more important to them now and nearly three-quarters of us are making an intentional choice to reach out to friends that they haven’t spoken to in a while (74%).

    About the report: The Friendship Report, commissioned in partnership with Alter Agents, polled 30,000 nationally representative people ages 13 to 44 in Australia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, UK and US.

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