May 19, 2021

‘Living alone in lockdown, I miss my friends more than family’

Virtual communities are no substitute for the close interactions we’re missing out on right now

Who are we without the theatre, the clubs, the dancing, the dates, the random person we meet at a party? In this lockdown, the thing I’ve spoken to my circle about the most is how our identities have shifted. Who are we unless we’re with the friends who make us? And if we are living with family, do they reflect our real identities or are they just the people we happen to be related to?

Living alone, I miss my friends. I miss my family less. No offence to them, they know I love them. But I miss, more than anything, meeting a friend and jumping on them, pulling them into a big hug and talking, face to face, about what’s happened that week, the thing we enjoyed, the person we fell out with, the book we read.

Virtual communities and conversations can serve a purpose, and I’ve enjoyed my fair share of Instagram live gigs. But as the Spice Girls so aptly put it: “I need somebody with a human touch”; it just can’t be the same on FaceTime. And don’t even get me started on Zoom. It’s a task to maintain our identities when the interactions that form them have fallen away. We are still who we are, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. We just need to hold on to that a little longer.