A Lot of Friendships Won’t Survive This
The pandemic is exposing cracks in relationships that may have been there all along
Lately, my social media feed has been full of surprises: a childhood friend, one I’d long considered a kindred spirit, sharing a pandemic conspiracy theory on Facebook. A mom I used to regularly run into at the playground, posting photos of her mask-free dinner party.
Like a lot of people, I’m leaning on my friendships more than I ever have before — a long-standing group chat with my three best friends feels like a lifeline right now, even though the conversation mostly consists of musings about whether it’s okay to go to the grocery store for just one thing. (Consensus: probably not.) But some of my other relationships haven’t been so aligned, and it’s left me feeling unsettled. Jarred. Confused, even: Had I really gotten these people wrong? How upset was I allowed to be?
Rachel O’Neill, a practicing therapist and the director of clinical effectiveness for the therapy app Talkspace, says she’s hearing from many clients that the pandemic is surfacing important differences in perspectives, creating a sense of division in their relationships or highlighting divisions that were already there.
“This situation has illuminated the different ways people choose to progress through a situation that impacts everyone,” she says. “Some people have adapted their life for the greater good, while others are taking a more individualistic approach.”
Ranking My Relationships Made Me a Better Friend
Make new friends, but sort the old ones into a 15-tier spreadsheet
And when your friends’ values are revealed, you may not like what you see. For better or worse, we’re entering a period of relationship reckoning, a conflict-ridden phase that not all friendships will survive. Here’s how to navigate it.
Reflect on your priorities
Before you can decide how to react when a friend does something you see as unforgivably selfish — say, taking a trip to a crowded beach or refusing to don a mask on a crowded sidewalk — it’s important…