The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has robbed us of almost everything we held sacred. For months, life has resembled a Snakes and Ladders board, as numbers of COVID-19 cases, lockdown restrictions, and our mental health situations have fluctuated. By now, we have come to accept that social plans and monetary savings will fall by the wayside for the foreseeable future. What we hadn’t envisaged, however, was that our friendships would suffer as a result of the health crisis.
I have always counted myself fortunate to have an abundance of friends. They’re my soundboards after a challenging day at work. Their voices over the phone are the breadcrumbs I follow as I trudge to work in the morning, and the companions that comfort me as I drive home alone at night. It’s thanks to them that my iPhone calendar has long resembled a pin cushion, populated with dots representing months of drink dates, dinners, and weekends away.
According to The Friendship Report, commissioned in partnership with Protein Agency—which polled 10,000 nationally representative people between ages 13 to 75 in India, Australia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK, and the US—Indians have six best friends on an average. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. A YouGov poll last year found that a quarter of people in Great Britain have no-one they can call a ‘best friend’, and nearly one in eight admit to having no friends at all (this is up from one in 10 just five years ago).
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