From The Confessional: COVID-19 Is Making Us Question Our Friendships

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Mother and child with face mask and hand sanitizer

COVID-19 has changed everything. The way our kids go to school, the way we buy groceries, the way we “go to work” every day. It has changed how we socialize, making “masks,” “6 feet,” and “air droplets” become part of the daily conversation. And, for better or worse, it has changed our friendships. Our kids are losing friends whose parents are anti-mask. We’re losing friends who are anti-mask. And we might have a hard time forgiving friends who didn’t quarantine or social distance this year while we stayed home, missing out on life.

But the one positive to come out of this disaster is that we also saw our friends’ true colors. We saw who is willing to think of others and do their part for the greater good, and who only thinks of themselves. We saw who is willing to listen to science and medical experts and who believes in terrifying conspiracy theories. And we’ve adjusted our social circles—whether in person or online—accordingly.

No matter what, though, when we all come out of this, beaten and bruised by the hell that was 2020, our true friends will still be there, waiting for us on the other side. And those who aren’t, well, then it probably wasn’t meant to be.

I cry in my closet every day because my daughter's friends are alienating her b/c she won't hang out with them unless they wear masks. They post photos with their arms draped around each other having fun, thumbing their noses at the pandemic. WTF?

Confessional #25791439

Was just informed our preschooler is expected to stay 6 feet away from any new friends or teacher... or have a mask on. They’ll get a break from the mask when then have their face shield on... may be time to realize this school year isn’t worth It :(

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DS9 potentially exposed to covid at friend's house. They're quarantining for 2 weeks but still allowing the kids to play outside together. Uhh, no! What in the actual fuck?

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One of the most heartbreaking parts of this COVID-19 pandemic is how it’s impacting our kids.

My friend constantly posts disinformation and it's making me really dislike her.

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I cringe every time my friend posts some QAnon bullshit. So embarrassing.

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I have lost so many “friends bc I choose to social distance and wear a mask during this pandemic. Looking forward to beginning a new life in 4 years when I can retire and move to another country. Americans suck”

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A friend who refuses to wear a mask and has been going out everywhere got mad at me because I wouldn't let her come over. Sad I lost a friend over this, but mostly sad that she wouldn't accept no and kept trying to change my mind, no respect for others.

Confessional #25789938

Back in 2016, we started losing friends because of politics when our nation became more divided than ever. In 2020, we are divided over masks. It’s hard to maintain friendships with people who are so fundamentally different, but it still hurts to lose them.

Friends don't understand why we quarantine, pass up party invites, but as each of them has a loved one contract COVID they've changed their tune. Why does it have to get to that?

Confessional #25789395

Best mom friend invited us to her DS6 bday party with a bouncy house. Covid is blowing up in our city. I miss my friend and our kids miss each other, but no way!

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Friend text, she wants to come over, promises to wear a mask. I'm not comfortable with that because I take COVID seriously. I'm worried she's going to be offended.

Confessional #25789462

COVID-19 has forced us to say no to a lot of invites, and we can only hope the people we love will still be in our lives when it’s all over.

So confused seeing friends on social media on vacation, the zoo, beach, parties. I thought we weren't supposed to do that? I feel like the only person who's afraid to contract COVID!

Confessional #25790481

My online friend is always whining about how she and her husband are high risk, but they go joy-shopping, they eat out at restaurants, and they’re going to have a dinner with 10 family members with no social distancing and no masks. Wish she’d STFU.

Confessional #25788691

It’s frustrating AF to see our “friends” making unsafe choices and running around town having fun while we force our kids to stay home.

I'm a SAHM and we're not sending the kids to school this fall H's job 75% on-line. We hadn't really made any friends in this town and we have no family here. Thinking it would be awesome to just bail on everything and buy an RV and be nomads.

Confessional #25790308

My good friend and neighbor drains me of emotional energy. She often wonders why ppl seem to break off contact with her, but I get it. Thankful for social distancing at the moment.

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Quarantine has helped me sort out how incredibly toxic some of my friends and acquaintances are. Silver lining for sure.

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But even in this shit-storm of a year, there is a silver lining, and it’s that our social circle is getting smaller and only includes those with similar values and views of what is right.

My friend who talked so much shit about me for social distancing and staying home just lost her DH and mother to COVID. I still feel awful for her. When will this end?

Confessional #25788547

Our beloved dog died a week ago. Today's his birthday. We're also supposed to pick his ashes up this afternoon. I'm having such a hard time with this. I know people have lost family members and friends due to COVID, but I am feeling this loss in my BONES.

Confessional #25790176

I have zero support in making a decision on school for 3DC. DH doesn’t care bc “it doesn’t affect him my only “friend” thinks Covid is a hoax. I’m terrible at teaching Completely BURNT OUT from having them 24/7 but I don’t want to risk our health”

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Losing a friend, whether to COVID or other causes, hurts tremendously because we need our friends now more than ever. The worst thing for our mental and physical health during this anxious time is to feel like we are alone.

So if you’ve got a couple good friends who believe in the same basic truths that you do, hold on to them. This is a time of great turmoil and we need our people more than ever. However, if toxic nay-sayers in your life are negatively affecting your mental health as they spew false information and refuse to make safe choices, they need to go. If taking care of yourself means adjusting your social circle a bit, do it. And don’t forget to be a friend too because your besties need you as much you need them.

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