This week, in honour of the impending update of a certain HBO show that might just have cemented a certain ideal of early aughts cosmopolitan friendship, we are celebrating the art of being acquainted – in all its torturous complexity and beautiful glory. Stay tuned for a close look at the perils and rewards of being a friend.
My workday is interrupted by a thousand pings and prods; my non-workday is beset by needs and demands: feed me, squeeze me, exercise me. Green Lingerie It’s a constant, toddler-toned chorus. Here we are now, entertain us. I crave silence and alone time – to reflect, read, use the toilet without someone banging on the door. When my husband tries to talk to me at the end of a long day, I sometimes shush him. Communication – in all its modern and blunt primitive forms – is not in short supply.
And yet, I might be lonely? As Harvard scholar Jeremy Nobel has put it: “If you’re on Mars and you have the most powerful telescope… you can find all the isolated people on planet Earth. But you couldn’t find the lonely people.” Edward Hopper knew it. You can be in the middle of a crowded city (or in my case, a crowded house) and be very alone.
Of course, the pandemic enforced a new awareness of loneliness upon all of us, and it’s an effect that seems to be compounding even now, as the blight drags on. In a survey of Medicare recipients, 40 per cent reported feeling less socially connected in the late summer of 2021 than in the autumn of 2020 – a point at which the pandemic had already been raging for several months and vaccines were nowhere in sight. Deep and shallow connections alike are suffering. Grey Lingerie A much discussed piece in The Atlantic from last January was titled “The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship.” All those “weak link” connections – coworkers you don’t know that well, the guy at the front desk of your gym – gone, or at least struggling after a year and a half of limited contact.
But for me, the pandemic had a strangely inverse effect. Without the ability to move throughout the city to attend events and wave across a room at people I really didn’t know, I had more time to spend with friends and acquaintances in my Brooklyn neighbourhood. Ivory Lingerie Or rather, it wasn’t that I suddenly had more time, as the windows of our interactions remained brief – compressed by the demands of homeschooling and multiplying Zoom meetings – it was that I needed to greet the parents in line at school drop-off or the man who handed me a coffee from behind a mask; they were often the only people outside my family whom I saw.