Awkward small talk at weddings. Boring chit chat with casual acquaintances. Inescapable conversations with random people sat next to you on public transport. There’s no end to the social duties that previously encroached on our freedom.
But as restrictions continue to ease, and with us being largely encouraged to get back to some sense of normality, the guilt-free days of spending night after night on the sofa appear to be coming to an end.
And if you’re secretly sad about the fact? Well, there’s a good chance the last few months of isolation have made you more anti-social. Here are a few key signs to note…
1. You’re getting overwhelmed seeing your diary fill up
You’d be ok easing yourself into interacting with other humans via the occasional trip to the local boozer with some pals, but your calendar is now starting to resemble an overly annotated textbook – and you aren’t happy about it.
You don’t seem to have a weekend free until October, and you know you should feel optimistic about seeing your friends and family again, but you’re genuinely dreading the thought of burning the candle at both ends.
2. You feel like you’ve forgotten how to communicate with people
Spending several months with just the cat and your inner monologue for company has turned you into a bit of an awkward turtle.
In an effort to feel a bit more human, you’ve tried to make casual chit chat with your postman, but the words just came out in a jumble of oddly nervous sounds. You’ll definitely have to work on your chat before you attempt to become a fully functioning member of society again.
3. The thought of going on a date fills you with terror
You might have been confidently chatting to other single people on dating apps, but the thought of meeting any of them face-to-face has you internally screaming in fear.
How will you cope without the flattering light of your perfectly positioned webcam? How will you make conversation without two hours to formulate a witty yet cute reply via text? First date nerves are normal, but now you’re spiralling.
4. You’re genuinely looking forward to a night in
In the depths of lockdown, you couldn’t stop moaning to your mates about how repetitive watching Netflix was becoming – but now they’re inviting you out to socially distanced BBQs, you’re longing for another lazy Saturday indoors.
5. You don’t think Zoom is that bad
While video chats have increasingly become a bit of a chore, you reckon they’ve got some clear advantages over IRL meetings. For instance, when you’re chatting online, you can simply exit when you’re bored and blame it on a bad internet connection. Plus, you never feel awkward about taking a back seat and letting others dominate the conversation.
Oh, and you don’t have to go to the effort of wearing make-up or shoes either. Heck, you can even skip the trousers if you’re feeling really lazy.
6. You’re questioning how much you really need other people
John Donne famously said, ‘No man is an island’, but your interaction-free existence is starting to look more like the Caribbean every day. Deep down, you know you love your friends, but really, you’d probably enjoy a nice year off from listening to their problems.
7. The thought of future lockdowns doesn’t phase you
While everyone else is worried about the thought of being sent back indoors, you’re not too phased at the thought of spending another couple of months working from bed, wearing pyjamas all day and staring slack jawed at the TV.
For the health and safety of others, you’re of course hoping this won’t be the case, but if the rules change overnight again, you’ll be the first to bail on social plans (with a secret smile on your face).