Relationships in the time of COVID


Some relationships are purely based on social interaction and with the loss of that opportunity these relationships can weaken.

As we approach the one year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the long term effects of separation that occurred during quarantine are starting to become apparent. Relationships shape a person’s life; family relations, friendships, and authoritative relationships can be found in lives all around us. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many of the relationships of students and teachers around the globe and specifically at our very own Dartmouth High School.

The negative effects of separation can weaken a relationship over time. Junior Catherine Miller feels the lack of messaging and communicating with friends over quarantine could have led to changes in many of her relationships. “I’ve definitely lost touch with some people that I would meet with before Covid,” said Miller. “I think that is mainly due to the fact that we just couldn’t see each other.” 

Some relationships are purely based on social interaction and with the loss of that opportunity these relationships can weaken. One DHS student voiced their take on this detachment and its effects. “Although technology allows friends to communicate when apart,” they said, “some friendships just can’t survive the time apart.” According to Kelsey Borresen from Huffpost, scheduling Zoom meetings or FaceTiming a friend can feel like work rather than being a stress-free activity. Borresen writes, “Friends that felt easy pre-pandemic may now seem harder to maintain.” 

Senior Mackenzie Lima said, “I have definitely noticed a decline in relationships.” Lima had developed a group of friends that would meet up during school and spend lunch together; however, once school became fully remote, spending time in class or seeing each other in the halls became events of the past. “I realized that this group only talked during school hours and barely talked outside of school,” said Lima. “The lack of communication was definitely a huge factor.”

Separation has also affected many student-teacher relationships this year. With the introduction of remote learning, which requires students to attend class online with only virtual attendance, many students not only lose the interaction with peers but also their teachers. Maria Kelly, a DHS dance and gym teacher, said, “One class I had with sophomores was more challenging to build relationships with remotely.” 

Although separation can loosen strong bonds between people, the effects of being apart during quarantine and through remote learning have also brought positive additions to relationships. While being apart from friends and family members can bring struggle, time away can shed light and bring true awareness to how strong an original relationship is. Lima explained how she strengthened her relationships with friends and coworkers. “It made me really appreciate the people in my life and each of the relationships have been really strong,” said Lima. 

For some situations, separation wasn’t the only factor of quarantine that had an impact on relationships. With the arrival of the coronavirus, families and acquaintances living within the same household have also experienced change in their relationships. “For my family, we quarantined together, and I think it brought us closer together,” said Miller, “but also distanced ourselves from each other because spending all day everyday with the same people can get exhausting, and eventually, you get on each other’s nerves.”

With both the negative and positive effects of this disconnection among people, some bonds remained the same and are still connected during this pandemic. For Ms. Kelly, many of her friendships and family relations haven’t changed over quarantine and during the coronavirus. “I keep in touch with my friends regularly through text or Zooms and have gotten together with a few friends occasionally throughout the summer and fall and now winter,” said Ms. Kelly.

This separation has had an enormous impact on students, particularly seniors. Lima, a senior herself, said, “Social distancing has made all of the senior activities disappear, so we have to find alternatives.” With the postponing and cancelations of events such as homecoming, the annual pep rally, and fundraisers, seniors are missing out on experiencing these moments with friends. “The main thing I am looking forward to is graduation,” said Lima. “I just wish that I could share it with my friends and family without the fear of catching or spreading the virus.”

An article from CollegeXpress reported 82% of parents noted their children spend more time in online classes than before the coronavirus. The article stated, “We should embrace this “new normal” as a time to put the health and safety of our families and communities above all else.” As seniors approach graduation and the start to life outside high school, the transition from social interaction in classrooms to fully remote learning environments can be difficult.

According to Arianna Prothero from EducationWeek, relationships help students and adults feel a sense of belonging in their life. Without interaction and the opportunity to build connections, people around the globe are experiencing loss in the bonds they have created with friends, family, and partners.

One of the most powerful tools that has allowed relationships to continue strong is technology. The ability to message a coworker, call a family member, or FaceTime a friend is utilized by those who miss social interaction. “Communication is so important,” said Lima. “Texting may be the easiest way, but try to FaceTime, Google Meet, Zoom-anything where you can see the person’s face.” By having the opportunity to connect with someone on one of these platforms you feel as if you are meeting with them in person.

“I have been in situations where I can’t tell exactly what a person means, and I overthink their [text] message, but hearing their voice is the type of confirmation you need when you can’t physically be near them,” said Lima.

In this way, the best method to avoid disconnection in a relationship is through the use of technology. “Check in with anyone you can think of and see how they are and what they are doing to cope with our current situation,” said Miller. By reaching out to friends and family, anyone has the ability to keep connections strong and avoid losing their bond.

Separation defined the start of the pandemic and still is a part of many lives today. Relationships may weaken when put to the limits; however, don’t let separation be the reason for losing a friend. 

Ms. Kelly’s advice on the topic: “Don’t wait for someone else to reach out to you. Even if it’s a silly emoji/meme/gif…let them know you are thinking about them.”