Amy Merritt feels like the coronavirus pandemic has thwarted her efforts to make friends in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she and her husband relocated two years ago from Chicago.
"We were just getting our feet on the ground, and then the pandemic happened,” says Merritt, 57, a yoga instructor. “I feel like we should be further down the road in meeting people."
So about six months ago, Merritt joined a Facebook community group called Scottsdale Living to keep up with local happenings and connect with neighbors. She's had some success meeting new people and even found some who were interested in in-person yoga sessions, which Merritt is slowly returning to after all-virtual classes.
During the pandemic, our social circles shrank. People may have kept in touch with their closest friends, but acquaintances — the parents you chatted with at your child's soccer game or the work pals you lunched with occasionally — may have fallen by the wayside.
Now that more people are vaccinated and pandemic restrictions are easing, some of us are grappling with conflicting impulses: We're looking to regain those friend connections but still feeling cautious about our health. And many say they feel out of practice when it comes to social interactions.
"This has been a lonely time for a lot of people because we've been isolated,” says Anabel Basulto, a licensed marriage and family therapist for Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California. “The older we get, the smaller our social circle becomes.”
Resuming a social life
Over the past 15 months, Reed Morris has not met up with friends in person, and he has no plans to do so now.