There is a great deal of good news happening right now, with lockdowns ending, the pandemic fading, and the economy bouncing back. However, it could still be a rocky road to recover for some of us, as months of isolation have caused us to turn feral.
Well, maybe not feral, exactly, but a new survey of Canadians indicates that large numbers of us have forgotten basic social skills and the prospect of going back out in public scares us.
As part of their post-pandemic research, the team over at Modern Concierge commissioned a survey of 1000 Canadians to ask what their most significant concerns for getting back to normal were.
Small Talk Scares Us
When asked what was their biggest concern about returning to humanity after COVID, over a quarter (27.2 per cent) of Canadians responded ‘making small talk.’
This was closely followed by ‘pretending to be interested’ at 21.9 per cent, what to do with our hands (12.6 per cent), wearing ‘hard pants’ (10.8 per cent), how to eat in front of people (10.3 per cent), and how to hold utensils (5.1 per cent.)
On second thought, maybe we’ve gone feral after all. We’ve forgotten how to interact with others, dress ourselves, and eat in a civilized manner. Isolation has taken its toll over a year and half.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what hard pants are, these are jeans, chinos, dress pants, basically any normal grown-up pants. As opposed to the mostly ‘soft pants,’ which were the uniform of COVID, pyjamas, track pants, yoga pants, etc.
We’ve become introverts
Of course, some of us were always introverts, but it has become the new default. When participants were asked what social interaction scares them the most post-COVID, nearly a quarter (22.6 per cent) of Canadians said ‘going to a party.’ Another 19.0 per cent fear the prospects of standing in an elevator with other people, and 14.7 per cent said ‘eating at a restaurant’ was the nightmare scenario. (Presumably because we have forgotten how to hold utensils.)
Relearning our social graces
The survey also asked Canadians what topic they could most use a post-pandemic refresher course in. More than a quarter, 26.5 per cent said they would like to be schooled on small talk. 20.1 per cent of Canadians said that they would like to relearn some positive body language, and perhaps as a result of wearing masks in public for such a long period of time, 15.3 per cent said that they would like to learn ‘how to smile convincingly.’
Finally, 11.4 per cent of respondents say that they would like to relearn ‘how to dress.’ This is likely because the pandemic had so many of us spending time in our pjs, or only dressing up on the top half for Zoom meetings.