Have you noticed how it's a lot more difficult to go outside and socialize? Like it’s harder for you to order at fast-food restaurants and you feel anxiety? Or just generally awkward encounters with people? You’re definitely not alone, many people reported feeling the same and it is probably a collective experience. This is mainly due to the pandemic that has been going on for more than two years now, it caused many countries to close and impose health measures including lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates, and quarantine days. This varies from country to country but one thing for sure is, that it definitely is harsher in the Philippines. We had one of the longest lockdowns in the world. Most of the schools are still closed and this is affecting kids too, it’s giving them very little chance to develop their social skills with their other fellow kids.
Much research involving social isolation in astronauts, soldiers, and prisoners tells us that social skills can deteriorate, like how writing down notes after taking a long vacation feels weird and new to you and your hand. The longer you don’t use or do it, the worse it gets, the longer you are isolated from people, the worse your social skills become. Of course, this is expected due to our current situation but it is important to remember that we are social animals, and we need to socialize and be connected to people. The need and want to socialize is a very human thing, this helped us to survive in the wild up till now. Even introverts socialize every once in a while. Now, deteriorating social skills can eventually lead to loneliness and this has many effects including feeling angry, tired, irritable, or sad which can make us more distant from people.
This phenomenon is becoming more apparent as more countries are opening up and more people are going out and noticing how much they and the world changed around them. Humans are very adaptable creatures, it’s what we’re best at, we will get used to isolating and not being able to socialize with people and we will also get used to socializing with people again. With time and effort, it will get better.
Arlin Cuncic. (2021). How to Cope With Social Awkwardness After COVID-19
Sachin Ravi and Raghav Chakravarthy. (2021). How the pandemic is affecting children’s social skills