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Post-COVID Reconnection: Overcoming the Effect of Pandemic on Relationships


Vinayak Mahajan |

The new normal, influenced by the pandemic, has been accepted by most, whether it be at socially distanced workplaces or binge-watching Netflix in the coziness of homes. While adapting to these changes is something everyone has accepted or has gotten used to, what’s often overlooked is the effect of pandemic on relationships. Although the pandemic necessitated constant contact with our families and partners, social distancing measures have paradoxically isolated us from our friends and more distant acquaintances. Thus, many of us have enjoyed the wholesomeness of close family, but have missed out on the broader social energy – the social energy where you’d go around and hug your mates, or at the very least, shake hands, highlighting the pandemic impact on relationships.

That said, the effect of pandemic on relationships has been significant. while the COVID-19 pandemic has confined many of us from not-so-close friends and family, it has brought notable changes even within our close relationships. One reason for this, according to Susanne Choi, a sociologist at the University of Hong Kong, is that the high-pressure environment of being locked with the immediate relatives combined with the financial stress brought about by a COVID-19 has burdened economy, has led to a rise in societal, familial, and marital conflicts. Moreover, couples who committed to forming relationships during the pandemic are now going on their first movie dates only to discover that their partners don’t enjoy the same snacks or like to sit close to the screen. They have also deferred the deeper disruption of integrating another human into their social life. What’s worse is that although the divorce rates are increasing around the world, relationship experts warn the pandemic-induced break-up curve may not have peaked yet, nor does it seem to cool down by even a fraction in the near future. Consequently, whether it be a distant or close relationship, the pandemic impact on relationships has certainly hit both in a more negative than positive manner. Not only has this led people to be swamped by activities―professional or non-professional―but has fueled mental health issues in many cases.

The clear sight of relationships affecting mental health, particularly highlighted by the effect of pandemic on relationships, was already evident from a nearly 80-year Harvard study on happiness. This study proved that embracing community helps us live longer, happier lives. “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation after 80 years of thorough study on both physical and mental health. Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.”

In hindsight, what’s seen post-pandemic is a less-happy generation than the previous one and failure to keep up relationships, a direct pandemic impact on relationships, through no fault of their own. Especially the kids who have turned into teenagers and teenagers who have turned into adults have certainly missed out on social skills. While there are many ways in which this gap can be filled, and for the ones who have just lost connections, one easy and highly effective avenue is by gifting.

People have exchanged gifts since ancient times to forge and strengthen relationships. Gifting has been the most tangible and symbolic way of bonding, whether it be amongst family, friends, or colleagues. Moreover, it is a gesture that expresses gratitude and appreciation toward each other, which tends to further compliment the emotional connections.

A gift that evokes memories or carries special meaning tends to become the most cherished item in a receiver's life as proven by research done by psychologists and top universities around the world. For instance, thoughtful or sentimental gifts can enhance and establish our interpersonal relationships as it tends to originate straight from the giver's heart to receiver’s. Moreover, it is important to note that giving gifts are not limited to special occasions or individuals, nor is it confined to initiate the relationships; gift giving has proven time and again to have helped connect not only individuals but also countries. The Statue of Liberty, for instance, was built as a gift to the United States to commemorate the nation’s success in creating a democratic state. The statue was to act as a symbol of the friendship between France and the United States, with the gift giving representing France’s desire to build a long-lasting relationship with America.

With all these benefits, the small gesture of giving gifts brings, there’s also a side which can completely ruin relationships. Research shows that giving a bad gift can hurt your relationships, worse than any other tangible commodity. So how can you be sure that your gift doesn’t backfire on your relationships?

During the same time that the pandemic was ruining relationships and fueling mental health issues, an evident effect of the pandemic on relationships, founded a company called GiftAFeeling Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Our mission is to educate people on gift-giving through edutainment, particularly focusing on the effect of pandemic on relationships. With the sole goal to help people strengthen their relationships through gifting, GiftAFeeling had launched their book Unearthing the “Gift”, the only book in the world, available online or offline, which considers human psychology and its role in choosing an excellent gift. It is based on the work done by top psychologists around the globe who are researching the art and science of gifting and provides a solution to challenges such as confusion and overthinking that people face while finding a gift for a special person―which could be, but not limited to, family members, friends, and colleagues. This book also discusses modern-day problems that the advent of social media has created or fueled and provides their solutions using the research and studies done on brain psychology.

While the book was one of the condensing and tangible forms of what GiftAFeeling does, GiftAFeeling Inc. is today a highly recognized personalized gifts company that sells customized gifts that are extensively researched to fulfill the major psychological attributes of a perfect gift by providing personalized uniqueness, practical-usefulness, unforgettable experience, and unmatched quality for long-term satisfaction. Moreover, it’s the only company in the world that has a team of in-house psychologists who perform research in gifting psychology to constantly provide the world new breakthroughs in the gifting domain making it a thought leader in the space who has introduced to the world concepts like giftophobia.

There exists a massive challenge in the world: forming and managing relationships, especially considering the pandemic impact on relationships. With the right education to select a sure-to-be-loved gift, informed by scientifically-backed information, gifting aids in strengthening those relationships strained by the pandemic impact. These insights help in living a happier life, providing tools to navigate the complexities brought on by these challenging times.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How have relationships changed since COVID?

Since COVID, relationships have shifted significantly. People value connections more deeply, having experienced isolation. Virtual communication became vital, bridging gaps during lockdowns. The pandemic also brought challenges, testing the strength of relationships. Yet, it led to a renewed appreciation for simple joys and the importance of emotional support in our lives.

2. How has COVID affected our relationships?

COVID has deeply impacted our relationships, emphasizing the value of human connection. Physical distancing heightened reliance on digital communication, fostering creative ways to stay in touch. It's also led to a greater appreciation of face-to-face interactions and underscored the importance of emotional support, reshaping how we connect and communicate.

3. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected socialization?

The Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed socialization, shifting many interactions online. Physical distancing and lockdowns reduced in-person meetups, leading to increased reliance on digital platforms for communication. This shift challenged traditional social norms and highlighted the importance of adaptability and innovation in maintaining relationships in a rapidly changing world.

4. How does COVID affect family relationships?

COVID has significantly impacted family relationships, bringing some families closer through shared experiences and challenges. For others, the stress and isolation have strained bonds. It's led to a greater appreciation for quality time together and emphasized the importance of communication and support in navigating through tough, unprecedented times.

5. How does this pandemic affect your thoughts and feelings?

The pandemic has significantly affected thoughts and feelings, bringing a mix of uncertainty and resilience. It's heightened awareness about health and well-being, and emphasized the value of connection and community. Many have experienced a range of emotions, from anxiety to gratitude, leading to a deeper understanding of personal and collective strength.

6. How did the pandemic impact on relationships?

The pandemic profoundly reshaped relationships, bringing people physically apart but emotionally closer. Many discovered new ways to connect, relying on technology for virtual gatherings. This distance, while challenging, often strengthened bonds, making us value personal connections more deeply. It reminded us of the importance of togetherness, even when apart.

7. What is the effect of pandemic on relationships?

The pandemic reshaped relationships in unique ways. While physical distancing was a challenge, it sparked creativity in staying connected. Many turned to online chats and video calls, bridging gaps. This period highlighted the essence of relationships, teaching us to cherish moments together and find new, heartfelt ways to show we care.

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