Keeping up with friendships lately has been challenging due to recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems that many people hold different views on the severity of the current virus. For example, I have many friends who have had enough of quarantining and have eaten out at a variety of different restaurants ever since places have opened up, while I also have my friends who have still not left the house and who I have not seen once! Is it possible for COVID-Cautious to be friends with COVID-Casuals individuals? Let’s explore the different following stories and find out!

First of all, many people who have close friends or family members who have been affected by the virus or have even lost their lives from the pandemic are in consequence being much more cautious and careful with who they come in contact with. Losing a loved one from such a tragedy can make one paranoid, as they have witnessed first hand the awful consequences of the Coronavirus. For example, one of my very good friends named Ashley has unfortunately lost her grand-father to COVID-19 not too long ago. The funeral was held on zoom, and due to this tragedy, Ashley has stayed in the comfort and safety of her own home. She has not eaten out in months and has not visited any public places or ordered out. She orders everything she needs online, and has been taking all the necessary precautions to keep safe. On top of it all, she is not going out even if places are opening back up. Ashley greatly believes that a second wave of the pandemic is coming, and will be much worse. Ashley is the perfect example of a COVID-Cautious individual!

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Now, on the other side of the spectrum, I have a whole lot of friends and acquaintances who I see living their best life as if there is no pandemic. Most of these open minded people have been eating out at restaurants, going out to bars and clubs, visiting the malls and exploring the city! This can be described as a COVID-Casual person, who takes the situation in a lighter manner. My good friend Joshua has been going out since the minute companies began opening, This friend of mine has not lost anyone due to COVID or has not known anybody affected by it, so he believes in many different conspiracies behind the topic. For example, Joshua has tried to convince others that COVID is a way to control the world with the upcoming vaccine. While Joshua is doubting the virus and is living his life to the fullest, there are other people who believe in the virus and are still living their best life.

A perfect example of such a case is my friend Monica. Monica has lost her uncle from COVID-19, but is still going out as if there is no virus. Why? She explains that she is a young and active individual who believes she would be able to beat it if she did end up getting the virus. Even though she is mourning the loss of her family member, she still wants to go back to work and do fun activities with her friends. She still wears a mask at some places and always carries hand sanitizer around with her, however she will not stop herself from going out due to the virus. She strongly believes that she will be fine, even though the high statistics of deaths every day from this virus.

This brings us to the following debate… Is it selfish to go out if you have older family members around? It is risky to put older people around us at risk. Personally, I have family members that are very high risk. Therefore, I do not go out to clubs or restaurants. I believe that it is a very personal decision, and we live in a free country to do what we please. However, it is important to take the proper precautions for those around you. I have many friends who have been inviting me out, but I cannot attend these events due to the virus. As I decline the invitations, I can’t help but wonder if my friendship with these people will be affected. For the most part, all of my friends have been very understanding and respect that I want to be cautious. Although I have lost physical contact with most people, I still take the time to check up on them through the phone. People are becoming more and more judgemental towards other people. Cautious people are judging the casual people, while the casual people are judging the cautious people. It is important for society to understand that everybody has different views and experiences with this pandemic, and to stop judging individuals’ decisions

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Nowadays, many people have the option to work from home. Although many people have started working back in their work environment, some employees still have anxiety about the pandemic. Some workers are extremely cautious, while others are back to work as if nothing has happened. Respecting each other’s boundaries and space at the workplace is extremely important, especially with all of the measures companies are putting in place for safety purposes to stay open. Keeping friendships during these hard times sure can be difficult, but nobody has ever experienced a pandemic like this and we are all learning and adapting every day. If a friend is upset with you for being cautious, then they are not a very good friend nevertheless. For example, I have lost contact with one of my good friends due to lack of communication. Although I have tried to contact them, the virus has affected their mental health to the point where I have not heard anything at all from them. These hard times bring hardships upon many people, and it is important to understand the anxiety behind COVID-Cautious individuals. 

Finally, can COVID-casuals be friends with COVID-cautious individuals? Based on my peers and I’s experiences, it really depends on the mental health of the people in the friendship and the effort put into keeping a healthy relationship. It is important to communicate and respect one another’s needs.