COVID-19 is evaporating casual connections and why that’s bad

Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 14:11 in Psychology & Sociology

It’s the conversations with a local barista, a bus driver, a casual work acquaintance, or a person in line at the store that make up what the experts call “weak ties”: individuals we don’t know well, if at all, but who nevertheless contribute to our happiness and sense of belonging. These encounters have largely gone missing with the advent of stay-at-home orders and lockdowns issued in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, and that loss could be taking a significant toll on our emotional health and professional productivity. “These ties are critical to our well-being because they end up giving us the opportunity to vent, confide, brainstorm, and discuss things that we think are important,” said Mario Luis Small, Harvard’s Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology, who studies personal networks. “Because of COVID-19 we don’t have that many opportunities to just run into people anymore, not just strangers, but also those...

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