LG: Is there any psychological upside to what we’ve all been going through?

MS: I would say that it probably, at least for, I will say anecdotally for me, it has made me better able to write things out with my own brain, as scary as that is, like as a single person in an apartment, being able to manage that. Psychologists and sociologists have been talking about … You would expect that this has put a lot of strain on marriages, in particular, but some of them have told me, well, maybe is actually good for a lot of marriages. Maybe a couple wasn’t able to spend as much time together, and this actually forced them in a certain way to stay together, and maybe that has worked out for the better.

So, when I’m writing about these things, I’m trying as best I can to find the silver lining and just trying to squash my negativity as much as possible. So, I think that there are ways that people have bettered themselves throughout all of this. But again, this comes back to inequities. It’s a place of privilege. A lot of people have really, really suffered through this because they had essential jobs. They got sick. They have lost loved ones. That’s going to be very difficult to come the other side of. So, it’s important, I think, to put that in perspective,

LG: Anecdotally, I’ve heard of more relationships ending than being strengthened during this time. I don’t know about you guys.

MS: It makes sense. But maybe one out of 10 has actually gotten better.

LG: There you go.

MS: I don’t know. I’m just trying to be hopeful as best I can. Don’t drag me down, Lauren.

LG: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Matt. I didn’t mean to bring you down at all, but maybe that is good news for people who are newly out of relationships too. Maybe it means there’s something that lies ahead. All right. We’re going to take a break and then come back and talk about how exactly to ease back into social interactions.

[Break]

LG: Welcome back. Let’s talk about socializing. Let’s talk about socializing, playing sports, going back to offices. If these all sound daunting after a year of social distancing, I’m with you. You are not alone, but luckily we’ve got some advice on how to adjust back to what we used to call normal. And I’m going to turn to Alan for this. Alan, you run WIRED’s how-to coverage and advice coverage. So, tell me what to do. Tell us all what to do here.

AH: So, yeah, I think that the first thing is not to put too much pressure on yourself to rush back to normal. Normal’s going to be different for a lot of us. Like we were talking about earlier, there’s some people… I was in a panel a couple of weeks ago, no, a couple of days ago—wow, time flies—with someone who is a Covid long-hauler. And for those folks, there will never be a normal again. They will have persistent, chronic health issues for the rest of their lives. So if you are lucky enough to have been relatively healthy and well, working from home, and you’re thinking, “Oh, well, I got my vaccine. Now what do I do?” Well, OK, if you’re the first person in your community to get the vaccine, then congratulations. You get to stay home a bit longer until everybody else gets it, because it’s not like you’re going to brunch anytime soon.