My Totally-Official COVID Winter Friendship Survey Results

A photo of a city street at night, it's raining and we see a person from behind carrying a large umbrella.
Photo by Osman Rana.

I recently ran a little Instagram survey to get a better idea of what it might be like to try to survive fall and winter during COVID.

Specifically, I wanted to know what people think they might be up for in terms of socializing when we don't have the sunny freedom of easy and safe outdoor hangs. From October on, it'll be rainy misery in Vancouver, and I need to know how much to prepare myself for severe and total isolation!

Here's what I got:

85% of people think they will be totally game to throw on some rain gear, grab an umbrella, and go for a walk in the rain.

86% of people are down to dress warmly and gather in some kind of covered outdoor space, be it a picnic shelter in a park or a covered patio at a restaurant.

60% of people were okay with the idea of being indoors with people if the space was big enough to spread out, and that number grew to 85% once everyone masked up.

My conclusions:

Most people expect to be up to brave the rain and get together outdoors for the sake of friendship. This willingness increases slightly when there is shelter. (Although interestingly, one friend was up for walks in the rain, but not sitting under a shelter.)

Most people were also okay with masked indoor hangs, if there was space for distance. Although plenty of people added comments that it depended entirely on who the people were, how many there were, where the space was, and how long they were there.

There were also a few write-in comments about things like making some very strict bubble decisions for the fall and then sticking with those people only or only doing one-on-one hangs.

My predictions:

People won't be quite as willing to go out in the rain as they currently predict, but more willing than usual. As such, there might be a run on rain gear purchases, so it may be smart to stock up now if you aren't well-supplied.

Hangs will generally be shorter with less lingering and spontaneity.

People and restaurants with covered, heated outdoor spaces will become very popular.

Bubble choices will become a much bigger deal.

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