A newly-released Snapchat Friendship Report found that 31% of Malaysians felt lonely ever since the pandemic started.
As COVID-19 cases continue to be on the rise, more Malaysians opted to use online channels to communicate with family and friends.
Other findings include:
- More Malaysians use online channels to communicate before COVID-19 (81%)
- Conversations have been deeper vs previous more surface-level topics (59%)
- Malaysians find digital tools have helped friends maintain their relationship, regardless of age (85%)
10% increase in loneliness before pandemic
Even though there’s been an uptick in outreach to friends, COVID-19 has also led to loneliness for some. 31% of those we surveyed said they’ve felt lonely since the pandemic started, which is 10% higher than pre-COVID-19.
In total, a third of people surveyed said that,
- COVID-19 has affected their friendships (35%)
- 54% saying that it has led to them not feeling as close to their friends
- Nearly half of those surveyed agreed that they “felt more distant from friends because they couldn’t spend time in-person” (46%).
According to Dr. Nur Hafeeza Ahmad Pazil, Senior Lecturer of Anthropology and Sociology, Universiti Sains Malaysia,
“People perceive friendships as important relationships and idealise a close friend as a person whom they trust, love unconditionally, feel comfortable with, and show their real self to. Self-disclosure is a part of the process of building the qualities of intimacy in which disclosing self and intimacy are associated with high levels of trust, and people usually relate intimacy by keeping ‘others’ at a distance.”
The upside is that, with the pandemic causing so much isolation, people genuinely want to reach out and check in on those they care about.
Over a third of people (39%) say their friendships are more important to them now and over half of us are making an intentional choice to reach out to friends that they haven’t spoken to in a while (54%).
In efforts to increase more interaction between Malaysians, Snapchat has launched the Friendship Time Capsule, a collaborative photo collage allowing Snapchatters to create a new shared memory between themselves and a friend. Celebrities around the world including Lewis Capaldi and Malaysian singer-songwriter Ismail Izzani have used the feature to reach out to their friends.
Whether you’re using digital tools like Snapchat to continuously keep in touch, or plain calling them on mobile, make sure to keep your mental health in check by socialising as Malaysia has seen a huge leap in people showing signs of depression.
Remember to reach out to your loved ones and ask how they’re doing!
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