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.theguardian - 8 days ago

Why casual chats with strangers are the thing many of us miss the most

A brief encounter with a stranger on the bus or at the pub may seem trivial, but in the coronavirus era these ‘weak social ties’ are crucialHas there been a month in my life before when I’ve not met a single new person? In the last couple of months the only folk I’ve seen have been people I know: my husband, our neighbours. In pre-virus days I’d have met new people in the pub (this is G we talk to one another here), at work events or at friends’ parties. I’d have chatted to the newsagent, the bus driver or the person at the checkout.These more removed contacts are called weak ties, in sociology speak, and they are the people social distancing has removed from our lives. There is no socialising. Time in shops is under pressure and you have to be as quick as possible, with the humanity removed by masks and distance. Many of us might think that’s not much of a loss: but the truth couldn’t be starker. Because weak ties, it turns out, are essential in good times – and in the coronavirus era, they are more crucial than ever. Continue reading...

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