31% Of Malaysians Feel Lonelier Since The Pandemic Started

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves but with lockdowns taking place globally, many of us are unable to meet.

Thankfully, we have technology. According to Snap Inc.’s second global Friendship study, majority of Malaysians say that they are using online channels to communicate more than they would have before COVID-19 (81%) and many of these conversations are deeper and more intimate (59%). 

31% of malaysians feel lonelier since the pandemic startedPhoto via Threatpost

However, despite the uptick in outreach to friends and the deeper communication via digital channels, loneliness is on the rise. Half of the respondents in the study expressed that COVID-19 has affected their friendships agreeing with the statement that they “felt more distant from friends because they couldn’t spend time in-person.” 31% of those surveyed said that they have felt lonely since the pandemic started, a 10% increase from pre-pandemic times. 

This is something that all of us have been feeling to some degree. But seeing the data and statistics reflect our personal experiences is validating. 

On the bright side, loneliness is also driving us to create connection. The study showed that more than a third (39%) of respondents now cherish their friends more. More than half of the respondents are making the choice to reach out to friends they haven’t spoken to in awhile. 

In the previous friendship study, childhood friendships were shown to have a huge impact on happiness and wellbeing. However, 29% of Malaysian respondents have unfortunately lost touch with a close friend. 59% expressed wishes to rekindle these relationships. 

But how do we rekindle these relationships? The study showed that most Malaysians relied on photographs of shared memories of the past (52%) or photographs that reminded them of each other (49%). Humour in the form of GIFs and memes were also popular with 44% of Malaysians surveyed believing that they were the best conversation starters. Slightly over a third (37%) wanted tools to help communicate with their long lost friends. 

Did any of your friends come into mind?

Reach out to them today. There are so many ways to have fun together even while apart.

In response to the findings, Snap is launching the Friendship Time Capsule, a collaborative photo collage which enables friends to create new memories of times to come. 

31% of malaysians feel lonelier since the pandemic startedPictured: Ismail Izzani and his friend Asraf Zainnudin.

Malaysian singer-songwriter Ismail Izzani took the chance to create his own Friendship capsule with his close friend Asraf Zainnudin. He explained that “Asraf and I are currently at different life stages as he recently got married and I’m focusing on my career. However, keeping in touch means a lot to us and finding new ways to do that has been part of the fun, especially in a time of COVID-19.”

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that your supporting network of friends and family are precious. No man was born to be an island. 

BRB, we have some calls to make. 

By: Catalina Hubbard