Care and Feeding

I Can’t Stand Another Lockdown Without My Friends

As an extroverted teen, the spring one was awful. Do I really have to do it again?

A teen girl looks frustrated with a mask on.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

I live in a suburb outside of a big city where the number of COVID cases have been going up. I’m a 13-year-old girl, and I have always been a very social person, so when we went into full-on lockdowns, I felt extremely lonely. I would do Zooms with my friends, but I felt like I couldn’t connect with them. It made me very sad, and I really was having a hard time coping, so when the restrictions started to lighten up, I started to hang out with my friends in person again. Always masked, socially distant, and outdoors. Now that the cases are rising again, my mom says I can’t go out anymore. This has just broken my heart.

I miss my friends, and they are still hanging out together. I’ve asked my mom if I could just maybe size down my bubble. And only hang out with three friends instead of the five I’m hanging out with currently. It’s always the same thing, “Maybe when the numbers go down,” but the numbers aren’t going down! I miss them terribly, and I can’t bear to tell one more friend that I can’t go out because of the numbers going out.

—Mom, I Miss My Friends

Dear M.I.M.M.F.,

I know how you feel. I miss my friends too, so badly, and most of them live on the other side of the country, so we can’t even see one another from a 6-foot distance right now. Everything about this sucks, it is not fun, it is terrible and I hate it. Unfortunately, a pandemic does not care about our boredom, sadness, or frustration over being separated from our friends. Had people in this country done more to socially distance and slow the spread months ago, we may be closer to returning to some sort of normal. That hasn’t happened. People, adult people who should know better, have chosen to do what they wanted and what makes them feel happiest instead of doing what was right. And so here we are.

I wish I had a happier answer for you, but until this thing is over, you’re gonna have to stay down like the rest of us. Kids your age have died. People are getting sick left and right, and we don’t know the long-term effects of COVID just yet. Hold on, be strong, get back to those Zoom calls, and do your part to help us make it through this nightmare safely. If you need some additional support, tell your mom. Sending you love and hoping for all of us that things get better as soon as possible.