Brankin: It’s okay to cut out friends who aren’t social distancing

People who are really your friends won’t want to put your health at risk.


Tara Brankin

If you’re anything like me, scrolling through Snapchat and Instagram recently has made your blood boil. People of all ages are posing for pictures with their friends while ignoring basic social distancing guidelines, as if the coronavirus isn’t continuing to ravage the United States. It’s mind boggling and borderline horrifying that people are willing to put themselves and their peers at risk for one night out with their friends. What’s even more disturbing is that people who want to be conscientious of those around them might feel pressured to abandon their principles, so they don’t lose their social group.

It’s okay to end friendships with people who think COVID-19 isn’t something to worry about. Whether or not you have a pre-existing condition, going out — especially if you’re not wearing a mask — is wildly irresponsible. More importantly, if you feel uncomfortable with going out, you should not feel pressured by your peers to put your health on the line. True friends won’t want to make you uncomfortable, especially during a pandemic that has taken the lives of some 200,000 people in the U.S. and almost a million people worldwide. Your health and the well-being of those around you is worth much more than one hang out with your peers.

While we might want this school year to be like any other, that is simply not going to happen. We cannot pretend like everything is normal, and we must adjust ourselves accordingly, even if that means losing out on some cute Instagram pictures or a funny, slightly blurry Snapchat story of your friend(s) doing something humorous. The short-term amusement simply isn’t worth it in the long run.

Pretending the pandemic does not exist is not going to make it go away, though social media makes it seem like it. No matter how many pictures you see of your peers standing cheek to cheek, people all over the country and the world are dying. Family members and friends are succumbing to the coronavirus, and it’s not going to end any time soon if you continue to hang out in large groups of people or leave the house without a mask.

It is also completely possible to hang out with people without violating social distancing guidelines. Have a socially distanced picnic at a park, go for a bike ride or just sit outside six feet apart. Wearing a mask does not mean you can’t have fun. In order for COVID-19 cases to subside, we all need to do our part, even if that means sacrificing time with friends. If you’re uncomfortable with your friends’ actions right now, it’s completely fine to cut them out. There are plenty of things to worry about right now, but the pressure to sacrifice your health and the health of those around you should not be one of them.