NEW YORK — Americans are ready to start the party once the coronavirus pandemic ends. However, it isn’t big crowds not wearing masks they fear, it’s losing their gift of gab. A new study finds 38 percent of Americans worry about being unable to make small talk when it’s safe to get together with others.
The new poll of 2,002 Americans also reveals 34 percent of respondents feel they’ve become more awkward due to ongoing isolation over the past year. Researchers say it’s been four whole months since the average American has had a meaningful conversation.
The study, conducted by Evite in conjunction with OnePoll, examined just how people anticipate celebrating and gathering together as soon as it’s safe to do so. For one in three Americans, even a little awkwardness won’t stand in their way of socializing again. Thirty-six percent say they’ll be sure to go out of their way to attend events they avoided during COVID.As soon as officials declare the pandemic over, 42 percent of Americans plan on throwing the biggest part of their entire lives. The average American estimates they will end up spending $140 on their first night out post-COVID-19.
A third even plan on saying “yes” to every single invitation they receive for the next year; even ones they might have declined in the past. These previously dreaded events include weddings (44%), baby showers (34%), and bachelor/bachelorette parties (27%).
Since 2020 limited how people celebrated birthdays and other milestones, 36 percent feel like their 2020 birthday didn’t count at all. As a result, over a quarter (26%) plan on re-doing their birthday and making up for the lack of celebration in the past year when safety measures end. People are optimistic about celebrating soon, with the hope that more people will receive vaccines in the near future. Nearly one in four (24%) are already starting to plan a “past birthday” celebration for the future.
Thirty-two percent are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to post-COVID socializing. These Americans say they’ll likely be the first person in their friend group to host a party as soon in-person gatherings return.
“As the vaccine continues to roll-out across the country, people have high hopes of celebrating with their friends and family soon. In fact, people are eager to RSVP “yes” again so they can get out into the world, connect face-to-face, and make up for missed milestones,” says Casey Martinez, Party Specialist for Evite, in a statement.For the average respondent, it’s been five months since they have seen a close friend. As a result, nearly half the poll (47%) feel more disconnected from their friends and family than they have ever felt before.
“The pandemic has truly taken a toll on the lives of Americans. People have been stuck indoors for over a year now and have missed out on a lot as a result. It’s natural to feel disconnected after so much time apart, but no one should let that stop them from getting back out there. It’s certainly okay to plan a smaller gathering at first or even a pre-party party to get your bearings before going into larger party settings. We’re all a little rusty at socialization, but the feeling of being close with your friends and family after a year is worth the effort.” Martinez adds.