Governments can't help. We'll have to rebuild social lives for ourselves

We live in uncertain times, and the pandemic has shifted ground that we always assumed stable. Our original research displays the concerning psychological consequences of this instability, with widespread suffering at the hands of COVID-19. However, as normalcy appears on the horizon, now is the time to begin rebuilding a sense of certainty and stability. Expect fethr to be front and centre of this process.

Isolated from friends, with life plans shot to pieces and constant fears about health, almost half of those surveyed by fethr felt bad or very bad during COVID-19. This is consistent with data from the Office for National Statistics, which shows that UK depression rates have doubled since the start of the pandemic.

And if we’re honest, the government has only made these already harrowing figures worse; if anything, feelings of uncertainty have been heightened by the ministerial contributions. Lockdowns often came too late. Country-wide rules were hypocritically forsaken by the very people in charge of writing them (yes, we’re looking at you Messrs Hancock and Cummings). YouGov data from January showed that 6 in 10 people thought the government was handling the pandemic badly.

Nobody’s known what the future could possibly hold because the people we elect to keep us safe have appeared worryingly hapless. This explains why, when we conducted our poll a few months ago, we found that 59% of Londoners were sceptical that life would start to return to normal in the near future.

Fortunately, the worst of the pandemic is finally behind us in the UK. It feels good to be moving in the right direction. Cautiously at first, and then with more urgency, we can start to look for stability once again. We can begin rebuilding, taking care of our mental health, and reconstructing dilapidated social lives.

It will be no trivial task. The sun is shining, and the virus is finally waning, and yet people are emerging bleary eyed from their isolation feeling as if their ability to socialise has suffered – as if they must learn the rules of making friends all over. Of course, that’s not the case. People will feel back to their old selves pretty quickly. But fethr will have an important role to play in restoring that sense of certainty.

Although 52% of Londoners are confident they want to socialise, and 42% want to meet new people, a significant proportion are wary about mingling once more. Wondering who might be open to meeting you is a social anxiety at the best of times. Now it’s even more of a problem. Mouths concealed by masks make emotions difficult to communicate, and some people won’t want to meet as many new people as in the past. The fethr app arrives in the market at the perfect time to get people back out there and socialising, while also catering to subtle changes in our social habits.

Everyone who attends a fethr meet is there to meet people and have fun and so uncertainty is negated. Barriers to connection are dismantled wherever possible. And the heartbreaking mental health statistics seen in our research will be counteracted by rebuilding support networks and reaping the dopamine-rich benefits of in-person interaction.

For those people who are still on the fence about getting back out there and rekindling their social lives, fethr’s emphasis on safety should comfort fears. Meets are limited to groups of 4-6, and everyone is individually verified before they can join the platform. If you'd rather limit your socialising to outside, we've got an option for that too. The environment is as COVID-secure as possible.

The sooner we can re-establish an equilibrium in our social lives the better. Even if life doesn’t return to the normality we were once used to just yet, fethr provides the best possible solution for meeting new people in the world that we currently live in. We want to help people feel safe enough to enjoy hanging out with mates again worry-free - to succeed where the government has failed and leave nobody left behind.

Above all, fethr provides certainty via our algorithm. With artificial intelligence on your side, you have a major head start because you can be certain the people you’re meeting share your values, interests and traits. In a world rife with insecurity and uncertainty, you won’t be going in blind. Fethr is a space where you can be sure that everyone is on the same page. When you have some certainty you can begin to embrace the spontaneous once again.

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