Where has all the Covid kindness gone?

Shelley-Anne Salisbury has seen first hand how stalwart and generous the community of Hampstead Garden Suburb is.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury has seen first hand how stalwart and generous the community of Hampstead Garden Suburb is. - Credit: Shelley-Anne Salisbury

Is it just me or have people become less kind recently?

Over the last couple of weeks it’s taken me longer and longer to get out of my drive to take my daughter to school. My road tends to be busy during the school run and, these days, no one is giving an inch.

There’s none of the previous friendly waving me in to join the fray. As I try to pull out, my only option is to be bold and assertive. The aggressive beeping from furious drivers is definitely not justified and certainly not kindly.

I’ve also noticed reports on neighbourhood apps of increasingly unfriendly and rude behaviour. There appears to be a lot of shouting out there. It makes for depressing reading.

Queuing for a coffee last week in Kenwood on our weekly dog walk, my friend Kate and I noticed a distinct lack of jovial banter – the type Brits are usually so good at in a crisis.

There was scant bonhomie, just irritation and tutting.

Socially distanced queueing has sorely tested everyone’s patience and it’s clear we’ve all had quite enough.

People are divided about Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods

Drivers attitudes have changed over the last couple of weeks - Credit: PA Images

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Gone are the days when people felt a certain nostalgia for the “we’re all in it together” era, the blitz mentality - despite the majority having never actually lived through WW2. Now it’s more of a “we’re all out for ourselves” type mindset.

And it’s global. My overseas friends tell me they’re experiencing the same attitudinal shifts. When I was discussing this with an American friend she told me “Everyone is angry, no one feels listened to but if you even dare try to give your opinion, you’ll be immediately slammed back”.

Admittedly, the lockdowns meant a slower pace of life, but as we emerge from what is billed by the government as the UK’s final lockdown, everyone is speeding right back up.

What happened to the smiles, the courtesy, the thoughtfulness? Where has all the congeniality and camaraderie gone? Are we just reverting to type? Have we really learned nothing from our months of isolation? It seems not - but I do hope I’m wrong.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury is co-editor of Suburb News.

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