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Image / Editorial

Social Distance Project: the anonymous Instagram account where people vent about life under lockdown


by Erin Lindsay
20th Apr 2020
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Feel like your life is morphing into a sitcom about living under lockdown? A new Instagram project is grouping together confessions from social distancing


When little else provides entertainment, where do you turn during lockdown to escape… well, lockdown? The mini-dramatics of other people’s lives have always provided our nosy senses with reprieve during particularly long spells of boredom — reality TV, arguments in the Facebook comments, and nosying on people’s IG stories are all favourites — and now, during what is perhaps the longest universal spell of boredom we’ve ever had, a new social media project has come forward.

The Social Distance Project began, as many new ventures often do these day, on Twitter. User Meg Zukin, who works in writing and social media for Variety magazine, reached out to the internet for tales of relationship drama under quarantine.

According to the project’s website, Zukin got so many responses that she dedicated a Google Doc to showcase them, asking anyone who wished to view it for a $1 donation. Nosy-ness won out and Zukin raised over $5,000 before turning the Google Doc into a free and public website, where she still accepts donations (the running total is nearing $10,000).

The project asked for relationship drama and, as we can read from its entries, every facet is covered. Couples with children, couples on the frontline, couples who are quarantining apart, newly single people, newly engaged people, those on the verge of breaking up, and those who already have, all send snippets of their daily micro-dramas to the project for publication to the masses, so that we can all feel a little less alone.

Each and every story is relatable, mostly because of their mundanity — arguments span from the serious to the comical and back again. One story details an affair that was found out right before lockdown measures, leaving the author alone and mulling the complexities of forbidden love — the next sees a couple argue about the husband farting too much. While one couple breaks up because of a partner’s mental health issues, another argues over the dishwasher.

At a time where everyone is struggling to connect with one another, the knowledge that we are each going through our own individual soap operas while cooped up at home is not only entertaining, it’s comforting too. Having your tenth argument of the day over the way your partner breathes while working can make you feel like you’re failing at this whole quarantine thing — as if the endless pressure for productivity or for your fitness levels to shoot through the roof weren’t enough, now your relationship is sagging at the seams too.

But as the Social Distance Project shows, the myth of a harmonious self-isolation relationship is bullshit — romantically baking banana bread and having sex 10 times a day with your partner is not exactly realistic when we’re all dealing with the most anxiety-inducing global event in a generation.

Tensions are strained, arguments are more frequent, and it’s completely normal to feel less than thrilled at the prospect of another month of quarantine. If you don’t believe me, spend an hour scrolling through the Project — at the very least, it’s an hour less spent arguing over farts and dishwashers.

Featured image: The Social Distancing Project


Read moreEsther O’Moore Donohoe: This domestic, lockdown life is getting more rock and roll by the second

Read more: ‘I’ve embraced doing (almost) nothing during quarantine – but it hasn’t turned out as I hoped’

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