“You’re Not Being Serious Enough!”: Renegotiating Relationships during Lockdown

  • Lauren Dempsey University of Nottingham
Keywords: COVID-19, UK lockdown, computer-mediated communication, relationships, face-to-face communication


The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 led to a UK lockdown, where citizens were asked to stay at home for an undefined period. This forced people to make sudden decisions regarding where to live and who they would not see. Through 18 semi-structured interviews with individuals aged 27-72, this paper explores how people maintained friend-based, romantic, familial and professional relationships during lockdown in Spring 2020. The enforced separation following lockdown motivated people to reconsider how they conducted relationships in and outside the home. Within the household, people verbally and physically renegotiated boundaries to ensure relationship harmony. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) was utilised to maintain connections with estranged relationships, as people accessed new platforms to replicate familiar face-to-face (F2F) processes online. This article considers the disruption to relationships experienced during this time, providing an in-the-moment insight into the use of CMC in maintaining relationships during the first UK lockdown.

July 5, 2021
How to Cite
Dempsey, L. (2021). “You’re Not Being Serious Enough!”: Renegotiating Relationships during Lockdown. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 14(1), 75–93. https://doi.org/10.31165/nk.2021.141.632