According to a research commissioned by the community app, MyGate, 81 per cent of people are now more connected with their neighbours and neighbourhood than they were before the pandemic. The survey also revealed that people now consider neighbours, as well as their domestic assistance, local vendors, and support staff, to be part of their 'trust circle.'
People are relying more on their neighbours and the local community to help them deal with the pandemic, or any emergencies, than they are on friends and relatives due to increased distances not only socially, but also relationally, according to the report.
This is true for people of all ages, the survey found. For example, 28 per cent of Gen Z respondents stated they rely on their neighbourhood more than they rely on close family/close relatives (22 per cent) or friends (25 per cent).
The practise runs counter to the norm in the pre-pandemic age, when most people lived in nuclear families, and silos and microcosms existed.
Now, 38 per cent of the 2,867 Indians who were surveyed say they feel comfortable leaving their house keys with their neighbours while they go out, and 73 per cent say they engage with their domestic assistance and service personnel in ways other than work, such as offering tea or coffee or assisting them with small loans.
Over the last year, social media has been rife with stories of neighbours shopping for COVID-19 positive families, assisting elderly residents, donating food packets to migrants, and alleviating the financial hardships of their community service staff, indicating that people consider those in their immediate vicinity as part of their social circle as well.
Vijay Arisetty, CEO and co-founder of MyGate, said in a statement, “It has been heartening to hear the many stories of neighbours coming closer together to tackle this unprecedented situation for over a year now. From this research, we can infer that these stories are not mere anomalies but the real expansion of our ‘Trust Circle’".
He further added, "The pandemic has re-infused the need to be connected with one’s neighbours, with all demographics showing greater trust in members of the neighbourhood than before, be it the family next door, the local chemist or the apartment security guard."
Technology has played a key role in all of this, with 90 per cent of respondents stating Zoom, WhatsApp video, Skype, and Google Meet have helped them solve community issues more effectively.