[Ed. – Curiously, the pandemic has mainly reinforced for me a lot of things I already knew. Interesting that this subject is 35.]
It took a global pandemic and a badly timed breakup for Manny Argueta to realize just how far he had grown apart from his guy friends.
In the spring, after the 35-year-old had left the home he shared with his former girlfriend and moved into a studio in Falls Church, Va., on his own, he would go an entire week without saying a word. There were no more game days with the guys, no more Friday nights in D.C. bars, and Argueta was starved for social interaction. He returned to his PlayStation 4, jumping on the microphone with a stranger while playing “Overwatch” just to hear someone’s voice. He discovered the messaging app Discord and started chatting with his old gamer friends and watching them play “Mortal Kombat 11” — even when he didn’t have the game set up himself.
He started recognizing how dependent his friendships had become on those Sunday football games and nights at 14th Street lounges, on venting about Republicans or why the Caps fell short in the playoffs.