If you're allowed 10 friends in your coronavirus lockdown 'bubble'... here's how to choose 

Friends smiling and laughing together
In the coming weeks, the government might let us meet up with a 'bubble' of 10 friends. But who should you pick? Credit: Betsie Van Der Meer/Stone RF

At the weekend my nephew Oskar sent me a video of him dancing in the sun… 'Got to keep up the quarantine spirit’ he captioned it, alongside laughing emojis. It was one of those sweet auntie/nephew moments, and was pure emotional gold.

As the nation slides towards some kind of loosening of lockdown, like the rest of the nation I am in desperate need of reconnecting with my family and friends. As someone who is single and lives on her own, I’m about as isolated as it gets.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSo I nearly shrieked with joy when I read the news that the Government is mooting a plan to get us back together: choosing a ‘bubble’ of 10 close friends and family that we would be able to meet with. In theory it makes perfect sense — a sanctioned opportunity to kick back with a roast, or just drinks in the garden.

The reality is a potential etiquette minefield: think the maddening hell of Christmas Day with the folks and multiply by 100. Factor in warring sisters, (it only takes one off-colour remark for me and my elder sister to descend into a sibling slanging match), mismatched expectations — walk in the park (me) versus cocktails in the garden (Louise, my younger sister) and the whole thing has the ingredients to turn into a flaming row.

But by far the greatest downside I can see is the issue of not being picked. What if those I choose for my bubble don’t want me in theirs?

As the middle child of three girls, FONC (Fear of not being chosen) runs through my life. Apparently this is a common experience. According to the American Psychological Association, being socially ignored can bring out our most fundamental fears of rejection — even a flicker of feeling as though I’m not one of the gang transports me back to the playground, aged 9, being pelted with sand balls.

So before you send off the ‘be in my group’ request, it pays to think carefully: in these times of crisis, certain friends fare better than others. Here are the six people we all need in our corona bubble:

The friend who makes you laugh

She is a comic ray of light in our dark Corona World. She will wear her facemask the wrong way round, and she will be the one to send you the funny loo roll jokes. The human equivalent of a stiff G&T, even though she is just as scared as everyone else, she can turn the world into a joke. Given the dizzying array of depressing statistics, at the moment she is a cherished friend to have around.

The neighbour

Just round the corner to do the quid-pro-quo food drop when you’re mid-virtual yoga and have run out of eggs. Besides, you have been waving at each other from across the street for the last five weeks, it makes sense that she is the one you invite round for a catch up. The good news is, she will have all the local gossip and you don’t have to worry about getting drunk. Staggering down the street is easy, when you only have to venture a few doors away.

The old friend

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWhether you met each other at school or were besties at college, you have known each other for yonks. In these uncertain times it’s useful to have someone you don’t have to explain yourself to. They won’t judge your Covid meltdown, or roll their eyes when they pop round and your flat is a mess. The OF knows just how you will be feeling and will always send you a ‘don’t worry, stay safe’ text. Definitely a keeper.

Dettol freak

Ferociously stockpiled surgical masks and gloves back in January. "Well, must be prepared," she says as she squirts sanitiser on your hands. Faintly irritating in normal times — the one to wipe down mugs at the local cafe — but when the going gets tough, she is corona gold. Just make sure she doesn’t Dettol the contents of the fruit bowl, or the kids.

The friend who calms you down

When the world around us is in chaos, the CF is a sea of calm: steadfast, consistent, and with all the facts and figures at her fingertips. "Hang on, only five percent of the country are infected," she will point out as you feel a panic attack coming on. "And just because a spluttering jogger coughed when he ran past you does not mean automatic infection and a week on a ventilator." She will tell you to ‘get a grip’ in that non-judgmental way that somehow provides a vague sense of peace.

The friend with the house in the country

You’ve been waiting for an invite since corona hit the streets and if you play your cards right, you may find yourself in that lovely five bedroom manor house in deepest Sussex. The dodgy WiFi in their part of the countryside means you are cut off from the outside world (and Zoom parties2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app): time listening to terrifying corona statistics are swapped for fireside chats. Bliss.