Since March 2020, Victorians have become somewhat accustomed to lockdowns. They've been tough, but they've also seen us do something few (if any) other jurisdictions have achieved anywhere else in the world – namely bring a second wave down to zero and control (fingers crossed) highly infectious delta variant outbreaks.
That doesn't make them any easier, especially when interstate family and friends who aren't locked down accidentally say things that don't quite land as they're intended.
Here's what Victoria really doesn't want to hear when in lockdown – and a few things we’d really love to hear instead.
17 things you shouldn’t say to Melburnians under lockdown
“Did you get up to much on the weekend?”
Strong no. We got up to nothing.
“At least you have a reason not to exercise.”
You will never want to exercise more than when someone tells you that you can only do so under certain conditions.
“I know how you feel.”
This one has changed slightly since Melbourne's second lockdown – we appreciate that a number of states do know how it feels to be rapidly thrust into lockdowns, or to endure indeterminate ones. Only say this if you mean it.
“It must be nice to have so much peace and quiet.”
Some people might be enjoying the silence – but for others, it’s an eerie experience.
“Now you have an excuse to bail on things.”
We would love to have the option to bail on things, instead of them being canned at the last minute.
“At least you’re saving money because you can’t go out.”
Lots of people have had their employment affected during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns. Many people are not saving money because they are not making any.
“Ugh, I’d hate to have to wear a mask all the time.”
It’s really not a big deal. Maybe you should try it.
“Just do the right thing and it’ll be over soon.”
Thank you, armchair expert, we hadn’t thought of that!
“We’re all in this together.”
Yeah, this one's just a little bit clichéd at this point.
“We had lockdowns in [literally any other state] too, they’re not so bad.”
At the time of writing, Melbourne is up to its sixth lockdown. We don't want to diminish what other states have or are going through, but we're really bloody tired at this point.
“My day sucked, I had to stay inside and study/work all day.”
If you chose to stay inside and study or work all day, that is better than having to do so because it was the only option.
“Take a look at these cool photos I took on my weekend away.”
There are probably some Victorians who enjoy seeing their interstate friends' travel photos. We’re happy you have freedom. But be mindful that this might remind some of us of everything we can’t do.
“This will be over soon.”
Unless you are Brett Sutton, we don’t want to hear it.
“If you guys had just followed the rules you wouldn’t be in this position.”
Oof we hope no one actually thinks this is something you should say. Not even as a joke. Most people have been following the rules. All gazillion of them. We want this over. No one would spread this virus knowingly. All this statement does is add insult to injury.
“The numbers should be coming down faster than this.”
Do you have a PhD in epidemiology and/or virology? Unless the answer is yes, you are not qualified to speculate on this.
“Oh sorry, I forgot about our Zoom call and I went out to a party. It was just Zoom. I didn’t think it was, you know, real.”
That Zoom date was the only thing in our calendars, and we had been looking forward to it all week.
“Lots of other places/people have it much worse than you, be grateful you don’t live in [X] place.”
Imagine someone punched out your teeth and then said, “Lots of people have it worse than you.” Yeah, they do. But it still sucks.
And 11 things that you should say
“I’m here for you.”
That sentence kind of feels like a hug. Thank you.
“If you need to talk (or rant), just let me know.”
It helps to know our friends are there to listen if we need it.
“Do you need anything? Is there anything I can send you?”
Even if we don't need anything, the offer is appreciated and shows you care.
“It’s really nice to talk to you.”
It feels good for our friends to remind us that they enjoy spending time with us, even from afar.
“I saw this cute animal video/funny meme today, and I thought you might like it.”
Fact: cute animal content is the best medicine.
“I love Melbourne, and I can’t wait until I can visit you again.”
Keep reminding us that this will one day end and that you're keen to see us IRL when it does.
“Would you like me to send you a present in the post?”
Actually, don’t even ask. Just send things. The postie arriving is the most exciting part of our day.
“Let’s do a Zoom dinner/drinks/games night this Friday.”
Having an event, even a virtual one, to look forward to is great. And when you organise it, it's one less thing for our stressed-out brains to worry about.
“Here’s a playlist I made for you.”
Thank you for thinking of us!
“I just saw this movie and I loved it, you should check it out.”
Again, it's one less decision we have to make, and something we can then talk to you about later.
“Hello, how are you?”
Most of all, this. Don’t forget about us. Reach out, say hi, even if you have nothing to say.