Haircuts, Hugs, Handshakes: 20 Things We’ve Missed Most

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With the vaccination programme continuing and the easing of restrictions in sight, we can start to look forward to some of the things we’ve been missing…

  • Over-65s miss hugging loved ones more than any other age group
  • One in seven men are looking forward to going back to the office
  • Psychotherapist Dr Jo Gee reveals why it is the small things people miss the most
Hair grips being put in dark hair

Visiting the hairdresser is in the top 10

With the government having announced its roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions, a new study reveals that it is the heart-warming simple pleasures that Brits are most looking forward to when things go back to normal.

Looking into the small things that people have missed over the last year, hugging, haircuts and sitting next to people came in the top 10.

Commissioned by Gala Bingo, the study of thousands of Brits reveals that hugging friends and family is the thing people long for the most (59%).

Meanwhile the simple ability to make plans (45%) and to visit friends’ houses (43%) took second and third place.

What we’ve missed the most…

Happy moments with grandma, indian/asian senior lady spending quality time with her grand daughter ; Shutterstock ID 1137513581; Purchase Order: 17.03.2021; Job: most missed in lockdown

Pic: Shutterstock

These are the top 20 things that Brits are most looking forward to after the pandemic is over:

  1. Hugging friends and family
  2. Being able to plan things again
  3. Visiting friends’ houses
  4. Going for a meal with friends
  5. Going for a coffee with a friend
  6. Spontaneous trips
  7. Going for spontaneous drinks
  8. Sitting next to people you don’t live with
  9. Going to concerts
  10. Regular haircuts
  11. Not queuing to go into the supermarket
  12. Going to the cinema
  13. Shaking hands
  14. Being able to host dinner parties
  15. Trying on clothes in shops
  16. Going to a sports match
  17. After work drinks with colleagues
  18. Seeing grandparents
  19. Getting dressed up
  20. Returning to the office

Planning vs eating – the gender divide

While being able to hug loved ones took the top spot for men and women, other everyday wins showed differing results.

For women, being able to make plans without worrying about changing restrictions (54%) took the second spot, while being able to go for a meal with friends (38%) is more important to men.

2 young women in polka dot clothes pose laughing

We’ll soon et dressed up and make plans. Pic: Shutterstock

Women are also more than three times as likely as men to be looking forward to getting dressed up (19% vs 6%) and are much more excited about a return to frequent haircuts (26% vs 17%).

Men, on the other hand, miss sport more, with over three times as many men looking forward to watching matches than women (26% vs 8%).

Showing how much people are longing for even the most mundane things, around a third of men (29%) are looking forward to being able to shake hands when meeting people, while one in seven (15%) are excited to be back in the office.

The psychology of everyday things

Dr Jo Gee is a specialist psychotherapist and co-founder of The Luna Hive women’s health directory. She explains why it is the small connections that people miss the most.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of human needs outlines how important social interaction is to our psychological wellbeing and self-esteem. This makes sense when we consider that two feel-good brain chemicals, dopamine and oxytocin, are released when we connect with others.

“In fact, the activities we previously took for granted pre-pandemic are vital in regulating our mood and stimulating our natural anti-depressants.

“Dopamine and oxytocin are stimulated through activities where we connect with others, and serotonin, our ‘good mood’ chemical, stimulated during activities we enjoy.”

Looking at the different generations, it is pensioners (aged 65+) who are most looking forward to the simple pleasure of a cuddle. Four in five pensioners (79%) said they can’t wait to be able to hug friends and family again, compared to only half of millennials (aged 25-34) saying the same (49%).

I’m coming over to yours…

Adult Daughter With Teenage Granddaughter Visiting Grandmother Having A Chat Pic: Istockphoto

Pic: Istockphoto

People of retirement age are also most excited about visiting friends’ houses (58%), compared to only a third of millennials (34%), and are more than twice as likely as 25-34 year-olds to miss spontaneous trips away (41% vs 17%).

Karina Adrian is head of brand marketing at She says, “It’s really heartening to see that it’s the small, intimate moments like a hug from a loved one or coffee with a friend that people are more looking forward to the most, rather than the bigger things. It just goes to show that it really is the little things in life that make the biggest difference.”

Karina adds, “It goes without saying that the last year has been a challenge for so many people. But hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get back to all the little things (and the big ones!) that we’ve missed.”

Please follow ongoing Government advice and only do the activities allowed by current restrictions in your area.

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