In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, society has undergone a seismic shift in behavior, attitudes, and perceptions. A recent survey conducted by GP PRO in late September 2023 sought to capture the essence of these changes among Americans aged 18-65. The findings, derived from the experiences and observations of 1,025 participants, offer a revealing snapshot of our current societal landscape.

The Catalyst for Change

The motivation behind this survey stemmed from countless reports of public misconduct—airplane passengers threatening flight attendants, fast-food customers berating cashiers, and retail customers physically fighting over products. These incidents prompted a deeper investigation into how Americans perceive their own and others’ behaviors in a post-pandemic world.

A Society Transformed

The survey unveiled a complex tapestry of behavioral shifts:

  • A Tilt Towards Negativity: A striking 44% of respondents observed an increase in bad behavior, overshadowing the 26% who noted more good behavior. This suggests a societal lean towards negativity, challenging the notion of post-crisis solidarity and empathy.
  • Witnessing Misconduct: The prevalence of bad behavior was not unnoticed, with significant percentages of participants witnessing yelling, disrespect, road rage, and public drunkenness. These observations were most common in public streets, grocery stores, and while driving, painting a concerning picture of everyday interactions.
  • Personal Changes: On a more positive note, the survey highlighted a surge in health and hygiene consciousness, with over half of the respondents becoming more attentive to these aspects. Additionally, 45% felt more empathetic towards others, indicating a silver lining of increased compassion amidst the chaos.
  • Perceptions of Society: The overall perception of society was predominantly negative, with 40% of participants feeling that people have become less considerate. This sentiment was further echoed by 24% who expressed embarrassment for the current state of society, reflecting a longing for a return to civility and respect.

Voices from the Crowd

The open-ended responses provided a more nuanced view of societal sentiments. Descriptions of society as “chaotic,” “disrespectful,” and “selfish” were common, with many citing increased aggression and a rise in crime and racism. The divisive impact of political polarization and the amplifying role of social media in spreading negativity were also significant concerns.

Looking Ahead

Despite the challenges and negative perceptions, there remains a thread of hope among Americans. The call for increased respect, empathy, and cooperation suggests a collective desire for a more harmonious society. As we navigate this new normal, it becomes imperative to foster these values, encouraging a shift toward positive behaviors and attitudes.

The GP PRO survey serves as a mirror to our post-COVID society, reflecting the complexities and contradictions of human behavior. As we move forward, it’s crucial to remember that the foundation of a resilient society lies in understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.