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“You Changed” Is the Best Pandemic Meme We’ve Seen

It's part dark humor, part public confession.

It’s impossible to live through a pandemic and come out the same. It might be the stress of homeschooling, the cabin fever of quarantine, the fear of contracting COVID-19, or a different factor, but something brought on by the pandemic has altered the trajectory of your life, as much as you might like to pretend that it hasn’t.

The causes and effects of these changes are the basis for a new meme that’s part dark comedy, part public confession. “You changed,” like all good memes, is quite simple, the eponymous phrase followed by either a specific reason you’ve changed or an unmistakable sign that you’ve changed.

The usage of the term predates the pandemic, often as a justification for a breakup or part of a conversation with a friend whose values have changed. Its meaning, at least online, seems to have, well, changed and morphed into a meme thanks to this tweet, which has attracted over 156,000 likes to date.

It’s an example of a reaction to the pandemic forming the second part of the tweet. Here’s the other flavor of the meme, in which the second part of the tweet is a reason justifying the change more specific than “coronavirus  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”

There are tons of other examples. Here’s one from a film lover dealing with the loss of her preferred avocation.

Or how about this one, in which it’s OK to make light of depression as long as it’s your own.

Some other people took the meme a step further, turning it into a joke that may or may not have much to do with the global pandemic.

If there was ever a tweet that expressed the upside-down smiling emoji, it’s this one, which doubles as a commentary on how absolutely screwed the class of 2020 is.

And finally, a tweet that captures a feeling that anyone frustrated by the world under the pandemic has definitely felt, probably more than once.