Readjusting to Socialization Post-Pandemic
Since most of us have been locked in the house for the majority of the past year, face-to-face interactions have been limited to members of the household and the occasional pet. Pre-pandemic, social anxiety posed challenges to those introverted individuals who prefer staying in the house to going out. This side of COVID, even the most extroverted individual can find themselves feeling uncomfortable when it comes to socializing. Here’s a few tips to reference when we start intermingling again.
Embrace the Awkward
When you start to put yourself back out there and engage in conversations with strangers, it’s going to feel a little weird. Know a level of discomfort is expected. Take comfort in the fact that you’re responding normally to change, give yourself permission to laugh it off, and keep going!
When having daily interactions, it’s important to be kind. Saying please and thank you, sharing a smile, and speaking with gentleness can ease any tension or awkwardness that may be in the room. You can’t control how others may respond to you, but you can make it a point to share positivity!
Communication over cell phones can’t reveal the non-verbal communication humans share. When in a social setting, be mindful of both the body language of others and of yourself. Inward turned-posture generally signifies an individual who is uncomfortable and/or closed-off. Being aware of others’ stances can help you avoid invading someone’s space. Opening up your stance may also make you more approachable.
While body language is important to be aware of, it is not ideal to rely on alone. Non-verbal cues can sometimes be lost in translation. To assure that your feelings are understood, it is important to accompany your body language with words. In addition to the way you physically react, you have the right and responsibility to verbally express your thoughts, feelings, and boundaries, as well as when someone has crossed them. By speaking your thoughts out loud, your message is more clearly communicated and there is less room for misinterpretation.
You may be feeling pressured to present yourself as this new and improved version of yourself post-quarantine. The truth is, the best way to present yourself to others is as yourself. You are an awesome individual created in the Image of God! No one can be you better than you. Walk in confidence and reassurance that you are loved!