Social interactions during the pandemic

Social interactions during the pandemic

I am having a hard time knowing how to interact while out in public during the pandemic. Unlike a lot of other Americans, I am wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and am limiting my out of home activities. But I am still interacting with others, and it is harder to know how to act while wearing a mask and you can only see the other person’s eyes.

Scenario one: Aidan’s physical therapist. We met twice before surgery, pre- lockdown. Fast forward to post surgery appointments. We were doing the check ritual of answering the questions, temperature checked, etc and the guy checking us in said “Hey Aidan, how are ya?” Clearly he knew who we were, but I had no idea who he was with a mask on. It was the pre-surgery PT. I am finding it super hard to recognize people just by their eyes.

Scenario two: Again with another PT (y’all, we go twice a week). Aidan reported some discomfort around his knee. The PT calmly said “Well, we will need to amputate from right about here, ok?” Aidan’s face was priceless. The take away? Jokes are not always clearly jokes when you can only see a person’s eyes.

Scenario three: Seeing a friend at the grocery store. Normally you stop and chat because that is the socially appropriate thing to do. But I could feel my friend’s anxiety increase as I approached her. Chatting means you are in the grocery store longer. Not a good idea right now. So what do we do? Pretend we don’t see each other and text a hello later on? True question folks.

Such strange times for sure. And I am still amazed at the number of people who are just going on with life like normal. I stand by my belief that us anxious people will be the ones to survive the pandemic. Our “what if” brains will keep us safe.

So, anyone else finding it difficult to interact socially right now? Have you changed any of your behaviors? And most importantly, what do you do when you see a friend while out and about in your mask?


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