It is a bizarre time. We have all been in this together, though. We hesitate to be near one another and for good reason. The epitome of being responsible right now is STILL being as isolated as possible and wearing masks.
What has COVID-19, 2020, and now 2021 taught us about our own social skills? Today I am considering the social lessons I’ve absorbed.
- All I need is “a few good men.” Or in my case, women. Less is more, as they say. Other than my family, the best way for me to spend my social energy has been on my small group of people who truly do care. Acquaintances . . . I love ya, but not enough to pursue you anymore. It is not rude; it’s boundaries.
- While big gatherings are exciting (church, parties, etc.), I have realized that sometimes they brought out a negative side in me, too. I haven’t had any social anxiety in over a year now, and that is glorious. I didn’t even realize I was occasionally anxious in those large group settings until they were gone! I’m sure I will pick up in these activities once I feel safe to do so, but I have actually liked omitting them for now.
- Technology makes it happen. Can you even imagine this pandemic before smartphones? The horror! Thank you, God, that I can easily keep up with my people. I enjoy texts and Marco Polos primarily, although some like actually picking up the phone to call friends. I find that I do not necessarily enjoy phone calls! Short Zooms or FaceTimes are great with a small number of people. I prefer these calls to be scheduled because then I feel ready (kind of like I used to get ready to go out).
- When my social time is basically my family time, we grow closer together. We have been filling each others needs because we have no one else to physically do so for now. I hope and pray all of you are experiencing a little bit of this. It’s like a family revival. We are emptied of others we used to connect with, so we are all being more creative about how to enjoy our familial connections again. This has been good information for how to deal with future family conflicts. Also, for your information: Adult time is different than time with my children. And I need both.
- I absolutely do need “me time.” Don’t we all? There is a little bit of an introvert hiding inside of my mostly extroverted self. I think we all fall on a spectrum between introverted and extroverted. Where are you? However, even if you are the most extroverted human around, don’t you still need little moments alone? Gotta find those moments.
- Being outside with others is nice. Nature is amazing. Why have we stayed inside to socialize in homes for my entire life? Getting outside makes me so happy, and doing it with people I love and appreciate makes me even happier. Lesson learned.
- I will never take for granted the simple ease of reading a friend’s nonverbal cues in person again. Zoom helps, but it isn’t exactly the same. We need to physically be near one another to be able to really “get it” sometimes.
- However, I have been both counseling others online and going to counseling remotely. There is work that can be done in this manner. Unlimited progress has occurred all around, and it wasn’t even face to face. Great things are possible during this make-it-work year!
- Apparently, while I am tolerant and respectful of different political/religious views, it actually matters quite a bit what those who are closest to me believe. I didn’t realize how much of a roadblock this could be in friendships until the political insanity we experienced this past year. There are some things I just need to have in common with those who are dearest to me.
- Germs now freak me out. No matter how much I adore you, I don’t want your germs. At the same time, I need physical touch. Complete physical isolation is devastating to my soul. I have never been overly affectionate, so this was a surprising lesson that forced me to dig deep. What a dichotomy! I had to find the balance of who I would trust enough to physically hug and hold while keeping others physically distant.
In summary, I need less than what I thought I needed. All of that social hustle and bustle? It was distracting me from some of my life’s deeper purposes. Having fewer people in my life is refreshing. Getting quiet with my own thoughts has changed me. I will take this slow pace for now and find the silver lining.
I am safe, loved, hopeful, and beyond thankful for these lessons learned during a hard time. There is always a silver lining. I wonder . . . what have YOU uncovered about your social skills during the pandemic, mama?