10 May How to Re-Enter the Social Scene with Confidence
As the world re-opens and we make our way back to work, school, or any other social scene, there’s one big question on everybody’s mind: how will we socialize in a post-COVID world?
Although this question remains largely unanswered, our anxiety about re-entering social spaces rings loud and clear. So, if you’re somebody that is experiencing post-COVID anxiety, know that you’re not alone and there’s steps you can take to resume business as usual with confidence.
Here’s a list of tips that will help you navigate lecture hall small talk, social outings and water cooler chats with confidence.
DO Attend Time-Limited Gatherings
If you’re nervous about getting your feet wet in the world of post-pandemic social gatherings, then tackle the problem head on by gradually increasing your time spent in public.
For instance, for your first few post-COVID outings, try meeting friends, classmates or workmates at a cafe for a cup of coffee. This can be more manageable than sitting down together for at a five-star restaurant for a ten-course meal.
Doing a time-limited activity with an old acquaintance will take the guesswork out of how to leave a situation that makes you feel like you’re-entering the social scene in a way that’s too much too soon.
DON’T Hold it Against People Who Don’t Show Up
There are a ton of people fighting invisible health battles we may never know about. So, if one of your friends passes on a social invitation, don’t take it personally.
People will re-emerge from their homes when they feel safe enough to mingle in public.
Don’t take your friends’ decisions personally. Give them space to explore their own post-pandemic feelings when they need it.
DO Make Small Talk
Feeling blue? Now you don’t have to! Getting back into the habit of small talk will get your endorphins racing and help prepare you for the bustle and buzz of everyday life.
If you’re nervous to shoot the breeze with old acquaintances after spending so long cooped up indoors, make it your strategy to pepper your post-COVID convos with questions.
Asking open-ended questions encourages your conversational partners to talk as much, or as little, as they want. It also puts the pressure on them to answer, instead of you.
So, if you find yourself shying away from the spotlight and dying to avoid the subject of how unproductive the last year-and-a-half was for you, start small and ask broad, short sentences like “how have you been,” “what have you been working on since I last saw you,” and “how have you been feeling since things opened up again?”
DON’T Get Too Touchy Just Yet
Even though we’re stoked about making real face-to-face connections again, that doesn’t mean we have to let our guards down.
Thinking of hugging a good friend you’ve been dying to see? Wishing you could extend your hand to an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in a long time?
Try alternative, non-physical greetings instead. A simple, “hey,” or hand wave could go a long way to keep yourself safe and still make others feel seen at the same time.
DO Confide in Others About Your Anxieties
Putting your thoughts into words for a trusted friend or family member can help you articulate your feelings and pinpoint the source of your fears to re-enter social spaces.
So, even if you’re afraid to step-out, try to be brave about confiding in others.
You may just discover that many of your nearest and dearest feel the same way as you do. That said, the thought of being in the same space as others might just give you comfort at a time when you need it most.
If you’re worried about burdening those closest to you, you can also consider seeing a therapist. A mental health professional will provide you with the safe space you need to pour out your post-pandemic feelings and help you rediscover the confidence you never knew you had.
Don’t Log-off Completely — at Least Not Yet!
Yes, we’re all Zoomed out — but hear us out on this one!
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s the occasional benefits of using online video calling platforms like Zoom. You know, besides not wearing pants.
In fact, while we were #stayingathome, we discovered there are loads of ways to have fun and stay connected online. So, if you’re feeling a bit under the weather and don’t want to make the trip out, host a virtual night in and play an online game.
Do you have any tips for re-entering the social scene with confidence? Drop a comment below and let us know!
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