Differing opinions on safety protocols make socializing stressful during pandemic

Social interactions during the pandemic may sometimes feel strained, especially when many have different comfort levels when it comes to attending group gatherings.

News 12 Staff

Jul 24, 2020, 2:36 AM

Updated 1,370 days ago

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Social interactions during the pandemic may sometimes feel strained, especially when many have different comfort levels when it comes to attending group gatherings.
One etiquette expert says that no one has to fear judgment when turning down an invitation to socialize. Hilary Brennan of Socially Savvy says that the key is to lead the conversation with sincerity.
“The most important thing is you want to speak to anybody the way you would want to be spoken to,” she says.
Brennan says that everyone has a limit when it comes to deciding what they deem to be acceptable and safe during the pandemic, and if that does not align with friends or family members, Brennan says that it is OK to decline an invite. But she says that the approach and reaction can help diffuse a potentially stressful interaction.
“I think it should just simply be, ‘Please understand that I’m not ready yet,’” says Brennan. “And as a friend or a co-worker or whatever, you need to be respectful of the fact that that’s how they feel. It’s not our place to judge them.”
And on the other hand, Brennan says that if someone declines an invite to a group gathering that it shouldn’t be viewed as passing judgment on those who are comfortable partaking in the activity.
“Your best course of action is to just say, ‘OK. I appreciated how you feel, thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing you when you’re more comfortable,’” Brennan says.
When it comes to these new and often uncomfortable interactions, Brennan says that it is important to keep an open mind, have open communication, be thoughtful and understanding, try to use unemotional language and to communicate by phone or video call rather than text or email.
“I think it best to always pick up the phone and have a conversation,” she says. “That’s part of the downfall of doing things digitally, because you can’t see somebody’s facial expression. You can’t see their body language and all of those things give us the opportunity to draw information about feelings.”
Brennan says that it is important for everyone to cut each other some slack during this time. She says that with these conversations, it is important to be thoughtful and sympathetic.
 


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