Socializing can sometimes feel scary…
My wife and I have been living in a vacuum since the beginning of Covid. Now that the country is re-opening more and the mask mandate is dropped, we both feel completely unprepared to go “out there” socially again. Any ideas on how to do that?
I hear this concern frequently. Many people have felt so secluded and they are anxious about how to integrate themselves back into a life they were used to before Covid. Here are a few ideas that might work for you:
- You and your wife discuss what is non-negotiable first. For example: are you comfortable in a crowded bar or party situation? Are you comfortable going to a restaurant without a mask? Are you okay with people you don’t know very well driving with you in your car? These are just a few examples, but your non-negotiables might be different. Take the time to get on the same page, which will create less stress because you will be clear on your line in the sand.
- Emotionally, take baby steps getting back out in the world. It can feel overwhelming and at times scary to start living more “normally” again. Start spending time with others for short periods of time and lengthen them according to your comfort level. There is no right or wrong, just what feels good for you.
- Get used to setting boundaries with your friends and acquaintances. I just did this. I met a friend at a Starbucks, but I asked we meet at a specific store I knew was much larger than most. A different friend asked me to go to a pub for dinner. Because pubs can be small spaces and often crowded, I spoke up and said I’d rather go some place where the tables are farther apart and there are less people. Most people, especially friends, are happy to accommodate your boundaries.
Once more, if you feel stressed because your peers are asking you to do something you are uncomfortable doing, speak up and set your boundary!
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