Now that I, and many of my friends, have been vaccinated, I am finding a strange phenomenon when I venture out into the world. Social awkwardness is a concept I never had to deal with until the Covid pandemic. I find, however, that after being in isolation for over a year, my social skills are a bit tentative.
Humans crave interaction and when we’re deprived, it’s as of we are not eating a balanced diet. Something is amiss. That something is the human bond. Often that bond can be met with even small interactions with the local store owner, a handyman, a gardener, or a neighbor down the street. Without these interactions it is as if we do not belong, we are not part of the world. Which leads us to think that there is something wrong with us.
Without practicing our social skills on a regular basis, we lose them, bit by bit. Until we feel awkward even with good friends. Artificial means of communication ie: Zoom provide a way to keep in touch on a superficial level, mostly to get business done. But social communication is so much more than agendas and checklists.
We interpret words, gestures, and expressions from our social interactions. Face to face is important. It’s about timing and pacing and judging the other person’s meaning to be able to communicate socially and skillfully. Many of us are out of practice.
My suggestion: Take time every day to make contact with people. And cut our friends and associates a break while we all regroup and relearn the art of communication.