What’s Next? How to Socialize Without Freaking Out

What’s Next? How to Socialize Without Freaking Out

Six feet. It used to be that there wasn’t anything particularly remarkable about it. Sure, it was pretty common. It’s the height of the average refrigerator and the average Christmas tree. It’s also the length of a twin or full-sized mattress. If you like exercise, it’s the length of a yoga mat, and if you’re into animals, six feet is the typical height of the African white rhino. 

Lately though, six feet has taken on additional significance, since it’s the distance we’re supposed to keep between us at all times. It’s safer, of course, but it sure can make it challenging to interact with people. In the next part of our series, we’ll look at ways to be sociable without risking life and limb, not to mention your health. 

Your first (and safest) option is virtual meetings. Of course, you may be royally sick of these by now, but they’re a great way to keep in touch. There are a number of apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams that are not only free, but fairly quick and easy to set up. If you haven’t looked into these virtual communication options, now is a great time to start. Here are just a few ways people around the world have found to socialize virtually. With the way the world is changing, virtual meetings are only going to become more common, and you might as well get ahead of the curve while you can.

How you socialize and how much you should socialize will depend on your age and overall health. Naturally, if you fall into one of the higher risk categories— over 60 or have other underlying health issues, for example— you’ll want to be more careful. That’s not to say you’re immune to Covid-19 even if you are younger and healthier. In fact, one of the fastest growing age groups for new cases of the virus is the 40-and-under crowd. Another good way to assess your risk is to check the statistics. In other words, know what’s going on in your community. Covid-19 is a national problem, but not all areas have been affected equally. If you’re in a densely populated, high-risk area, you’ll want to take more precautions. 

These days, no degree of social interaction is without some risk, but you can help minimize these risks by being sensible. Good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands or not touching your face are always good. Likewise, wearing a mask and staying that famous six feet from other people are winners. 

Don’t be afraid to avoid contact with people you suspect may be sick. Sure your best friend tells you her sneezing is just from allergies, but now may not be the best time for that lunch date. That Thursday evening flag football you and your coworkers like to play in the summer may have to be put off. If you’re a barfly, try going on a Tuesday night when it’s quieter rather than a raucous Friday night. It’s okay. The worthwhile people in your life will understand and respect your choices. 

Isolation can have negative effects on your health, so you don’t want to wrap yourself in a plastic bubble and live on top of a mountain. Social distancing isn’t an all-or nothing affair. You don’t have to give up your friends and family. Just try to find alternate activities that don’t involve big crowds of people packed into small spaces. Pick a small group of people you know well and socialize with them. One way you could do it might be to select another family you like. Socialize with them normally, while maintaining social distancing with everyone else. It’s a great way to safely get out of the house and see some new faces. 

There’s no real way to completely eliminate the risk of Covid-19. Every social interaction comes with a degree of chance. However, you don’t have to stop living your life. Just be smart about your social interactions and use proper care and hygiene and you can keep yourself reasonably safe (and sane) without becoming a hermit.

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