A older women sits alone at a park bench.

April 6

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Post-Lockdown Social Awkwardness? You’re Not Alone

By Harrison Payton

April 6, 2021


A Year Of Social Distancing

Whether you’ve been super strict and careful about your contact with others, or you’ve been a bit more on the relaxed end of the spectrum, daily life has changed dramatically since March 2020. With formal and informal rules about gatherings, meeting friends, and even eating out at restaurants, most of us have severely reduced the amount of time we actually spend in front of other humans face-to-face. 

While we’re all just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, it’s becoming clear that many of us are not 100% ready to jump straight back into our normal social interactions. Below, we discuss a few of the most common social interactions we may have trouble with. 

Staying away from social interactions has become the norm.
Staying away from social interactions has become the norm.

Social Norms Upended

With the exception of the brave front-line workers at grocery stores, public transport, etc., many Americans have been cooped up at home. While we do see our friends, family members, and even coworkers almost daily on video calls, there’s a certain something that’s just not quite there with each interaction. These include small facial expressions and body language cues that we may not be able to pick up on camera. There’s also some evidence that watching faces on Zoom all day can provoke a fight or flight response within the body.

Family And Friendships

The most common issue many people seem to be having is how to appropriately respond when someone outside your household has different behavior when it comes to social distancing and safety. This awkwardness can go both ways. When your friend who loves hugs goes in for a huge bear-squeeze, it may be difficult to politely decline without hurting their feelings. Oppositely, you may feel a bit more open with your behavior when compared to friends who keep strict rules regarding any in-person meeting. This can lead to some uncomfortable looks and conversations.

Strangers

Talking with people we don’t know may be the biggest challenge after post-lockdown. Doing simple things like making conversation or “small talk” at your local salon may become quite challenging. Dating is another social situation where both parties may find it quite awkward. On the other end of the spectrum, you may have spent so much time indoors that you’re dying to talk anyone’s head off if they’ll listen. The important thing to remember for all of us is that this is all normal behavior given the circumstances. Awkward is the new normal… at least for a little while. 

Will We Bounce Back?

The good news is that most adults will likely bounce back just fine after life returns to mostly normal. Chances are that the vast majority of adults will fall back into their old ways and remember how to speak to strangers and friends in person again. There is some concern that children and teenagers may have become slightly stunted in terms of social skills. Given time, they too will likely be able to adjust back into normal life.

Take Steps To Reduce Any Anxiety You May Have

If you’ve been feeling anxious about meeting people again, or even grocery shopping, you’re not alone. Social anxiety has risen during the pandemic due to the circumstances. It doesn’t have to stay though! Take a look at our recommendations for reducing stress through exercise and nutrition. CBD and related terpenes have also shown evidence that they may potentially support anxiety and stress. A quick CBD oil tincture dose may just do the trick to help smooth out those somewhat rocky conversations.

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