Social distancing is a brand new practice for people. It is a necessary safety measure that we all must take during the coronavirus pandemic, though. Even though social distancing is in place, it is possible to interact with kindness while setting boundaries.
Between self-quarantining and social distancing, we need to relearn what is appropriate and what is not. Handshakes, hugs, holding the door, or helping a neighbor used to be polite actions. Not anymore, they aren’t. Now, people want to yell at you if you invade the six-foot social distancing bubble. There’s no need to yell. In fact, you can graciously explain that you’d like them to step back instead of violently screaming, “Get the f#%k away from me!”
How Do We Handle Social Distancing Politely?
Many people are on edge or act rude because they are afraid. Additionally, all of these new laws about physical boundaries are completely new for all of us. Being socially distant goes against many behaviors that are ingrained into our existence. Remember, it was only four months ago that people freely roamed the grocery stores without a care in the world. Even into March 2020, people stood shoulder to shoulder at concerts, sweating and having the best time of their lives. Now, people cross the street if they see you walking towards them. The hurdle is not learning new behaviors; rather, it is reforming old behaviors during the pandemic.
What Do You Do If You See A Runner Coming Toward You On The Sidewalk?
People go on daily walks, jogs, or bike rides to get exercise or maintain sanity during the pandemic. You can’t get mad at them for that. If you see a runner or walker coming towards you, simply go around a parked car on the road to give yourself distance. This clears the path for the both of you without involving fear or rudeness. If you are running, perhaps you should run in the bike path and leave the sidewalks to pedestrians. Always remember to run against the flow of cars if you do this.
Assert Yourself With Grace:
This is not the time to angrily yell at a person for invading your six-foot force field. Rather than putting up a strong arm and saying, “Back up right now,” it is more polite to say something along the lines of “Excuse me, but I think we’re too close. Could you back up a little, please?” Others may not realize how close they are and just need a polite nudge to respect your wishes.
What Do You Do In A Crowded Grocery Store Aisle?
This is something that will most likely happen, especially with panic buying in place. Going down the aisles of a grocery store can induce panic and anxiety. Instead of braving the crowded aisle to get one thing, shop for other items first and come back to see if the aisle is less crowded. Additionally, be sure not to crowd grocery store workers when they are restocking items. They need the same space that you do. You may even want to ask if it’s okay to reach for something if they are near you. This creates a polite and friendly environment and makes both you and the worker feel at ease.
How To Handle Elevators:
Elevators are tricky, especially for people who live in multi-story buildings. If the elevator doors open and you see that another person is inside, you can always wait for the next one. Alternatively, you can get in and face the corner. Explain what you are about to do and why before you do that, though. If elevators are small and crowded where you live, consider taking the stairs. Gyms are closed and we need to exercise!
How To Greet Others:
As always, the best way to greet other people is with kindness. Since hugging, handshakes, and hi-fives are verboten, simply greet people with your hands behind your back or in your pockets. This would typically be considered rude behavior, but now it is the norm. When other people see this, they are less likely to extend a hand to you. Finally, greet them with a smile, eye contact, and a verbal welcome. If someone does attempt to hug or shake your hand, simply remind them that you are being cautious and think it’s safer if you don’t physically touch.