A Guide to Socializing Post-Pandemic

Paula Rizzo (author of Listful Living) provides us with some helpful strategies for easing ourselves back into normal life.

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This summer is the first time many of us are going to be socializing in person since March 2020!

Birthday parties, beach weekends, weddings, brunches, baby showers, running into friends at the park…the list goes on and on. 

That’s exciting, and some people are ready to get right back into the action.

But if you’re feeling a little anxious about in-person gatherings where you’ll see friends and family members for the first time in almost a year and a half — that’s completely normal. 

Here’s the truth: Socializing is a skill, and we’re all out of practice. 

In order to get back to enjoying those interactions and special occasions, here are some strategies for easing yourself back into normal life:

1. Ease yourself in.

You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) schedule your weekends back-to-back with social activities now that it’s safe to do so. You probably need some downtime to recharge after a year of isolation. It’s not selfish to say no or offer an alternate time when someone asks you to hang out! In fact, making time for yourself allows you to be the best version of yourself you can be for your friends and family. 

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2. Be patient with yourself and others.

You can’t expect your first couple of social gatherings to feel totally normal. If you sense that you and your companions are being a little bit awkward around each other, don’t get frustrated. You can even just bring it up to diffuse the situation, depending on your relationship with the person or people you’re with. They’re probably feeling the same way.

This New York Times Opinion article covers this phenomenon — they call it “reopening anxiety.”

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3. Stay sensitive.

After a challenging year, some topics might be too uncomfortable. That goes for conversations you’re bringing up and ones that others initiate with you. Listen to your gut — if someone seems hesitant to talk about something or you sense yourself feeling anxious, just change the subject.

Lots of people struggled in various ways during the pandemic, and things like unemployment or COVID-19 deaths may hit a nerve. Until everyone adjusts a little, stick with safer topics. New movies, the weather, recipes… the ball is in your court!

When it comes to socializing post-pandemic, my motto is “expect the unexpected.” You might feel completely comfortable jumping right back into a packed social schedule. Or you might be overwhelmed and need to take it very slowly. 

And however you’re feeling, we have to remember that other people are also having a range of emotions too.

Let’s go into the summer with kindness, patience, and empathy — for ourselves and others.

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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