How to Adjust to Social Interaction After a Year of Isolation

Ava Garcia, Staff Writer

After a year of staring at a computer screen and attending virtual gatherings, many people feel the need to tidy up on their social skills, especially face-to-face interaction.  Not knowing whether to hug someone or shake their hand can cause confusion and is one of the many new aspects of socializing people need to consider going forward. 

“I spent a lot of quarantine alone, and away from friends and even family. Being alone for such a long time caused a lot of anxiety and just a sense of loneliness,” Miami Palmetto Senior High sophomore Kaelyn Buck said. 

People need to start slow and set small goals for themselves. Everyone is going to have different experiences, and understanding that certain activities may be hard to accomplish is one of many things that must be accepted. The following three exercises provide guidance on how to adjust to changing social settings during COVID: 

  1. Setting Boundaries 

Allowing yourself to be comfortable in a social setting is a number one priority when easing into everyday interaction. Asking people what they are comfortable with, whether it is a hug, a handshake, or even a simple wave is a perfect way to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone. 

  1. Start a conversation with someone you may not know 

Talking to a stranger may sound impossible, but it truly helps make social interactions easier. Strike up a conversation with someone in your neighborhood – treat it as a social exercise and try to learn new things about the person. This can help facilitate a gradual return to normal interaction and improve social skills.

  1. Invite a few friends on a picnic 

This is a perfect way to reconnect with people you have not seen in a while. The great thing about a picnic is that it is often outside, and one can fully socially distance from friends. This helps everyone in the group feel as comfortable as possible and makes interactions much less awkward.

  1. Make plans for the future 

This allows people to look forward to future social interactions. Setting aside a date to go to the beach with friends or have lunch can be another way to adjust to the changing social settings during COVID.