It sure is awkward greeting friends, a person you know pretty well, on the street or in the supermarket during this coronavirus pandemic. And it could go on for six months. Gosh, I’m so happy when I see someone I know–as I’m isolated working remotely from home–but not knowing how to react to their warm smile and/or approach leaves me wondering what to do, how to react. How do we show someone we’re fond of that we’re fond of them, but no hugs.
On the verge of tears, a friend in the checkout line at the supermarket became distraught while telling me about her husband’s recent stem cell transplant and when I went to put my arm around her to hug her, we both took a double take and withdrew. With all the cares of the world on her shoulders, she offered to help carry my grocery bags to my car.
–Helen, Charlottesville, VA
- Nobody wants to go in for a hug and get pushed away. Nobody wants to be the person doing the pushing away.
- Wave, smile and keep your distance of six feet, create your own space.
- If the person looks as though they’re about to come in for a hug, keep waving, smile and get them talking. The fact that your hand is waving will signal that you’re hesitant about going in for the requisite hug. You’re not waving them away, merely carving out your space.
You want your wave to be the Queen Elizabeth Wave with your hand jiggling gently from side to side, but you do NOT want your wave to mimic your car window wiper racing from left to right clearing rain drops off of your car window.
- Using your body language and facial expressions, let him or her know that you’re thrilled to see them, but you’re being cautious. So smile. Everyone wants to see a smile right now.
- Bringing up the subject of the coronavirus pandemic first thing will remind them as to why you’re reluctant to pull them in for a hug or a kiss. Even if you don’t have the coronavirus yourself and don’t believe you’ve been exposed.
- Hold your pocketbook, hat, sunglasses, small child, knapsack, or shopping bag in front of you to your chest as a visual barrier. Of course, a shopping cart or stroller make a perfect barrier.
- Chat with your friend warmly asking questions about their family, pet or work, or simply plan to talk on the phone after the kids are in bed.
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Accepting A Compliment