The lockdown is almost over and after all this time of being shut down we are all craving for some kind of normality in our lives. I know that we are almost free to go out, see our friends and have some fun but it’s still necessary to avoid catching or spreading the corona virus. We need to be even more careful and keep our social distancing.

I know it’s common sense, however, not everyone understands the necessity and importance of social distancing. People may invade your space, invoking your feelings of frustration or anxiety.

Whilst you are still not allowed to hit someone who doesn’t keep their social distance from you, I’m about to tell you how to deal with them politely:

  1. Dealing with strangers:

When it comes to dealing with strangers, the solution is always simple: walk away. According to psychologists, you don’t know what triggers or past traumas they have, or if they have a weapon, so walking away from them is in fact the safest and smartest thing to do. You need to accept that there is no mutual respect between you and a stranger – or at least, we can’t be sure that there will be- therefore, walking away can save you from a lot of unnecessary stress and drama.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to confront a stranger  (e.g. to a stranger in a store), you could say:

  • “Excuse me, would you mind staying back for a moment? I’ll be done here shortly.”
  • “To keep both of us safe, I’m making sure there is at least 2 metres space between us.”
  • “Can you please back up so we can maintain more social distance?
  1. Dealing with family or friends:

Things get a bit more complicated when the case involves family members and friends. Truth is, you can’t blame your grandma or your favourite aunt who wants to hug you and kiss you after all this time! Friends and family members are probably yearning for the day they can hug you and kiss you again. So, have in mind that if they try to hug you on the big reunion, it’s simply because they missed you, so don’t put them on the defensive. Simply express your concerns and clearly communicate what you are and are not comfortable with. Remind them that you love them and are just as happy to see them, but you’d still like to play it safe for now. They won’t get mad at you, don’t worry!

You could say:

  • “I missed you, but I’m not ready to drop social distancing guidelines yet.”
  • “I’m feeling stressed that you’re so close to me. I’m going to back up, I hope you don’t mind.”

You are allowed to feel stressed, to be precautionary and get angry when people don’t understand the importance of social distancing during these times. However, there’s no reason for us to be rude or set ourselves in danger by causing any kind of trouble. Communicating boundaries without offending someone is the key.

I hope I helped!