Post-Covid And Being Socially Awkward
Joy of Missing Out (JOMO)
I was never an extrovert. Maybe only at times when I need to bring out the Beyonce in me but an extrovert or a social butterfly? Nah. Not my cup of tea.
I grow in my lonesomeness. Lonesome but with other people ha ha. COVID-19 lockdown. Everything was happening virtually and for the right reason. A viral infection had brought everything across the world to a grinding halt.
Virtual engagement kept the virus at bay; I was able to teach how to be virtual with colleagues, friends, family, mentors; I was able to work on my projects much faster than before. My sons learned how I work virtually and how to be productive.
But now, two years later, a casual conversation with a stranger is difficult. I get anxious when I know I’m meeting someone in person. My sons grew more socially inept around groups, especially new ones. And I am not sure if I’m communicating correctly.
So with the new normal, we still all struggle. Some more than others but we all do. Missing out is not always a bad thing or a socially inept feeling now. It’s something that has kept us grounded in ways we can imagine. But I realized, that it’s just about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Will you act bored while you listen to you ramble?
When someone is sharing something with you:
Be a Loud Listener. Humans love hearing ‘listening sounds.’ This is when we say “oh,” “ah,” or “Wow” as someone speaks. Show them that you are engaged and present by making eye contact, nodding your head, or subtly humming “mhmm” as they talk.
Give Positive Reinforcement. When someone finishes a story, show enthusiasm with phrases like “wow, that’s cool” or “oh, how interesting.”
Ask Great Questions. Ask a relevant and sincere question about what they told you. What makes you curious? Or ask a question about what got them the most excited. Something like, “How did you get started doing that?” or “Where did you find all those resources?” or “What’s the next step?”
Being socially inept in the new normal is something that anyone can overcome, even someone who is not lonely with being lonely.