I met a long time friend in the market place during the lock down. We had not communicated in the last one year. She lurched forward to give me a hug when she suddenly reclined, and stretched her leg forward, I took the cue and we had a leg shake. Interesting times we live in! Some things are certain though, hugs are going to be scarce in the public space for a long time, social gathering will be fewer, more functions will be held online; birthday parties, marriages, funerals, naming ceremonies, drive through baby showers the list will keep increasing as we attempt to bridge the psychological and physical effects of social distancing. People are more tactical these days as you need to seek friends and family’s permission before visiting. You cannot just “drop by” which was a popular pre Covid 19 practice. Visiting can be a cumbersome experience these days as you will need to “kit up” mask, sanitizers, and gloves for some, social distancing plus risk evaluations going through your mind. In spite of all these threats to interpersonal relationships, I believe the four main skills necessary for interpersonal savvy have been enhanced
- Empathy and rapport – The pandemic has helped a lot of people introspect reappraise their value systems, develop a more objective perspective to issues and reach out more to different segment of people in their social circle whilst offering more support.
- Communication – A lot of exchange has been triggered online by the pandemic. People have communicated more experimenting with various platforms.
- Building rewarding relationship – The pandemic and lock down definitely helped people connect better. Most were relentless in reaching out to people that mattered to them consistently
- Tackling unsatisfactory relationship – The pandemic helped a lot to realize that life is in moments. It is therefore a waste of time to remain in unprofitable or unsatisfactory relationships.
The reality of Covid 19 being around for a while is quite frightening . Another reality is that people are emotional beings and relationships are a main source of strength to cope with uncertainties.