In the midst of this very scary and uncertain time, we fill our days with projects, thoughts and worries about the unknown. Covid has robbed us of many things. I think the biggest thing is our freedoms. Freedom to walk, talk, socialize, travel, put kids on a bus, sit at a bar close to friends, sit in a pew at church, exchange a handshake, and have a good night's sleep.
While we are putting our toes in the water and testing a re-entrance into normalcy, it's essential to remember courtesy and kindness.
Whether we are shopping, filling up our tank, or walking the dog, eye contact is engaging. A smile can still be felt even through a mask. I find myself avoiding eye contact at the store and looking down uncomfortably when someone looks me in the eyes. I feel nervous about any connection with strangers, and I don't think I'm alone, but I'm going to stop it.
I keep seeing signs that say, "We're in this together," yet I feel more separated today than ever. We need to make an effort to warm up a bit and remember that we don't need to physically touch to be courteous, kind, friendly and polite. Avoiding each other altogether feels sad, empty and cold.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Smile when someone crosses your path, even in a mask.
2. Say excuse me if you need to get around someone.
3. Make eye contact and don't look down all the time. (Or at least try.)
4. Ask if someone would prefer that you wear a mask when speaking and carry one with you just in case.
5. Give space to people and explain that you are doing it to make them comfortable.
6. Don't avoid connections. Call, text, Facetime, Zoom, email. We still have plenty of opportunities to socialize.
7. If you are going to the store, offer to pick up something for a neighbor as a kind gesture.
8. Seize opportunities to extend kindness. People will remember what you did for them long after Corona is Gona. LOL.
Be well. Be kind. Be courteous.
President of The Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. I am a member St Raphael Women's Guild, Friends of the Westside Catholic Center and The Avon Oaks Women's Golf Association.
I live in Bay Village with my husband and 3 children.