Friday, September 25, 2020

Lessons Learned from Being SAD (Social At a Distance) and Not Sad!

Please know this is not a complaint.

Being physically distant is important currently.

Being socially distant is something that is negatively impacting people's lives, emotions, and their outlook.

From the late part of March, I have encouraged people to use the expression "Social At a Distance" rather than calling our recommended physical separation "Social Distancing". While these are similar words, the impact can be much different from one to the other.

Still, while this may encourage you to rephrase the concept, I also reflect on what Social At a Distance also can mean - being SAD. Hmmmm...when someone is sad, are they wrong to be or feel that way? No. So, when someone is SAD, are they wrong to be or feel that way? Some say yes. Still, I feel like we are doing what we can by remaining Social At a Distance, and here are some lessons I have learned from the experience:

  • Eyes are expressive and making eye contact on video or in person, really makes a difference in engagement - at any distance
  • Words matter, so speaking to people and acknowledging them, even with a "Hello" or "Good Morning" has a positive impact
  • Leaving a message or sending a text or email asking for nothing and yet sharing that the person is on your mind and you wish them well, can make someone feel less lonely than without it
  • A driveway hello or masked engagement is replacing a hug or a handshake, and while they are different than we'd like, they a special, too.
  • Walk and talk meetings have the benefits of being distanced while covering distance, and that may be a standard approach to meetings moving forward
  • Embracing the reason for being Social At a Distance means keeping the future in mind during this present change in behavior

With these lessons learned in mind, it keeps me happy, or at least positive, about being SAD versus being sad about the situation!

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