It has been proven time-after-time…humans are adaptive creatures.
According to scientists, humans have biological plasticity, better known as the ability to successfully adapt and interact with our environment. It is a trait that will come in handy as we continue to adjust to a COVID-19 reality.
That being said, though we might be good at adjusting, learning how to socially interact in today’s environment is a different story. We all struggle to some extent with how to handle the day-in, day-out interactions resulting from this social distancing, safe practices time period.
Additionally, given inconsistent state and local requirements combined with a natural desire for people to reconnect, we will face more and more requests for lunches with friends, family get-togethers and other social interactions.
Here are some things to consider when a friend or loved one asks you to hang out in person, why it's okay to say "no" and tips for doing so confidently and politely.
- Only You Control You
First and foremost, you control your own actions. You make your own decisions. And, you have to live with the consequences. That’s both empowering and frightening. Don’t let others pressure you into decisions you’re not comfortable with. Bottom line, follow your instincts.
- Your Risk Factors and Comfort Level
Have you honestly evaluated your coronavirus risk factors given what we know today? Have you done the same for those people you are around regularly or come into contact with…friends, relatives, co-workers? Are you comfortable with the risk you face and subject others to? Be honest with yourself.
- Are You a Pleaser?
If you’re the kind of person that finds it hard to say “no” to others, then take steps to make sure you fairly evaluate your decisions. Create a list of requirements a social outing must meet for you to consider attending. Using that list as you guide will help you make better decisions and feel better about why you are or aren’t going to go.
- Just Say No
If you’re not comfortable going, or the event does not meet your requirements, don’t be bashful about declining. Few people enjoy turning down friends and family, but there are some ways to make doing so a little easier:
- Be positive in your response. Don’t dwell on the negative reasons you are saying no, focus on how much you would like to see them or how much you look forward to seeing them in the future, when life settles down.
- Be honest. Don’t make excuses. Politely let them know the honest reason you’re saying no. Friends and family are going to understand if you’re concerned about risking your physical and mental health, you really don’t need to go into a lot of explanation. And if they don’t understand…well, they might not be worth the risk.
- Short and sweet. Put together a concise, polite response. Be straightforward with you reasons and sincere in your communication. Remember, you are not rejecting them, you are simply turning down that specific invitation.
- Make alternative plans. There are a lot of ways to visit with friends and relatives without doing it in-person. Are they the same as being fact-to-face? No, probably not, but they are a great alternative until you reach a point in time when you feel good about live get-togethers. Until then, they are a great way to keep friendships alive and family members close.
As time goes on, it’s only natural for people to want to return to normal social activities. Learning how to assess each opportunity and doing what’s right for you, will play a major role in your physical and mental well-being.