Perhaps it’s been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’ve found myself wondering if over the last twelve months, I’ve lost what limited pre-pandemic social savvy I once thought I had. Social norms have shifted, and I need someone to tell me straight how I’m supposed to handle fist-bumping, conversations about Covid weight, and gently remind me it’s time to change my outfit. It’s all just overwhelming.
Studies show I’m not the only one feeling awkward these days or whose social skills are threadbare. Almost 50% of Americans say they’re nervous for the social aspect of being together again; psychologists are calling it “re-entry anxiety.” We have what’s called agoraphobia, “the irrational fear of being in open or unfamiliar places, resulting in the avoidance of public situations.” Work, church, sports . . . Togetherness used to be a good thing; now it’s something we fear.
But perhaps the answer to our angst over social cues and pull toward hibernation isn’t reclusion, rather something rooted in Christian hospitality that’s nuanced and gives room for the different comfort levels with how we’ll all re-engage. We don’t need a one-size-fits-all, throw-caution-to-the-wind form of togetherness—but we do need a baseline mindset that says connection with others isn’t something to be feared or avoided; it is vital and necessary.
As restrictions ease, we need bite-sized ideas for connection, nothing mind-blowing. And we can start on our own turf, in a place close to home: our mailboxes. While there are dozens of ways we can practice low-stakes hospitality to help us connect, here are three, plus one that might surprise you.
Read full article at Gospel Centered Discipleship.
Image by @briantagalog