“Hands-off” is a phrase that literally fits right in with social distancing in the times of COVID-19. But, oh, how friendly practices are longed for when we are out and about trying to be mindful of others’ personal space, acknowledging the lack of shared common space, and trying to get errands done.
We need to offer patience to ourselves and others as we face the conundrum of being hands-off, yet attempting to connect with people.
“Yes, please,” and “Thank you,” are welcome words everywhere, especially when we aren’t stopping to chat, and our smiles can’t be seen under our masks. Don’t underestimate the power of eye contact – especially if your smile reaches your eyes.
When out and about in stores or other businesses, noticing a person’s name badge and saying their name is an act of appreciation.
Here is a list of friendly practices that, though hands-on in terms of actions you might take, are hands-off, literally. I’m sure you could add many more neighborly and kind activities to the list.
As Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) says, “When a choice of action must be made, kindly motivation counts a lot.” Being helpful and neighborly goes a long way, especially when you’re interacting with strangers—at a distance.
These days we are limited in face to face interactions, yet we humans are meant to be social and we thrive in caring about others. You could even make the claim that our character is reinforced by actions of friendliness even when we do not feel like being friendly. Others, perhaps in need of friendship, are lifted up when they experience a friendly act offered by someone else.
Cultivating character is not a trivial consideration, especially these days when outrage can seem unceasing. We can be friendly without being involved. And some say, friendliness is the best cure for loneliness.
Sounds like just what we need right now!