Hands-off Friendly Practices
that Make a Connection

Neighborly Care Package

“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.

Friendly Practices

“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.

  • When someone is behind you in a drive-through, you can pay for their order. 
  • Order a surprise to be delivered to a relative or friend you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Take your neighbor’s trash bin from the curb back to their house on pick-up day.
  • If you know a neighbor or friend is at home, leave a care package on their doorstep – a prepared one-dish meal, a dessert, or dog treats, if applicable.  (Text to let them know there is a package waiting.)
  • Tip generously when you pick up your food order or have food delivered.
  • Offer to get something for a neighbor or friend when you’re going out to the store.
  • Drop off a special drink on a friend's front porch before a Zoom meeting with friends.
  • If you have a farmer’s market in your area, pick up some extra bread or items you know a friend or neighbor likes, and leave them on the door handle without a note.  They’ll have to guess who left them.
  • Write a note on the website of your community’s first responder teams, your children’s school, or your local hospital, thanking them for all they do to help.
  • If you work from home, keep your workplace clean and neat for the sake of family members’ eyes.
  • Drop off new or gently used toys at a homeless shelter.
  • Give a co-worker a compliment.
  • Send a deployment care package to a solider. 
  • Be generous with your kind comments on social media.  Make a rule, “nothing negative.”

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.

Distanced Friendliness

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!

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