Hey y’all. It’s Jess again with a very important PSA. If you’ve been quarantined for the last few months with very little to no human contact outside of your family, you are now, most likely socially awkward if not straight-up weird. Trust me. Do you remember your child’s first day of school? Yup. Like that.
I am a social butterfly. I LOVE talking. My mom says I give her headaches because I never shut up once I started talking.
I didn’t get it until my first baby started talking… But now, she even talks in her sleep.
Anyway, the other day I made the decision to socially distance with a friend. I NEEDED it. We went to the park. Set up our blankets and basically screamed at each other from 6+ feet away.
Remember being in the playground standing in line for jump rope and seeing your bestie across the yard but not being able to risk your spot in line so instead you had a full-blown convo from across the yard? Yup. That was us.
We were both so eager to talk to another person that we didn’t stop the whole time.
Now, talking a bunch isn’t weird right? No, of course not. My kid does it all the time and it can be downright adorable. This is why things were weird- we had no filter. None. Any sense of “maybe I shouldn’t say that went right out the window.”
Our conversation was so bizarre too. I talked for 20 straight minutes about snails. My daughter is into them so I have done a ton of research on everything snail. Its what 90% of my conversations consist of now so it’s what I had to share.
My friend and I spoke on the phone the next day about all the inappropriate things we said to each other and how we basically forgot how to human. Which leads me here… We have all gone a little weird. That’s right. We have become our toddlers.
No need to worry. I am going to go through some quick steps on how to once again communicate with other people so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Step 1: DO NOT TOUCH
Obviously we are all up on the restrictions but many of us used to hug, kiss, shake hands pre-COVID and that is just not a possibility anymore. I’m not going to lie, I almost went in for a hug despite being super paranoid of any human contact. It is just a force of habit. So, I repeat, NO TOUCHING. Back to Kindergarten rules. Hands to yourself.
Step 2: Pleasantries
You might have hated pleasantries before but they are a crucial part of not word vomiting all your innermost thoughts at this point in time.
Repeat after me: “Hello.” Pause a few seconds to let the other person answer. “How are you?” Pause once more to let the person answer. “How’s (child/spouse/pet/plant/anyone else they care about)?”
Once again, pause. Take a moment to practice in the mirror if need be. Make sure you pause so as to not overwhelm the other person and to appear normal.
What do you do if they ask you “How are you?”? It is okay.
Do not panic.
Respond with one of the following: “great, tired, good, not bad, I’ve been better.” Woah, that was exhausting.
Did you realize how difficult talking to other humans is? Yeah, me too. No wonder kids skip this whole part altogether.
Step 3: Word Vomit
You have been cooped up for months. There is no way to stop it. Embrace it.
Talk about snails for 20 minutes.
The good news is, we are all kind of weird right now so your friend won’t be alarmed when you do this step. Talk about any and everything your heart desires.
My daughter tells everyone about our dog's poop. When we walk around the neighborhood she yells at people across the street if she sees poop so everyone knows. She also does this with snails.
So, just listen to your friend's wild new activities. Are they super into baking now and talking about how they score their bread perfectly with a new tool they got from Etsy that looks like a UFO? Maybe, maybe not.
Either way, just take in all the weird you’re about to absorb and be at peace with all the weird you’re putting down.
Step 4: Goodbyes
At some point, you have to leave right? Yes, I know.
It is so sad to leave other humans. I totally understand why kids throw tantrums when it’s time to go now. Now, say goodbye in your preferred form – “goodbye, see you alligator, catch you later, chat soon” or any others you may have up your sleeve. Resist the pre-COVID urge to hug or shake hands. Just don’t do it. We all have cooties right now.
Once you have accomplished this and are walking back to your car/house, start to think about/obsess about all the things you just said that were kind of weird. This is totally normal. It is the new normal.
All jokes aside, we will see people again. I think. I hope. When we do, pull out this handy dandy guide on how to once again communicate with other humans. Under no circumstance
Who are some of the people you are most excited to see?
If you have seen people have you had any weird conversations? Feel free to share your embarrassment with us in the comments below!