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Physical Distancing with Social Connection

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

#SocialDistancing is a term that government and health authorities came up with to drive home the idea that people must self-isolate in order to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. But social distancing is not precisely what we are doing… and that is not a bad thing.

What we are doing is physically distancing while socially connecting. (I can thank my friend Roberta Sydney for that revelation.) The truth is that many people may be more socially connected than they have ever been. My evenings are packed right now with social events on Zoom, as I go from a quaranatini cocktail party to dinner with a networking group to a late night yoga class, all while never leaving my living room.

With children home from school and all social activities on hold, it is the first time in years that many families are getting to spend quality time together. Parents and children are having dinner together, playing games and talking more than ever.

Thanks to Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and myriad technologies, families and friends who are not physically together are also connecting in ways they never have before. Families are gathering for virtual dinners, friends meet for quarantinis at 5 o’clock, book clubs still meet regularly, bridge players have moved online, and weekly Dungeons & Dragons games continue. Age is not a factor here. Whether you are eight years old or 80, people are adapting to the change and embracing the gift of technology, which is keeping us connected.

Just because we are not supposed to have more than 10 people gathered in the same room does not mean that we are socially distant. What we are doing is staying physically distant while making social connections in ways that we had not before now.

If you are looking for a silver lining in this unprecedented time, look to the bonds you are forming with family, friends and co-workers. Many of these connections are more meaningful than they were before, because we appreciate the people in our lives and the joy and security that they bring us during this unsure time.

Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA has a doctorate in psychology with an emphasis in transpersonal psychology. As a business leader with more than 30 years in corporate America managing crisis communications and brand reputation, Dr. Massey uses her business experience and psychological background to guide companies through massive change. She is currently writing a short book called “Communicating During a Crisis: Influencing Family, Friends and Colleagues When the Stakes Are High.”

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