A line of people in front of a brick wall at approximately 6 feet apart. Wearing various face coverings.
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

What To Do When Someone Else Isn’t Social Distancing

Have you faced a situation where you wished someone would practice a safe distance – and felt unsure about what to do about it?

People not taking social distancing seriously has become my new pet peeve. I walk alot, mostly on public sidewalks so I can tell you with a great deal of first-hand experience that a good chunk of people are not taking COVID-19 seriously at all. Runners blowing past me at a high rate, sweat and hot breath wafting across me as I wonder who taught them how to measure 6 feet. Thankfully I am wearing a mask whenever I am around people outside my household.

Have you faced a situation where you wished someone would practice a safe distance – and felt unsure about what to do about it?

The New York Times and Miami Herald have some ideas, here are 4 that I like.

1.  Speak up. Look, if you are in a high risk group your very life can depend on proper social distancing. Don’t be afraid to speak up. 

2.  Don’t get mad. Have you ever changed your mind to something someone was screaming at you? No – no one has. Don’t get angry. Speak up – but keep it cordial.

3.  Don’t assume you know why someone isn’t following the guidelines. Admittedly I struggle with this. That sort of instant-judgement when I see someone not social distancing or wearing a mask. But – it’s important to give the person the benefit of the doubt, especially since the guidance on social distancing and face masks has changed over time. Remember as well that some people cannot wear face masks for medical reasons. So don’t be judgey!

4.  Thank people who do practice good social distancing. I have started doing this more regularly and honestly – it feels good. It reinforces the other person’s effort and helps keep you in a more positive mindset by focusing on the good instead of the bad.

 

Social Distancing is challenging for all of us as we are not an anti-social species. We see others and we want to join them. But if you responsibly approach the practice – and try to spread some good energy around, we’ll all get through this together.

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