I find myself “bumping” into old friends, colleagues and acquaintances either live or virtually. Recent events have made the last 12 months go by without the usual venues to connect and it sometimes is surprising to realize so much time has passed since the last encounter.
The conversation usually starts off with “So when did we last see each other?”
Then we each think out loud…
3 months ago? 6 months ago? Wait before Covid? Ok, last summer? Has it been a year already?
It ends with the “We really need to catch up.”
But instead of the usual goodbyes, I pull out my iPhone and open my calendar app and tell them we need to lock down a date and time for a get together either live or virtual.
Even if it is one month away.
And this has worked for me so far.
My live meet ups are usually in my home where before they arrive we agree on a restaurant from where to order a meal. The idea being to avoid the “buffet/family style” food sharing.
When they arrive, we both have our masks on and do the elbow bump as a greeting. Hands are washed and we sit in my living room the obligatory 6 ft apart, then we start talking.
What’s been happening with the family.
What’s been going on at work.
How are we each handling the current events locally, nationally and internationally.
The food arrives and we move to the dining area – again apart, with our own food items. Masks have to come down so we eat and drink carefully. Masks go up intermittently. And when the meal is done we retreat to the living room.
Masks up again we continue our conversation, laughing and sometimes lamenting.
For the times when we have to schedule a virtual meet up, the same rule applies. It goes in my calendar as a Zoom meeting. At the appropriate time (usually later in the evening) we connect virtually, each with our favorite beverage and snacks/meal.
The advantage here is we aren’t hindered by masks.
We can see each other’s facial expressions and guffaw without concern. Same conversations as if we were together in person (with the obligatory family member walking by or the dogs barking- but it’s not a business meeting so all is good).
Plus we aren’t worried about having to drive home after our time together. (The roads are safer!)
At the end of each encounter I have a warm feeling inside. Just the ability to connect outside of work for the purpose of reconnecting socially (with non-family members- because though I love them, they don’t count in this situation). How I had missed that! And now I’m finding a way to bring it back into my busy life.
Social connection while social distancing.
Find a way to make it happen.