An important part of easing back into face-to-face social interactions is to avoid assumptions about the comfort level of others and aim to ask questions to understand where they may be in the journey of going back to “normal.”

What feels safe and comfortable to one person may be completely different than what feels safe and comfortable to others.  For this reason, err on the side of asking questions, such as, “Do you feel comfortable going for a walk outside?” or, “What are your thoughts on getting lunch on Saturday?”

Aiming for empathy and understanding, even if you don’t necessarily agree with the other person’s approach, will help you continue to rebuild the social skills that may have gotten lost in this past year. Remembering to be honest about where you are will help the other person feel connected to you as well, even if it means that you have to postpone that get-together, or change the nature of the gathering.