When COVID impacted us all over one year ago, many of us could never imagine getting used to our remote routines, but now, Zoom meetings, Facetime dates, and virtual happy hours have become a staple of everyday life. We’ve adjusted to different ways of making connections and bonding with loved ones, and we’ve redefined what it means to spend quality time.

Now, as many people ease back into some form of normalcy – it can be difficult to return to social situations without feeling awkward, uncertain, or even a bit anxious about how to interact with others in this “new normal.”

Through HRI, we are sharing important tips to help you regain those social skills and communication strategies that may have gotten lost or rusty over the past year.  Whatever your level of comfort is regarding interacting with others, we hope that you will find these strategies and tips useful for reconnecting after over one year of limited in-person interactions with others.

Our first tip is to embrace the discomfort or the awkwardness of going back to normal social settings.  Odds are that just about everyone is anxious or nervous about some aspect of in-person interactions, whether it is at the office or at your next family gathering. If you’re someone who uses humor as a way to connect, consider making a joke about how you’re feeling.  Or if you are someone who tends to address the elephant in the room, you can consider telling the other person exactly how you feel (“Well, I’m feeling anxious about being here!”). If these strategies don’t sound like you, then you can consider asking the other person how they may be feeling as a way to open the lines of communication.

However you approach those initial in-person interactions, it is important to remember that others may be feeling the same way. Using that common bond as a way to connect can help you overcome the initial discomfort of going back to interacting with people face-to-face.