I have been working right through the pandemic providing counseling for those who want/need it during these difficult times. At first, I was working from home, with all the same issues all those working from home had, barking dogs, spouses, and computer glitches. I have no children at home but loved seeing my clients virtually with their children, their pets, and inside their homes. These are views therapists are never privy too! Then, my partners and I decided it was time to go back to the office. I offered in person, with mask, or virtual sessions. Soon we measured and realized we were sitting at least six feet from our clients and began regular face to face sessions again or face to face with masks.! One thing I learned during this pandemic is flexibility can be a thing in counseling!
After the quarantine/shelter in place period I noticed clients, family, and friends telling me they were so nervous to go back to doing things outside their homes. Clients specifically booked sessions with me to talk about their anxiety regarding returning to life outside their homes.
A good friend in Alaska told me she was going to the local wine bar to meet friends. The first time out and about since the pandemic began. Fat Stans had a reservation policy in place. You could reserve a table for up to five people and stay only an hour. My friend told me this with both excitement and trepidation in her voice. We were on a group text with some other friends and she texted how nervous she was to go because she had been at home, with only her family, for so long. We all encouraged her to go and have fun. She reported to us that she had dressed up, applied full make-up, and left the house feeling socially awkward and quite anxious. A half hour later she texted the group she had gotten to Fat Stans but did not see the people she was meeting. She contacted one and was told, “Loren, we are meeting tomorrow night!” We all had a good laugh! She had been so nervous to leave her house and be social that she went on the wrong night.
Although Loren’s story is funny it rang true to me because I was hearing, in my office, people were also feeling socially awkward about going out. I worked to help people through it and to adjust to the new phases of normal we were going through. Yesterday, I saw this opinion piece and had a chuckle. Someone else had noticed, researched, and labeled what I am calling Social Awkwardness in the New Normal. I think I will share it with Loren.