The pandemic has done a number on social interaction and social norms as we know them, but many of us have done our best to meet the changes in an effort to be helpful.
Most of us have stayed at home when instructed to, washed our hands more frequently, stayed 6 feet apart, and wore masks when going out was necessary.
In the same breath, most of us know someone who has responded to the pandemic in a less than graceful manner.
If you have become frustrated with friends or family and their inappropriate responses to pandemic social distancing protocols, you are not alone.
The pandemic has been eye-opening for people in a number of ways and the response to protocols is just one of several issues placed on family relationships.
Socializing During A Pandemic
Before the pandemic, you may have frequently met up with friends and family for fun get-togethers, but when lockdowns occurred, you did your best to comply in order to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
After all, these protocols were advised all over the media, and for the most part, people were willing to put their own inconveniences aside out of a desire to help others.
Spending time together started taking place over Zoom more often than not, and any in-person meetings were conducted with the utmost care.
That said, it’s easy to understand how and why you may be frustrated with friends and loved ones who are not as willing as you to be a part of the solution.
Having to wear a mask to the store again is not exactly comfortable, and it isn’t fun to stay cooped up at home when you were accustomed to a vibrant social life.
But if you can do it, it’s normal to expect others to do the same, and frustrating when they choose not to.
Why Are My Friends Behaving This Way?
It’s difficult to understand why a person might choose to ignore COVID-19 protocols that are in place to save lives, especially when the rules are not terribly difficult to follow.
People respond to difficult situations in a number of ways, including acceptance, stressful compliance, mold denial, and aggressive defiance.
Unfortunately, some of our friends and family members may fall into less than desirable behaviors out of a desire to return to what was once normal.
These behaviors can challenge your ability to be around these people, cause you to limit your interaction with them, or completely change the way you view them.
We all want life to return to normal, but it’s understandable to become frustrated with friends and family members who throw caution to the wind in order to try forcing normalcy to return.
What Can I Do About My Concerns?
Nobody wants to initiate difficult conversations that may lead to arguments about safety protocols because these conversations may lead to your friends and family making light of your concerns or shaming you for them.
That said, you should not be expected to put yourself into uncomfortable situations in an effort to avoid rocking the boat when someone doesn’t match the level of caution you adopt.
For example, if you feel frustrated with friends who continuously invite people to their home without and cleaning measures in place, you’re within your rights to decline and not feel bad for being safe.
On the other hand, if your friends are all interacting through Zoom meetings and you choose to decline because it just does not feel the same, you’re allowed to feel discouraged about the social challenges you now face.
There is no wrong way to respond to virus protocols so long as you’re doing your best to be considerate of other people.
Sometimes, when you encounter such vastly different reactions to social distancing guidelines in your personal circles, the only option you have is to maintain the healthy boundaries you have set.
Your safety and mental well-being are among the most important things for you to maintain in your life, even if you become distant from friends or argue with family as a result.
I’m Being Made To Feel Foolish and I’m Upset By It
It’s easy to understand how having your concerns scoffed at may make you feel like your friends and family do not value your choices.
Having different perspectives than those of your family and friends is not only common but also a natural part of life.
However, if you feel that someone has violated your boundaries and pressured you to change your behavior, your valid in feeling like you’re being treated unfairly.
Needing support in order to work through your frustration with friends and family is acceptable. In fact, you may benefit from speaking with a licensed therapist, including family counseling services if you feel that family therapy would apply to your situation.
If you’d like to seek support for your social interaction challenges, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with social and family issues, and we would be honored to help you, too.
Please feel free to reach out to us to set up a complimentary consult call so we can match you with the best therapist for your situation.