The pandemic has brought with it the concept of “social distancing.” While remaining six feet apart has applied primarily in retail settings, a far more drastic alteration of our daily lives has created far greater distance. People have spent the better part of a year working from home and away from colleagues. Our kids have traded the bustling school hallways and lunchrooms for lonely bedrooms staring at computer screens. And many of us have suffered the longest stretch without seeing loved ones in our entire lives. It’s physically painful.
There was an early pushback on the “social distancing” moniker as some worked to rebrand it as “physical distancing,” asserting that we didn’t need to lose connection simply because we couldn’t be physically connected. But we have.
The meteoric rise of Zoom ushered in a new era of virtual connection, conversation and geographically distant business meetings and online events. While it has proven efficient, it’s not the same. Even when we are present, elbow bumping just isn’t funny anymore.
Humans crave physical connection to other humans. From the early years snuggling with our parents to wrestling with our siblings or young friends. From hand-holding with our love and big hugs with friends and family, it’s more than just what we were used to, it’s what we needed to thrive emotionally. It was taken from us. I miss it.
So, when will it return? Will it return? Will we shake hands when we are introduced to new business connections, give or receive a pat on the back for a job well done, or embrace colleagues to celebrate a shared success? I certainly hope so. I’m a hugger and I miss it. What’s your prediction?