I am a hugger.
When my mom was still alive, one of her favorite things was getting a hug. I would greet her with a hug and say good-bye with a hug. Our good-bye hugs were always a little tighter and lasted a little longer.
Hugging is not only a greeting. It’s a crucial part of communication. Given the choice of a hug or a handshake, I hug.
Nothing makes you feel warmer, safer, more comforted, and reassured than a hug.
I am a smiler.
Smiling puts me in a good mood. Smiling relaxes the people around you and puts them in a good mood! Smiling is contagious. Go ahead and smile at a stranger and see what happens. I’ve formed many lifelong friendships that started with a huge, heartfelt smile.
I am terrible at social distancing.
Wearing a mask has put the kibosh on two of my favorite things. Hugging and smiling.
We know a human being can live for about three weeks without food, and only three or four days without water.
I wonder how long we can survive without hugs and smiles?
Here’s the problem. Masks are creating more than a barrier for droplets and aerosols. They are making people feel withdrawn, fearful, and socially inept.
The only place I go where a mask is mandatory is the grocery store. For someone like me who’s worked from home for 20 years, a grocery store trip is a social event. When my kids were small, they hated watching their popsicles melt while my 10-minutes shopping trip turned into 45 minutes of chatting and laughing.
These days, people don’t even make eye contact with each other, in stores, restaurants, or on the streets.
No hugging. No smiling. It makes me sad.
I’m not condemning the mask or the social distancing.
You do you, and I’m not going to judge.
Just remember, covering our faces and keeping our distance does not mean the people around us do not exist.
We can be kind. We can wave. We can greet each other with a friendly “hello, how are you?” We can have conversations.
Being friendly does not exchange germs.
Human beings are social creatures. Depression is on the rise. We all need to be more mindful of how we are treating (or not treating) each other. Phase 4, to me, is having normal social interactions again.
Be warned, when we get the green light, you’re getting hugged.