coming back from covid

Tips on Re-Learning Social Skills in a Post-Pandemic World

NBC Universal, Inc.

California is still on track for a statewide reopening on June 15, which means some people will be returning to the office and others a beginning to plan larger family gatherings and trips.

But how can people greet their family and coworkers who they haven't seen in more than a year, without making them feel uncomfortable?

Some have already experienced awkward moments like when reaching out for a handshake, but instead are met with an elbow.

"I'm a little leery about going out and shaking people's hands or anything like that," said Shalene Lindstaedt said.

Lindstaedt on Tuesday met her friend Peggy Jordan for coffee. The two hugged when they saw each other because the friends are both vaccinated.

They both acknowledge it would be different if they weren't vaccinated.

"I think elbow is the thing to do," Jordan said. "I don't think we should be handshaking anybody right now."

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department said that all close contact is safer when both parties are fully vaccinated, but what are the dos and don'ts?

Mike Aguilera is a communications coach and has been giving Zoom lessons on how to greet people after not seeing them in over a year.

The first few weeks of normalcy might not seem normal at all, Aguilera said. He said body language should help everyone know how others feel.

"People will reveal with their body motion what's going on within their mind," Aguilera said. "And a lot of people miss those cues."

Aguilera said reach out with your fist first if that's what you prefer and watch the other person's intentions throughout their body language. People can always just talk.

People should ask if it is OK to hug before reaching out with open arms and creating a potentially awkward moment.

"We kind of just do the elbow, or say, 'No, thank you,'" Jordan said.

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