Over in the Dear Prudence advice column, there was a question the other day from someone related to tensions arising between her and her friend over how they are approaching sheltering in place. She wrote: “Long story short, she felt like I was shaming her for not being as strict with quarantine as I am. I told her that I was not judging her in any way and honestly felt a little hurt that she would think that. She hasn’t spoken to me since and is steadfastly ignoring any communications on my end.” It made me think of other conversations and comments I’ve heard around tensions and shaming regarding differences in how friends and family and neighbors approach quarantine. As restrictions around the country begin to lift – prematurely, a lot of us believe – I suspect tensions will grow even deeper. I’m curious: Have you experienced any issues in your relationships around personal habits as they relate to slowing the spread of the virus? I’m also curious: If you live in areas where restrictions are beginning to lift, how will that affect your own personal habits? What will you change – either by choice or lack of choice (like if your unemployment will be cut off, forcing you to go to work) in the immediate future?
Here in NYC, where we’ve had 20,000 deaths to coronavirus and also the steepest decline in cases, hospitalizations, and daily deaths, the end of sheltering in place is nowhere in sight. My guess is it will be many months before we’re back to any semblance of normal though maybe by July non-essential businesses like hair salons and retail stores will begin re-opening. I will take a wait and see approach to everything. I miss so much about my normal life, but what I miss the most is spending time with friends, so more than getting a haircut or dining out or going shopping, what I am most excited about is socializing again, and that will be the first thing I start doing when it’s deemed safe. I will probably wait longer than others for personal grooming and self-care activities. But ask me again when I go another month without a professional haircut…
So, how about you? Are there people in your life who are making you nervous with their current personal habits? Are you feeling shamed by others for yours? What will be the first changes you make as restrictions begin to ease?
P.S. If you have a pressing issue around this topic that you want advice on, email me at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.