In these days which most of us are facing for the first time, it is very difficult to cope with all the measurements from WHO (World Health Organisation) and individual governments.
As in the Czech Republic, for example, you can go outside only to go shopping or for a walk and not doing any unnecessary jobs, still wearing surgical masks, not to shake hands, stand at least two meters from each other and that’s it body language-wise, then there are a couple of more restrictions which kills people from the inside as they can’t do anything but let’s not talk about it right now.
These measures are pretty huge when we talk about body language, imagine when you talk to someone and you cannot read 60% of his facial expressions, it is fatal for your conversation. And this time requires new addition into the etiquette and also observing body language.
If you are skilled at reading facial expressions, you suffer as you can’t see the mouth of the person, nasolabial furrow, usually not even the root and wings of the nose and chin. If you are not, you just feel there is something missing in the conversation because these subtle movements are important in turning the conversation, it takes away the possibility to use the social smile, which is important for social interactions, and when we peek into harder metaphors, it still covers you the mouth as you are hiding something and it could provoke you into being more cheeky as your brain feels the mouth is always covered. 🙊
Not being able to establish physical contact is also something that can powerfully shake (in a negative way) the normal social interaction and we are probably not even sure why it happens. It is such a breaking of a thought habit. You know the habit is very powerful, the brain sticks with it no matter what and when there is suddenly some change it totally pulls the brain off the balance and it takes some time to get back. The habit is to shake hands when greeting someone and when the person you intend to shake hands with refuses, you even if you know why, will be surprised and pulled off the balance and you have to cope with this momentary confusion quickly because if you won’t, you can have a serious disadvantage in the conversation.
Standing too far away from each other is not only prevention from spreading Covid-19 but also prevention from establishing a close conversation. We are all used to talk to people from much smaller distances (from 50cm to 1m) as we try to get as much privacy as we can and also escalate the relationship to have a nice conversation. In this situation, we can fail to establish a feeling of privacy so the conversation can be unfulfilling and if you don’t expect it, it can cause you some unpleasant feeling, which we don’t need in these days.
By this article, I don’t want to mock the measures they took, I want to support them and appeal to sticking with them. I just wanted to bring attention to what can these steps cause on the level of nonverbal communication so you could expect that and not let the unpleasant feeling affect the perspective on some people and some situations.
We can only go through all of this when we will be positive, friendly, supportive, clever and collegial. Because we are a society.
Fancy knowing more about the observing body language?