17 months of quarantine, remember social etiquette?


Quarantine – over 17 months of solitary confinement and time at home doing god-knows-what. In the extended period that we spent apart, we became emotionally distant from each other. We lost sight of the life we had before and our mental health deteriorated. We stared at screens and Zoom breakout rooms for hours on end. As the Fremont Union High School District opened their schools, students found themselves immersed in something they had not encountered in over a year: people. 

If you are feeling awkward, overwhelmed or anxious about socializing in person, you are not alone. It is perfectly normal! We have all been subject to huge changes throughout these past two years. With this guide, you can up your social game and feel the same “thrill of life” you once felt before quarantine. 

Tip  One: Be attentive and use other parts of your body and your face to be expressive.

  • Eyes and Eyebrows:
    • DO: Look at the other person directly in the eyes and use your eyebrows as much as possible. After all, with masks, they are the only things that are visible to others!  
    • DO NOT: Look blankly or look elsewhere from someone’s eyes. Give the person your attention.
  • Head: 
    • DO: Nod frequently to show that you are listening and/or if you agree. Shake when you do not agree. 
    • DO NOT: Turn your head away from the person you are speaking to/the person who is talking to you. 
  • Hands:
    • DO: Use your hands often to clarify or gesture what you are saying.
    • DO NOT: Use them to fiddle with other things. If you are not gesturing anything, keep your hands down and focus on the other individual.
  • Body:
    • DO: Face the person that you are communicating with and be warm and welcoming.
    • DO NOT Appear stiff or fiddle around or turn your body away from the person you are speaking to.
  • Voice:
    • DO: Speak up and enunciate as much as you can! Masks make it harder to hear others clearly, so make sure to speak clearly and repeat things if needed. With this, you also need to sound warm and welcoming, and genuine.
    • DO NOT: Speak softly or quietly, sound bored or uninterested or use sarcasm excessively where it is not needed. 

Tip  Two: Be yourself and talk about things you are passionate about!

  • Even if it feels like you have nothing to talk about, talk about quarantine! It’s relatable to everyone.
  • If it feels like a conversation is coming to a skeeting halt, try not to make it awkward and try to sense the vibe and keep it going.
  • Do not bring up sensitive topics to people you have just met. Avoid talking about trauma or unpleasant experiences that may be triggering to others. Keep things light-hearted! 
  • When in doubt, ask about what activities the other person is interested in or what you are doing or the classes they are taking. 
  • Remember: We are all in the same boat and we have all just come from quarantine. Each person has been through their share of struggles this past year. 

Tip  Three: Stay safe as much as possible!

  • Try to maintain social distancing and keep your mask on. Remember, just because we are back in person, it does not mean that COVID-19 is not spreading rapidly! By staying safe, it is another way to show respect to others! 

The past two years have been crazy. However, after all the anxiety, isolation, and quarantine, we are back together! This is an excellent opportunity for you to rebuild your life and find some new friends. Take advantage of this guide to boost your people skills in the present and the future and no matter what, make sure to remember your social etiquette.