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Connecting with each other as the world open up

Our social lives are made up of a myriad of little traditions and rituals that provide regular and predicable touch points at which we can connect with each other. Whether it is over a drink, a meal, a hobby, an activity or regular event – these social connections are part of the process by which we create a sense of shared meaning, of community and of social support. For over a year now our normal rhythms of life and our rituals of connection have been disrupted by the restrictions associated with Covid.

What is true for our general social connections is even more profound in our connections with our partners. So many of our rituals have been so dramatically disturbed that many of us find it difficult to remember what our normal points of connection may have been before the pandemic. As we begin to emerge from lockdown and some of the restrictions are lifted, we are presented with an opportunity to (re) imagine our connections with our partners. We may have had long established rituals that have been lost during lockdown that we want to resurrect – maybe a favourite time or place for a drink together or trips the cinema, theatre or music venue. Likewise there might be new rituals that we have developed during lockdown that we would like to keep hold of maybe new home based hobbies we have established or new touch points to the day around coffee breaks, lunch or our evening / bedtime routines.

According to our personalities we may well find ourselves feeling that we’re in different places about the social world opening up again. For some – they are desperate to get out there and embrace the social connections they have been missing.  They can’t wait to make the most of it! For others, the prospect of re-engaging with some aspects of social life may be making them feel overwhelmed. It is to be expected that levels of social anxiety will be heightened and the process of re-adjustment will be challenging. It is so important that we are mindful of each other’s differences at this time of transition and that we give space to express our needs, desires and fears.

So in the coming days we each have the chance to consciously (re)imagine the points of connection that we have with our partners and with our wider social world both individually and collectively. It is not, however, something that is likely to be successfully achieved by chance but rather through thought, intention, open communication and by being mindful of each other’s differences.

To consider together:

  • What are the rituals of connection that you had with one another before the pandemic that  you would like to resurrect?
  • Are there any new rituals of connection that you have developed during lockdown that you would like to maintain?
  • Are there any new rituals of connection that you would like to consider developing as the social environment opens up?
  • How are you both feeling about the opening up of social life after lockdown? Where are your differences? How can you support one another to get what you need from each other and from each other’s social networks in the coming days?

In fact Tracey and I are just off to the newly opened pub to discuss these very questions : )

Richard Elliott

Husband, father, teacher, coach & philanthropist. Richard is a director of Pickwell Manor Ltd and a co-founder of the Pickwell Foundation - a grant making charitable trust focusing on displaced people and climate change. He has a diploma in business, life & executive coaching and a background in Post 16 education in which he taught and managed social science subjects. He has a particular interest in how values shape individuals, relationships, families and organisations.

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