While most of us have already realized the importance of social distancing, some others are still taking it lightly. The coronavirus infection has affected around 26 million people worldwide and killed lakhs. While we are trying our best to distance ourselves physically from others, it’s tough to deal with certain people who aren’t serious about the pandemic. We often come across people in the market who do not wear masks properly or stand right behind us in the queues ( old habits die hard!), without keeping any distance. It’s not always easy to tell them on the face, ‘Stay away!’ or ‘Back Off’. How would we deal with those situations then? Here are 5 polite ways in which we can ask others to socially-distance themselves from us:
1. Use Gentle Phrases Like “If You Don’t Mind”, “Let’s Be Safe”
If a stranger or a relative comes too close to you, you can give them a pleasant smile and use gentle phrases like ‘If you don’t mind’, ‘Let’s be safe’ or ‘Let’s have concern for each other. For example, we can say, ” Would you mind giving me some additional space? I want both of us to be safe.”
2. Apologise Even If You’re Not At Fault
We should not use the word ‘sorry’ if we are not at fault. But when it comes to social distancing, you can, at least to sound polite. If someone is not keeping a distance from you, you can simply say, “I am so sorry, I guess we should maintain social distancing.”
3. Do A ‘Namaste’ When Someone Offers A Handshake
Entering into a deal with your business partner and he is offering a handshake? Reply with a smile and a decent ‘namaste’. Let the beauty of Indian culture define social distancing. In other words, use actions and modes of communication that do not involve touch.
4. If Words Don’t Work, Use Your Body Language
It might happen that the person around you is talking over the phone to someone. You can use your body language then to communicate your concern. Let’s understand this with an example. Say, you are standing in a queue with social distancing markings. You might be standing on one circle but the person behind might flout the norms. You can look into his eyes with a soft smile and then look at the marking, ensuring that he notices.
5. Get A Customized T-Shirt With A Social Distancing Message
This might sound like an outside the box suggestion, but what’s the harm in having one? It can be a quirky way to spread awareness about social distancing. Numerous brands are now selling t-shirts online with prominent social distancing messages. Websites like Vistaprint also make customized t-shirts with the quote of your choice. Buy 2 to 3 pieces of them and wear them when you step out to the places prone to crowds.
So, this was a brief etiquette guide for interacting with people, especially strangers amid the ‘new normal’. Having said that, there are some people who aren’t convinced by good words. We might try our best to be as humble as possible, but if ignored, we need to be blunt and straightforward. After all, safety should come as the first priority now. On that note, here are 6 ways to greet by maintaining social distancing: