New social pressures are occurring as people are interacting during this pandemic. We might have differing comfort levels when it comes to physical distancing. In my experience, there appears to be 4 “levels” of approaches to social distancing.
Level 1: This group is not worried about catching Covid19. They don’t wear masks, have people over to socialize, no concerns about maintaining 6’ apart.
Level 2: This group tries to follow guidelines but aren’t consistent. They make many exceptions to the guidelines. They wear masks at stores but will have people in their homes to socialize without masks or 6’ distancing if they feel that those people are deemed safe enough to allow in.
Level 3: This group consistently follows distancing recommendations. They wear masks if 6’ can’t be maintained and will socialize outside while following guidelines. They will ask how others are with the guidelines when asked to social events to determine if they are comfortable attending.
Level 4: This group has not left the house hardly at all. They get groceries delivered and are maintaining relatively strict quarantine.
When levels 1-3 interact (level 4 will decline social events), a new social or peer pressure might occur. If you’re level 3 and show up at a level 1 barbecue, will you be the only one to put on a mask? If it starts to rain and everyone goes inside, do you go too? Do you leave the BBQ? Do you put on a mask if you’re the only one who does?
If you’re level 1, do you judge others for their caution? If you’re level 4, what has to happen that will make you feel safe to leave your home? Do you discuss why you feel the way you do or keep those thoughts to yourself? There might be families that have multiple levels living together. This could cause strife and intense debate.
There are no easy answers for how to handle this new social pressure. Being respectful of the opinions of others is encouraged regardless of how fervently you might disagree. When this is over, and at some unknown point it will be over, we will want those friendships to remain intact, even if those friends have an opposing view. I (Nadine) have been coaching kids to expect that social events might bring surprises regarding distancing and for them to think about the various scenarios prior to attending so that they can decide for themselves how they are comfortable handling the situation.