This is to kick of our daily blogs on all things behaviour and personality related to COVID-19.

With social distancing becoming a key word and in important one at that let’s understand what it means and some of the unnecessary side effects. 

Walking to the baker to get some bread on Sunday morning (still allowed) – only three people allowed in the baker per time – all fine. Short queue outside, everyone at a good distance, all good. But what I noticed as I walked back and in the queue was that everyone was keeping their distance as we had all been advised to but strangely many people were avoiding each other’s eyes and not saying things like a friendly “Good morning!” (which is common in Switzerland). As I walked back I saw a neighbour I knew, we passed at a distance, and I passed a smile and a sprightly “Good morning!” – she hardly looked at me. Why this?

Physical distance implies social distance i.e. coldness. So, we are connecting two related concepts but as one goes, so does the other. So, we create physical distance and then start to increase the social distance. Now, I do understand why it is called “social distancing” and not “physical distancing” but we do need a reminder that physical distance is not the same as social distance. Even if some are afraid, a smile and a good morning won’t increase your risks of being infected, and will add a bit of light to your and other’s days.

So, my COVID-19 advice for the day is to keep your distance but make an effort to keep friendly, and have social interactions at a distance, or through calling your neighbours to check they are fine. Just a smile, and a quick call can make a big difference in these times. 

Here’s to physical distance with human closeness.