While the term “social distancing” has an off-puttingly clinical ring, the fact is, we each bring our own individual style and flair to the practice of self-isolation. What kind of social distancer are YOU? Peruse these common social distancing types (“SDTs”) to find out.
1) The Germaphobe
The purest of the SDTs, the Germaphobe has always secretly (or not so secretly) preferred maintaining a healthy distance from others so as to avoid the unnecessary exchange of body fluids – and if you're a Germaphobe, now is your time! You no longer have to hide your aversion to the nitty gritty of unsanitized daily life in order to appear "normal"; your germaphobia is now a quality worthy of respect, appreciation, and most, importantly, replication. So if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
2) The Passive-Aggressive
The Passive-Aggressive, who’s always on the scout for ways to covertly snub, insult, or otherwise condescend to others, has the perfect justification in the form of COVID-19. How to tinge your social distancing with an implicit (but clear) air of passive-aggressiveness? Emphasize that you’re social-distancing from everyone other than a select few – of whom the person in question is not one. Throw in a tacit insult or two about taking special precautions around certain “at risk” individuals, and they'll get the hint.
3) The Virtuoso
Are you the type who went outside once, and found that the graphics weren’t that great? If you've long preferred virtual reality to the garden-variety (literally) stuff, you're a true-blue Virtuoso. And thanks to the coronavirus, your virtual existence is no longer a sub-grade-A version of life; it's the preferred version, and everyone wants in! Those former real-worlders will be clamoring after Virtuosos like you to help them navigate the complexities of online discussion forums, private Facebook groups, and constant computer connectivity. No longer a geek or socially-awkward freak, you’re a first-class citizen in our new, virtual society - and it's your time to shine. So shine on, you crazy diamond!
4) The Codependent
Of all the SDTs, the Codependent may be the one with the most to gain from social distancing – because, in case you haven’t heard, absence makes the heart grow needier! Rest secure (or insecure) in the certainty that the people you're no longer able to see in person miss you tremendously, are suffering terribly without you, and crave your constant reassurance that you haven’t abandoned them. Waste not a second in letting them know – over and over and over again – that you’re here for them, and that you aren’t going anywhere (at least until the next online Al-Anon meeting).
5) The Closet Isolator
And, finally, while many struggle to wrap their heads around the concept of self-isolation, the Closet Isolator has been practicing social distancing for years – internally. Proud bearers of the “lonely gene,” the Closet Isolator long ago honed the practice of self-isolating even in the midst of large groups of people. And now that social distancing is all the rave, the Closet Isolator no longer has to pretend to feel connected – because everybody is disconnected. COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity to come out of the closet and declare your emotional isolation to the world. You're not alone anymore! (Well, you are, but you always were, and now everyone else is, too. You get the concept.)
The bottom line is, whatever your SDT, social distancing can be a handy and powerful tool for coming into your full quirkiness and uniquely flawed self. And whatever your temperament or preferences, know that you, too, can go the social distance.
Stay well, stay healthy, and stay safe – and, most of all, stay distanced….