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Video Badger Talks: Re-starting your social life

April 15, 2021 By Veronica Rueckert

As vaccination rates climb and cases of COVID19 fall in many places, pandemic restrictions are beginning to loosen. This glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, however far off, has many people contemplating what it will be like to resume their in-person lives again, with colleagues, friends and family. Not everyone is eager to pick up where they left off with their social lives.

Christine Whelan is a clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology and an expert on wellness and well-being. In this Badger Talks, she addresses social awkwardness, changing relationships, and how to be purposeful about what kind of relationships you’d like in your life.

Whelan says looking back at Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has some newly relevant ideas about the basics of social interaction, like how to smile, ask questions, and find out what interests other people. Awkward pauses are OK, says Whelan; we just need to just focus on drawing the other person out.

Whelan also sees the moment as an opportunity for a social reset that will pay dividends if we make purposeful decisions about what and who we want in our lives. “Having some grace with yourself,” Whelan advises, “but also asking yourself the hard questions about what matters most to me in terms of these relationships, why do these relationships matter to me, and how is the best way I can make it happen while still preserving some of the potentially great relationships you’ve been able to deepen during the pandemic.”