Practice of the Month

Is the Pandemic Threatening Your Important Relationships?

Not too close. Not too distant.

Is the Pandemic Threatening Your Important Relationships



During these times of extraordinary social and personal anxiety, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy balance in our important family, community and business relationships. The physical separation that is occurring as a result of the need to “socially distance” can lead to excessive emotional distancing as well. While it is essential that we practice good social distancing to avoid spreading COVID-19, we must balance this preventive step with activities that help us remain emotionally connected with people in our family, community and work. In ordinary times and in the absence of elevated levels of anxiety, it is much less challenging to maintain a comfortable balance between “close enough” and “distant enough” in our emotional relationships. But under stress, the balance point can be much more difficult to find and maintain. With its constant stress on keeping a safe social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can all too easily tip the balance in favor of too much emotional distance, even to the point of cutoff.


Think for a moment about people in your various social networks. Have you moved away from anyone emotionally in recent months? Have you distanced yourself from a family member, friend or colleague who might really benefit from your effort to reconnect? Make a list—write it down—with the names of anyone you think you may have drifted away from in recent months.

Try It:

Identify the family members, colleagues and friends on your list with whom you think it is most important to reconnect. Think of creative ways to renew those relationships, given the limitations we all face these days. Take action so that both you and those who are enriched by your presence in their lives continue to remain “distant enough” physically to be safe—but also remain emotionally “close enough” in a balanced, connected fashion.