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  • Dina Cohen

Post-Quarantine Etiquette

I have a treat for you! It's a guest post by the fabulous Yaffi Lvova, my brilliant and witty dietitian buddy. Yaffi Lvova, RDN, is a writer, public speaker, and the owner of Baby Bloom Nutrition, which you can check out here to learn more about the very cool things she does.

Yaffi is one of the most real people I know, and one of her many superpowers is her ability to tell it like it is while also adding a healthy dose of insight. You'll see what I mean when you read what she so graciously shared in her post below. Please read it and pass it on as needed! You'll be glad you did.

Well, here it is. We have been locked down for over two months and it’s time to get back to real life. The problem is that some things have changed on the outside and you need to be prepared for the unsavory, the unexpected, the fact that we all look and think just a bit differently than we did at the start of the year.

You’ll be seeing friends again soon. In real life. Not through a screen. It’s very important to put on non-pajama clothing, yes, even the bottoms. Remember that there is no mute button in real life. If you lean to the left 12 inches, everyone will, in fact, still be able to see you.

You may not yet realize how much you’ve changed in the past 131,400 minutes, but the changes that have affected your friends will be very obvious. Here are some suggestions to help you avoid stepping on a social landmine.

This is your guide to Post-Quarantine Social Etiquette. Read carefully. It’s best to be prepared.

The Friend Who Shows up in PJs with a Terrible Haircut

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

You see it, I see it. We all see it. She sees it too. It’s going to take a while for us to return to social norms. There is a distinct chance that some will simply choose not to. Return to social norms, that is. Once you’ve lived life in PJs all day, there might not be any turning back.

The Friend Who Has Lost Weight

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

There will be those who come out of this with a little less cushion. And there are reasons for that. Maybe she used some time at home to discover fun exercise videos on YouTube and learned how to make her own food from scratch after her favorite foods disappeared from the shelves. Maybe she is glowing and gloriously happy.

Or maybe she was super-stressed out for the past three months and she couldn’t get a meal together and her appetite disappeared and she was so busy running after her kids and doing dishes and cleaning up the house that she didn’t make time for her self-care and now she is dragging her feet on the ground because she feels awful. Maybe.

Or maybe her income dropped with the economy, or she couldn't make it to the market, or was too anxious to go to the market. Maybe.

The Friend Who Has Gained Weight

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

There are some who will get off this ride with a little more to love. And there are reasons for that too. Maybe she has been depressed. Maybe she coped with food. She had no time for self-care. Maybe she binge ate from boredom.

Or maybe for the first time, this friend was able to have three meals and a couple of snacks because she was home rather than in her usual chaos at work. Maybe she no longer had to wake up at the crack of dawn for the school bus and was able to enjoy a leisurely nutritious breakfast with her kids before starting school-from-home. Maybe she appreciates her new curves. Maybe she feels healthier and more alive.

The Friend Who is Now a Germaphobe

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

Can you blame her? Really? Four months of “Wash your hands, don’t touch your face. Wash your hands, wear a mask, don’t touch your face! Wash your hands and for the sake of everything that is holy, stop picking your nose!!!”

We all may be a little shell-shocked here. While slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy, hugs may be fewer and further between. Some may approach friends with a hesitant wave, carefully gauging their friend’s interest in social contact. Some might stay germaphobes for a bit longer, while the others become...

The Friend Who is Suddenly a Hugger

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

After months of zero-physical contact, this friend may feel the need to make up for lost time by spreading her love all over the world with bear hugs that are a bit too tight and perhaps last a bit too long. She missed you. She missed everyone. Grin and bear it (unless you’re the germaphobe in the previous category who may want to just duck and cover while blowing kisses from 6 feet away).

The Friend Who Looks Exhausted

Proper greeting: “It’s so nice to see you!”

It’s likely you’re looking in the mirror. Double-check, then proceed.

This has been an exhausting time. Humor, love, support, sidewalk chalk, sourdough, dalgona coffee, memes, and Zoom have gotten us through it. As we re-enter the real world, let’s bring along with us some of the good. Let’s keep the compassion we have cultivated. Let’s keep the neighborly attitude and the patience. Let’s hold on to letting go - of the plan, of the moment, of the expectation.

Welcome back.

By Yaffi Lvova, RDN

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