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Tag Archives: Keep in touch during COVID

Old hands and cell phone

Showing an ounce of compassion can make an enormous difference, especially during this unusual, unsettling time. I wanted to write this post as a reminder that your efforts to reach out and check in with others will not go unnoticed. Even if you are struggling lately, asking about others’ wellbeing is still a good idea. Helping and reconnecting with others will also give you an emotional boost. There’s something about solidarity that is inherently comforting.

If you want to check in in a meaningful way, go beyond asking, “How are things?” during a group Zoom chat. Most people will answer, “Fine,” and proceed with the meeting. Instead, communicate one-on-one, either through email, a phone/video call, or even a hand-written letter. Private communication shows that you care enough about that person to take the time for personalized interaction (no matter what form it takes).

When you’re connecting with others, open the door for meaningful conversation by giving context to your questions. Instead of saying, “How’s it going,” try something like this:

Hi Sam. I know many people are struggling to keep their concentration (and our sanity!) as we continue to work from home. How are you handling things? I’ve personally found it difficult to juggle childcare and work. I know you have two kids. How has that adjustment been?

…ETC.

By adding some context to your questions and opening up about your situation, you create a pathway for a meaningful conversation. Entrusting “Sam” with a little information about yourself also demonstrates vulnerability and encourages Sam to follow suit, if they so choose.

When you’re considering checking in with others, think about who might need to hear from you most. Perhaps one of your co-workers lives alone and may be dealing with feelings of isolation right now. Maybe someone else has a newborn child and is potentially struggling to juggle parenthood with work. Outside of a workplace context, it’s possible you have older people in your life who feel cut off from others.

Make a list of the people you’d like to prioritize and check in with them first. Then, move on to others (even if someone seems fine on the surface, they may not be).

If you do discover that someone genuinely needs support, it’s a good idea to regularly connect with them. However, it’s important to recognize when a person needs more support than you can offer (especially when it comes to mental health). Instead of trying to be a psychiatrist on the side, (gently) help that person find the assistance they need.

In this uncertain and often troubling time, I encourage you to keep connected with others and reach out whenever you can. You never know when someone could use a personal note, asking how they are doing.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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