Clinical psychologist gives advice on what to remember before your first in-person meeting

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Posted at 2:44 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 18:22:13-04

After a year of isolation, many admit their social anxiety has spiked now that society is reopening again.

As we begin to get together in person again, having a normal conversation may feel strange, and even having a filter, may not be on your mind.

So a clinical psychologist has advice on what to do, before heading out the door.

"We all have been so isolated. We forgot what it's like to have a back and forth. We're so used to posting online and posting our opinions in chat rooms, that people forget to ask, what do you think? And take turns," she said.

Dr. Tracy Bennett, a clinical psychologist, has noticed that as the country starts to open up again, people have forgotten how to be polite.

And with many no longer wearing a mask and canceling Zoom meetings for in-person chats, Bennett says to remember you're not in the virtual world anymore.

"We've forgotten how to read those nonverbal skills. And sometimes, we just work from our thoughts instead of from our instincts. So I think we're going to have to give ourselves some grace while we redevelop those lost skills that we haven't been practicing for a while," she said.

She recommends being mindful of how you're behaving and remember to be kind and human.

"I think we all need to take stock in how we're different than we were a year ago. And before you walk into a room with people you don't know so well, set the intention that you're going to ask a simple question like, what do you think?" she said.

As you begin to see friends and family again in person, Bennett recommends avoiding explosive topics like politics and religion. And if you're still feeling some anxiety before that first face-to-face meeting, take a breath.

"Six-second exhales are my very favorite from the diaphragm. You can calm yourself down in almost any situation. Just giving six-second exhales," she recommends.

Bennett also recommends coming up with some friendly topics before walking out the door including topics you're interested in and willing to talk about.

It can help you get back into the swing of things and learn to listen again to other people's opinions.

You can learn more tips on Bennett's website here: