The corona virus has a huge effect on our daily lives. For quite some time now, we have been asked to adjust our entire lives: we have to work from home if possible, we can’t go to school and all bars and restaurants are closed. You might feel relieved that we’ll have some of our freedom back as from the 1st of June. But, maybe you feel like you’ll have to get used to this new situation all over again, and that you’ll have to communicate new boundaries with the people around you. You can quickly tell that everyone deals with this new situation in their very own way.
Sociologist Peter Achterberg from the University of Tilburg explains: “You can visit others with a maximum of 3 people, but we prefer you don’t. Some people emphasize the “we prefere you don’t” part, while others focus on the fact that you’re still allowed to visit your friends and family.” People look at situations with different expectations and ideas of what you can and cannot do. It could be that you and your surroundings aren’t quite on the same page. How will you be able to set your boundaries?
Four tips to set your boundaries
- Think about what you want and what you don’t want to do. For example: after the 1st of June you can feel fine with meeting a small group of people in a park or at the beach, while making sure you keep social distance. But meeting up with a group of people in a living room might feel less pleasant. Or, you’d rather stick to meeting up with a maximum of three people.
- Making sure you clarify your own boundaries for yourself, will help you to clearly set them with others. Communicate with each other, and tell others what you like and what you don’t.
- Do you still feel pressured to act differently? Then try to find a middle ground. If you don’t feel comfortable with meeting a group of people, ask your friend to do something with just the two of you.
- Don’t try to change or convince the other. The things that cross your boundaries could be totally okay for someone else, or the other way around. But what’s most important is that you stay aware of each other’s needs. Don’t push someone to leave the house or to stay inside when he or she doesn’t feel the same way. But definitely don’t try to convince yourself to do something that doesn’t feel good, either!
Because however clear the rules may be, there’s always room for discussion and interpretation. The most important thing is to stay true to yourself. Allow yourself to find out what feels right and what doesn’t. Step by step.