Dr. Swayam Prabha Satpathy, Asso. Prof Dept.of Humanities (SOA)
Ms Isha Sharma, Research Scholar, Dept.of Humanities (SOA)
The recent pandemic has created a catastrophic situation in numerous ways which changed the living style of everyone. In last couple of years, people have adhered all the guidelines of Government and World Health Organization (WHO) in order to stay safe and healthy.
With such strict guidelines people were continuously advised to wear masks, cover their hands and heads, maintaining social distance to combat the tough times. This overnight social distancing has altered the way we communicate with each other and brought a drastic change in our social life in terms of communication.
Although the quick acceptance of ‘new normal’ by people wisely, the spread of this acute virus abruptly, bought a metamorphosis in the nonverbal communication deeply. However, the non-verbal nuances which is an integral part of communication refers to a variety of environmental clues, appearance features, nudges, facial expressions, gestures, lip reading affected our interpersonal skills.
With this ‘new normal’ expressions become difficult to recognize with a masked face especially in public places. As observed the covered faces has brought confusion, chaos and misinterpretation among people in the absence of nonverbal communication. Hence, people feel less connected with each other, isn’t it?
Despite its preventive role, the masked face acts as a physical barrier, this obstructs the meaningful conversations. This situation increases the chances of misjudged and misinterpreted emotions. In fact, the masked face forced people to focus only on eyes to understand the feelings and interests of each other. However, in many instances, it is seen that prolonged eye contact resulted in awkward situations, uncomfortable environment and unwanted anxiety as well as aggression. It’s true that covering a mouth also bounds our sentiments and makes it difficult to recognize the various emotions such as annoyance, fright, surprise and disgust.
Another graving point is, when the pandemic hit it is a challenge for the families how to disinfect the home as well as whether it is right time to go out for the daily commodities by covering head, face and hands which result abusive behavior, unnecessary fatigue and stress to get caught with virus. Further down the line, friends and peers with elevated stress levels could not receive satisfactory support in return. In the view of the above, it is logical to say that people tried hard to decipher the expressions as we as social beings always look forward for immediate feedback.
Certainly, for the time being, we can cope up with the situation by adopting few strategies, first, attend and communicate mindfully during the times of crisis. Second, being composed, exhibiting positive and calm behavior even in adverse situations. It is advisable not to show gestures or postures of frustration and impatience as it affects the minds of others as well. Thirdly, communicate clearly with the right tenor. Keep your speech clear with gentle tone and using gestures which would reflect positivity despite the turbulent times.
To help maximize our bonds, we also need to slow down in our daily discourses by recognizing and executing expressions to maintain the essence of interpersonal relationships. For an instance, blinking of eyes if agree and nodding your head if disagree to boost friendliness in lives. For a conducive environment one has to adhere to amicable gestures. Like using hand gestures and nodding can better substitute verbal communication and helps to keep the anxieties at bay.
But it’s all not bad; no doubt that pandemic has affected the quality of in person relationship as large gatherings were discouraged. It’s time to seek new ways to enhance interactions. Hence, Technology helps us to create and experience real world conversations. Thus, people are encouraged to go on virtual mode by using zoom, Google meet, whatsapp video calls, WebEx, team and so on to strengthen their relationships and bonds. It is also important to mention that with the growing affordability of internet and use of social media is the new reality. Keeping social distancing in mind, people are spending more time in front of their screens with their virtual friends and less time interacting face to face with neighbors and relatives.
Here, we need to brush up our life skills which definitely includes interpersonal and nonverbal skills in order to empathize and more helpful. This has already led to decreased socialization. No matter the form of communication, try to be considerate and stay connected with your peers and family to cut down ropes of pandemic.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com