How to mingle again. ‘Slowly. Re-entry anxiety is real’

Psychologists recommend dipping back in slowly, gradually exposing yourself to people

My workplace is opening up. I’ll have to mingle again, but how?

Returning to any kind of socialising can feel weird. The pandemic means not only that we are out of practice but also that “stranger danger” has been drummed into us. Re-entry anxiety is real. Psychologists recommend dipping back in slowly, gradually exposing yourself to any anxiety triggers to the point where you can live with them. Start with small meet-ups. Employers organising mix-and-mingle events, take note.

I’m so out of practice

Everyone else is too. Some of the old rules still apply – a smile and open body language will go a long way, says Orla McAuliffe, chief executive of the Professional Training Centre. But keep your hands to yourself. “Shaking hands is a no-no. Be mindful of what the other person is comfortable doing, whether it’s an elbow bump or a ‘Hello’,” says McAuliffe. Indeed, this awkward penguin dance can break the ice nicely.

The Irish Times
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