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‘Insinuation Anxiety’ And Social Awkwardness: How Are You Navigating Differences With Pandemic Safety?




Members of the public wear party hats in St James's Park on May 16, 2020 in London, England .
Members of the public wear party hats in St James's Park on May 16, 2020 in London, England .
Alex Davidson/Getty Images

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Of the myriad ways the novel coronavirus has disrupted the average American’s life, social anxiety might not immediately spring to mind as a consequence.

But stress around social cues has, nonetheless, become one of the many interpersonal problems exacerbated by the pandemic. A recent Vox article looked into the phenomenon of “insinuation anxiety”— the feelings of unease and discomfort which might arise when you, for example, turn down a friend’s invitation to dinner because you don’t feel safe enough. Many American communities are now so virus-saturated that the burden of public safety is almost entirely on civilians, who must use their own calculus to weigh a social interaction against the abstract threat posed by the virus. Although many people have adapted their behaviors out of consideration for others’ safety (like wearing a mask or spacing out in line), these adaptations can result in uncomfortable or tense moments, especially since large swaths of the country do not see the pandemic as a significant threat. Have you experienced “insinuation anxiety” or uncomfortable interactions over coronavirus safety, either with friends or strangers? How do you navigate these moments? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.