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How has coronavirus influenced human communication?

Published: 22nd September 2021 17:36

 

As we continue to wonder how long the pandemic period will extend and live with a general feeling of constant unrest, we gradually start adapting and acknowledge the changes that become a natural part of our everyday life. 

 

We subconsciously feel the need to avoid crowded places, adopt such small rituals as sanitizing hands whenever we touch something or checking the local stats on coronavirus at least once per day.

 

But, what’s even more noticeable in our society, the novel coronavirus has greatly affected even the way we behave, interact and build relationships with each other.

 

No non-verbal cues 

 

For the sake of social distancing most of us limited all unnecessary face-to-face interactions, pushing almost all our existence online. 

And while connecting virtually is really great to keep safe, constant usage of our devices has also a considerable drawback - worsening of our communication.

 

No secret that more than fifty percent of our messages are conveyed not by spoken language, but by gestures, facial expressions and overall body language.

 

Such nonverbal communication reflects unique insights the speaker doesn’t wrap in words, or emphasises what is being said; shows his underlying knowledge and better illustrates information. 

 

It helps build trust, better engage the listener and ensure the message gets through to him correctly.

 

That’s why having switched to texting or talking over the phone we deprive our interlocutors of such essential help to better and easier understand us. 

 

Moreover, studies suggest that women, especially mature ones, place a major emphasis on gestures, rather than words when meeting new people. No matter what new acquaintances say, they are great at deciphering all moves. 

 

So now for the ones wanting to meet a cougar, making proper first impressions and gaining trust can become a pretty challenging task as well.

 

Loss of interpersonal skills  

 

Not only the communication with those who we already know has suffered,  but our relationship building skills with new people have been affected by the pandemic as well. 

 

Since we tend to work online, go to museums, gatherings or events online, even take tours to Paris on youtube, no surprise we get less and less places to meet someone and practice communication. 

Major companies, such as Google also express the fear that such isolation may result in the fact that newcomers, as well as current employees, are likely to miss the needed feeling of team, company unity and support, as they simply lack even those small unplanned chats with colleagues in their workplaces throughout the day. 

 

That's why every time getting new acquaintances in real life  becomes more and more difficult.

 

But while the technologies deteriorate  the situation from one side, they can oftentimes act as a saviour as well: more and more of dating services throughout the UK become incredibly specific, like Edinburgh gay meet, Casual London flings, Gay men in Leicester, or Vegitarian singles in Chester, helping people more accurately and easier find people they are ost likely to build strong connections and long-lasting relationships.

    

Covering facial expressions

 

Since part of our face almost constantly remains hidden with masks, our interlocutors now have another problem - grasping your true state of mind, which was done simply by seeing for example whether we were smiling or not. Even following the conversation and ideas became more complicated, not to mention muffled speech.

 

However, despite all this, the masks have also allowed us to move our main focus and attention to the eyes, the authentic protagonists of non-verbal language. Through them we express our attention and attraction (with a dilated pupil for example), or, on the contrary, lack of interest (with constricted pupil). 

 

In addition to it we have also learned to value the authentic smile, which is always accompanied by lateral folds or wrinkles around the corners of the eyes.

 

No touching

 

For many people, physical interaction is one of the most important communication vehicles. Having a chance to hug each other, give a pat, caress at a moment of closeness help them make communication easier and initiate emotional connection.

 

Now, the need for social distance does not allow us to touch a person standing right next to us, making it harder to convey our feelings and truly bond.

 

And although we all directly or indirectly suffered from the coronavirus and would definitely not want to repeat this experience, one thing is certain - the last year was a year of great changes, some of which will remain with us for a long time. 

And while some have presented a challenge, others have surely helped us to get to know each other better and find new ways of communication as well.

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