Anxiety, frustrations common in social interactions as health orders lift, experts offer advice on communication

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Now that masks aren’t mandated, capacities aren’t limited and life can return to the way it was before coronavirus shut down our cities and our world many are eager to return to ‘normal.’ But University of Dayton associate professor and sociologist, Dr. Art Jipson says this may not be an easy task as people adjust to life interacting with others.

“[From] having to communicate electronically to being back in rooms together, we’re dealing with a whole set of challenges reintegrating our forms of communication,” said Dr. Jipson.

Dr. Jipson says that the ambiguity of this time period may create a lot of tension and problems within society. Although health orders are lifted, health rules vary from business to business and some people may still have concerns about lingering COVID risk.

“Moments of ambiguity can not only being anxiety and frustration producing, but can also lead to a whole host of behaviors that can be highly problematic,” explained Dr. Jipson.

Dr. Jipson says that in these difficult times of anxiety and frustration, humans tend to behave in one of two ways: risk-shifting or tame-shifting.

“It might lead to decisions that we [would] be concerned about whether its drunk driving or someone is for the first time releasing many pent up frustrations… [or] people might engage in tamer behavior … like its perfectly safe to go out into a show in Dayton but they may not feel comfortable doing that.”

He says that the best way to counter the difficult transition is by recognizing the human behavioral patterns and communicating with understanding.

“You’re communicating with the benefit of the doubt that we’re all going through an unprecedented experience and maybe we’re hungry for connection [and] we’re needing human connection,” said Dr. Jipson

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