You’re Never Going to Meet All Your Post-Pandemic Social Commitments

Illustration for article titled You're Never Going to Meet All Your Post-Pandemic Social Commitments

Photo: Jacob Lund (Shutterstock)

Lost of us have spent the past 15 months fantasizing about all the amazing things we’ll be able to do once the pandemic’s marathon slog has reached its end. Perhaps we’ve even made tentative plans to finally get together with too many people to count. But truthfully, it’s possible that you’ve heaped your plate with more post-pandemic plans than you can digest—especially if you’ve arranged a bunch of social gatherings that sound nice in theory, but for which you probably won’t have the time, maybe ever.

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While things are looking good in the near-term (the pandemic is on the wane here in the U.S., though globally it’s another story), you need to be realistic with yourself about how much opportunity you’ll really have to see the people who truly matter to you—and whether it’s worth making the time to see those who don’t matter as much.

Post-pandemic social commitments have gotten out of hand

Look, you’re popular, and that’s not your fault. All of us yearned for a return to normalcy prior to being vaccinated, are are ready to resume our live with gusto after receiving our jabs. If you’ve made plans to see more people than now feels reasonable, you’re going to have to be a bit ruthless.

Whittle down your social commitments by 20 percent

Make an honest-to-goodness list of all the people you’ve made plans with. This can encompass friends, family, acquaintances, networking pals, co-workers, old flames—whoever. Then do your best to shave down the number of people on it by 20 percent.

Don’t feel bad about nixing folks from your list of commitments; chances are, they’re probably doing the same thing to other people, if not you. Maybe you’re even doing them a favor.

Spread your social gatherings out over the course of the year

Give yourself room to breathe. If you’ve made tentative plans to get drinks or go hiking with whoever, maybe put a few of the less pressing engagements on the back burner. We’ve had a lot of time to plan (or develop crippling social anxiety) during the last fifteen months indoors. To add a bit more balance to the feeling of diving back into the void, keep your calendar extra stretched out, so you won’t get overwhelmed. It might seem weird to pencil in a coffee date for late summer, but it least you’ll have it on the books.

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You can always flake

Often, making plans is just a symptom of boredom. Many people do it because getting together sounds like a nice idea, and doing so even when you aren’t quite feeling it is a nice gesture. But you should assess the viability of these plans: Were they made because both parties simply like the idea of a get together? Are they the sort of plans that would have stalled out in the text message phase in the pre-pandemic era? Then don’t let the added pressures of finally being vaccinated change things.

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To that end, once you’ve determined which plans (or even which relationships) are less likely to bear fruit, don’t go out of your way to follow up. It’s no disrespect to the person or people in question—I’m not arguing you should ignore people’s attempts to get in touch with you. If someone is particularly adamant about actualizing your plans, sure, put the date on your elongated calendar. (Punting it down the road is perfectly fine, too.) But if they aren’t following up, there’s no reason to feel like you have to either.

Even if you’re starved for human contact, there’s no reason to turn your reentry into society into a mad dash to see everyone you haven’t since March 2020—especially the people you’ve been happy to avoid.

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