Mind the gap – If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?’ (Richard Bach)

Social distance – mind the gap. It’s not just physical. It’s a feeling.

I meet someone close to me, albeit with a 2-meter space in between, and my instinct is to hug, to shake hands, to embrace.

There’s a brief, awkward dance as we hesitate, come to a halt, hold the rule.

It’s an invisible gulf that separates us, interrupts our contact, keeps us apart. After a moment, we adjust ourselves and the conversation begins to… flow. Gradually, new and different normal emerges.

We find a way to bridge the gap. A smile, a gesture, an animated movement, a tone of voice. We start to feel closer again. A metaphorical touch.

Perhaps it’s the same on-screen. We meet a person, a client, a colleague online, and, at first, the technology forms a barrier, a boundary, and a bridge between us.

It feels different to being in the same physical room at the same time and we may feel that similar sense of distance, of strangeness, of desire to connect.

Yet, somehow, we do it.

Our intrinsic human powers of empathy, imagination, and communication create their own paths of relational contact.

We tune into voice, expressions, movement, and surroundings. Over time, we feel each others’ presence intuitively, and the gap feels smaller.

How have you handled social distance with clients?

How has it influenced your coaching practice?

Nick Wright is a psychological coach and organization development (OD) consultant. www.nick-wright.com

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