How can we maintain positive lines of communication during the covid-19 pandemic?
Matt: Covid is a real test for relationships. The research so far shows the pandemic is actually making relationships much stronger. I think the reason for that is it forces people to be more tolerant of each other because they need to be.
To maintain strong relationships, particularly in this time of covid, respect your partner's fears. They may not be your fears, but in recognizing your partner’s fears, it makes them feel less stressed and isolated.
It is a mistake to think we can recognize stress in someone else and fix it for them. What people really want is to be heard. People want to hear things like “That does not sound comfortable” or “What does it feel like?” These types of responses open up positive lines of communication.
How can people best support their friends and family during this pandemic and during stressful times?
Kat: Be willing to listen to someone without trying to fix anything. Ask them “how does that feel?” or “Is there anything else I can do to help?” In addition, if someone is talking about their own anxiety, do not confuse it with your own. Focus on listening and expressing you have had similar feelings, but do not try to compete for who is most stressed or anxious. Lastly, don’t be dismissive of someone else’s concerns even if they do not make sense to you. They may not even make sense to the other person, but they are still having them.
Supporting someone is just letting them know you care. If they are looking for help, offer practical advice such as encouraging them to accomplish small tasks like washing the dishes. These can help people get through intense short term crises. If you think it is right, you can ask, “do you think you need more professional help?” Do not force it upon them, but offering this suggestion can help them take action.