There’s the obsessive washing of hands, not touching our face, forgoing handshakes, hoarding toilet paper, wearing masks, working from home and, of course, social distancing – or, more accurately, physical distancing.
Physical distancing is a more precise description of what experts have recommended in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing, on the other hand, should be avoided because of its potential harm for individuals and communities.
Becoming a fully functioning human being with a sense of self and purpose requires meaningful social interaction with parents, peers, and many other significant and not-so-significant others.
I remind my students that they have never known themselves without the input of others. Or, as the philosopher Allan Watts writes, “We are something the world is doing.” Human beings, extroverts and introverts alike, are inherently social.