The global pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has called into question everything our culture has taught us about how we space ourselves in relation to other people. By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of social distancing. But, why is social distancing so hard for us to do?
In this op-ed in the Greenville News, and in this news story about the same subject, John McArthur, associate professor of communication studies, explains that “the simple action of declining to engage with each other at personal distance feels awkward because it’s not what we’ve been trained to do with people we like. It’s what we’ve been trained to do with people we don’t like.
However, he wrote, “in a public health crisis, social distancing is not an act of rejection. It’s not even an act of fear. Social distancing is an act of love.”