How to Be Nice to People While Wearing A Mask

Should mask prevent us from showing generosity to others?

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

If you’re following up with your state’s rules then you should know about the rule of wearing a mask in public. It’s something that we all hope is temporary but there is no set date or time for when we’ll be able to walk around with fresh air.

You may have encountered some pretty frustrating conversations while wearing your mask. One being, having clear communication with people. Some people are able to understand when you talk with your mask on and some people can’t.

Once this occurs, you have to face the risk of pulling your mask down and potentially exposing yourself to COVID.

Well, while people are still trying to work on this situation, you should also be focusing on how you can still show your generosity to the people who you surround yourself with or to complete strangers.

Every time I go pick up groceries, I catch myself figuring out new ways to show acts of kindness. One thing I do try to keep in mind is that these acts shouldn’t feel forced.

It’s hard for people to understand you when you’re talking and it’s hard for you to understand people when they’re talking.

Ask yourself how you were acting before you had to start wearing a mask. Were the conversations that you were having meaningful? Were you helping people out more before you started wearing a mask?

It’s our job to help each other out during these horrific situations, many times we think we can do everything on our own which isn’t the case.

Let’s look at some ways how you can be a nicer person even when wearing a mask.

Hand signals are the new way of communicating

You should be already familiar with the gesture of waving to somebody. With your mask on, people may already assume that you’re not in the mood to say “hi.” Give them a surprise and wave “hello” to them. Try to extend your arm out as much as possible and wave with some enthusiasm.

Your goal here should be to show that you are excited to see that person. This is good to do when the person you are looking to is far away. They will see you trying your hardest to get their attention, therefore, they will be glad to wave high back.

Now, if you’re in a more closed off environment, like in a store, you can still use the art of waving to show your kindness. This wave doesn’t need to be as enthusiastic as the one where you’re reaching out to somebody far. Keep this one short and compact, people will realize that you’re making an effort to be nice.

Don’t go overboard when it comes to waving, remember you’re trying to make people feel better about what’s going on, not uncomfortable by your wild hand gestures.

The next hand signal that you should have equipped and ready to use is giving people a thumbs up. This hand gesture is also simple and can make somebody feel appreciated.

If somebody asks you “how are you doing?” You can give them a friendly head nod along with a thumbs up. This person knows that they have been heard and will now feel respected. By doing this you’re separating yourself from the majority, people will not even respond to questions like this because they have their mask on.

By doing these hand signals, people are able to understand you more and will even relate to you more as well.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Go above and beyond with your mannerisms

Something that you can do to show your kindness and awareness for people's safety is to make way for them. If you’re going for a walk around your neighborhood be sure to cross the street if you see somebody walking in your path.

Make them feel safe, you would want them to the same for you. This is crucial to do when you see somebody walking your way and they happen to have their head down. This prevents both of you from running into each other and causing an awkward scene where you two get caught for not social distancing.

Going back to when you’re in a store setting, if you see somebody rolling their cart in the same aisle as you and they’re coming towards you, simply move out of their way. If you’re close to the end of the aisle then make a quick exit and wait for the person to leave that aisle.

You’re not only practicing social distancing but you’re also making that person feel comfortable.

When you're in a store, instead of having to be the one that says “excuse me,” be the first to move out of that person’s way.

Start planning in your head, ways that you can give people as much space as possible when shopping by you. Plus when you need to say “excuse me” they might not hear you because of your mask.

When you’re standing in line, let people go in front of you if you’re not in a rush. You don’t even have to say anything, just move from your spot and give them a hand single to go in front. This is just another easy way to let people know that you’re trying to be thoughtful despite everything that’s going on.

Having quick and productive conversations

Even though we all have our mask on, we should make an occasional effort to see how people are doing. Be curious when around people, even though you can’t see their facial expressions be willing to have a quick conversation with them.

People have been in quarantine for about 7 months and they may be experiencing loneliness. It’s possible that they have not talked to anybody in weeks.

So, no matter if a person looks happy or sad due to their body language, ask them how they are doing. It can be causal, listen to see if they actually want to have the conversation or not. You would be surprised y the number of people that will vent to a complete stranger. Simple words like this have the ability to make someone's day.

Also, keep in mind that these conversations should be short, you don’t want to get too close to that person and it’s uncomfortable for the both of you to speak for a long time with a mask on. Try your best to leave that person on a positive note when the conversation is done.

Somebody may even come up to you and ask how you are doing, be genuine with them and tell them that you appreciate their kindness. They’re just trying to spread the love that we all need in our lives right now. You can even start a conversation saying “how’s the mask treating you” or “where did you get your mask from?”

Think about what’s important when having these short conversations, you want to know how the person is doing and how you can help.

It’s unfortunate that people are using their masks as an excuse to not socialize. I am a victim of this too, you don’t want to worry about having to repeat yourself.

Despite this situation, you should still try to show people that want to be a nice and understanding person.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that says

“Socializing is more positive than being alone, that’s why meetings are so popular. People don’t like being alone. That would be, however, an important skill to learn…”

A young adult who’s writing is geared towards self-improvement and self care. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

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