Seafarers are especially prone to rusty social skills after being away for too long
Crew only had their colleagues day and night onboard. It is inevitable to be climatised to the workplace environment to the point of forgetting how to reintegrate into the community after signing off. However, being back (at home) need not be a daunting experience.
Tips to reintegrate
It is essential to understand that change is constant. Your perspectives and approaches may have changed after months away, so have the community you were so used to interact with. Beyond cultural and neurodiversity components, people react to different situations based on their personalities. The pandemic has tested the world’s resilience, even altered individual stress levels.
Firstly, it will be beneficial to be lenient with yourself and others. Stressors from the pandemic have put people through personality overhauls which sometimes (unintentionally) affect others negatively. A little generosity towards yourself and others would be a good start. Prep yourself to be a little more understanding upon interaction speed bumps. A dash of humour would also mitigate any awkward situations as everyone would be attempting to re-align wavelengths.
Secondly, being realistic about results are also key to encourage improvement for subsequent interactions. Everyone has moments when words came out wrong. However, instead of being overtly cautious about awkwardness, accept that there will be such occurrences. Whatever emotions going through your mind are identical to that of the receiving party for the same reasons – have not spoken to you in ages.
Lastly, active and intentional listening are also powerful defences against bad conversations. It is inappropriate to chronicle every account in your last 11 months onboard through one single exchange. Instead, it might just be easier to listen and be curious about what you have missed while away. Being a good listener is the biggest draw for interpersonal relations. Knowing when to listen and speak is an open invitation for follow-up hang outs, and also your opportunity to demonstrate that you are still you.
Crewing Online Media Team
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