Learning how to communicate in a coronavirus mask

woman in mask thinks, why didn't you smile back?

I’ve been practising wearing a coronavirus mask. Not doing well because my ears are already overloaded with glasses and hearing aids. But one day I’ll find a mask that stays on my face.

Nobody smiles at you in a coronavirus mask. I used to collect smiles as I walked around town (19 is my personal best so far). But in a mask, I will need new strategies. Facial expressions don’t get through.

Yesterday a young masked mother showed me one solution. When we passed on the street she said,”Hi.” Perhaps it’s that simple.

How would RuPaul’s Drag Race go in masks? How would any TV series go in masks? I’m assuming masks will be a recurring feature for a year or two yet. Our style of human interaction will need to adapt. More talk. More eyebrow twitching. Hand waving. Head wobbling. Tongue clicking. We can do this…

27 thoughts on “Learning how to communicate in a coronavirus mask

  1. I love the phrase “collect smiles as I walked”!!!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Have you tried it?

      1. With differing degrees of success 😉

  2. Cathy Cade says:

    Paint a large red smile on your mask?
    It wouldn’t work on mine, which has Winnie the Pooh characters on it 🙁

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I like this idea.

  3. I miss smiling at people, too. Actually, I still smile, but it doesn’t get through.

  4. tidalscribe says:

    Yes it is surprising how may people do, did smile when out and about and we will miss it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      At present we rarely need asks here but I’m thinking– thumbs up?

  5. It’s hard, isn’t it. People who wear glasses and hearing aids and possibly have hair that needs some sort of tending, and then when winter comes we’ll have hats on and scarves…lol

    Maybe it’s in the eyes. A twinkle. 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      My twinkles fail to penetrate the foggy glasses…

  6. Sadje says:

    I smile at people while wearing a mask and they smile back. But to be sure we also say hi or good morning!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s the secret.

      1. Sadje says:


  7. Yes, I totally get the ear overload. Glasses, hearing aids, mask, hair, large ears that sway in the wind. It’s doomed to failure!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It’s a challenge for sure.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    And then my glasses steam up and I have trouble even seeing another person much less smile at them!

  9. Rhona says:

    There are masks with smiles on them, but I prefer hand signals that I’ve picked up from watching my daughter on zoom calls. Thumbs up, thumb and fore fingers in a heart, hands across the chest in a heart warming way, and even tapping your chest as a clap of a sort. With smiling eyes they all work. When this over, however, I will start to count smiles. A great hobby if there ever was one.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      They’re all good tricks. I will try them, thanks.

  10. JT Twissel says:

    Generally emotions show through your eyes.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Tried it with a mask on, though?

  11. auntyuta says:

    I say ‘Hi’ or ‘Good Morning’ and I always get a good response. Most people keep their distance because of the Coronavirus. But when someone, who knows me well, tries to come too close while talking to me, I panic and indicate to stay a bit further away. I think even if I’d wear a mask I would not like to get too close to people!
    Here in our area in NSW hardly anyone wears a mask in a shopping centre. It is these days not uncommon to see groups of people very close together while talking to each other and being in the way of other people that want to pass! They act as though the virus isn’t around anymore. Quite amazing!
    Well, actually in our area no cases have been detected so far. But as far as I am concerned, I do not necessarily want to be the person who picks up the virus from the one person who may have the virus! Even I may have picked up the virus already somewhere without knowing it. So I could possibly be already a person spreading the virus if I don’t stick to the rules: Social distancing, even with my family. My husband, who lives with me, is the only exception. And I know, he too sticks to the rules! 🙂

  12. Dan Antion says:

    I am waving and saying “hi” to people as we pass them while walking.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m learning from you.

  13. srbottch says:

    Check the eyes. You can always tell my the eyes.😊

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Not if the glasses are fogged up by wearing a mask!

      1. srbottch says:

        Excellent point. I had a physical recently and she put the stethoscope on my chest/back and directed me to take deep breaths and exhale…immediate fog on the glasses. So irritating.

  14. swarnikajain says:

    rightly said, by your actions you can give reply to others and communicate with them

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