Social distancing vs. Physical distancing

I was talking with someone about what the term social distancing really means. Granted our use of the English language is ever increasing. However, is it really okay to call 6 ft distancing, social distancing? Are we not social by the use of media? Are we not being social here?

What are some of your thoughts on this?

Thank you for your time.


  • I feel more "connected" to people 1000s of miles away on this site, than I am to the other people in my house.

    When I was out running last week ( average 4.1 mph 😀 ) people were physically avoiding each other, but there seemed to be more waving, eye contact, facial gestures and talking ; to excuse what would otherwise be rude behaviour.

    If a shopkeeper is suspicious of your money, they are only protecting themselves. However, if they are suspicious of your credit card, they are protecting themselves, and also the true owner of the card ; which is you. Social distancing for Covid-19 is similarly beneficial to both parties ( because neither knows if the other might have it ), so unlike distancing for "normal" reasons ( X-phobia ) it is at least partly an act of kindness.

    Physically avoiding each other, is a shared responsibility ; and every shared activity, is socially bonding. I suppose it is like a man putting on a condom ; it reduces the physical contact, but makes a strong statement about their concern for the welfare of their partner.

  • @geoff1000 << It feels like that, sometimes, doesn't it?
    Maybe by using the word "social," the implication was that it would be the opposite of "personal"-- like not just looking out for yourself, but being mindful of how one person's own choices or level of compliance would affect others, also?

    It seems odd that it took this much social distancing to find out just how much people really do like to be nearer to one another! lol


  • @ImajenMoon
    Yes, it's always been true that we only really appreciate things when we don't have them. I find myself hankering after things, that I never really bothered about before.

    On the other hand, in this "new normal", a good coping strategy may be to "decide to quit", things that we can't do. Many years ago, when my car was getting fixed for a few days, I "decided" to get fit by doing a lot more walking ; and while I was not using my car, it didn't matter where it was.

  • I’ve been referring to the distance needs as human distancing as it’s self explanatory and less convoluted than social distancing in which I hope we are all still being. We shld call each other, text one another, email and make sure we’re as here for one another as we can be but seeing as this is a real thing and it’s spread is related to distance, we just need to distance ourselves from one another for a while but maintain being social. We need one another and we need one another to be healthy.

  • @redbeard87
    I think social distancing is just another term for physical distancing.

    Here is an infographic about the effects:

  • I still don't think we should call it social distancing if we are able to communicate what we are doing as it is a form of social communication. What do we call social media?

  • Socializing originally meant mingling with others in person... "social" was attached to "media" in attempt to convey that mingling atmosphere. "Social distancing" is still fine and appropriate for what it means and doesn't need - nor will it ever popularly receive - a different terminology.

    Besides, doing anything online would be "text distancing" or "video distancing" and so far technology hasn't invented the ability to transmit more than sound and image.

    Methinks in this matter, as with so many others, that folks on this forum are obsessed with "definitions" of things.

  • It's rather like "remote working" where one is still working, but is physically remote ; and the term exists, because we used to work on-site.

    "Social distancing" means we are doing our socialising from a distance ; rather than close up, which used to be the standard. People who only socialise via the Internet, don't need to change their behaviour ; and are less affected by a 6-feet rule, than everyone else.

    Social Distancing means doing our socialising at a distance, but as I noticed on my "run", it can also mean Distancing but in a Social rather than an antisocial way. A few weeks ago, an offered handshake was welcomed ( historically because it meant one was not holding one's sword ) ; but now it is a sign of aggression. Strange times.

  • Each term involves activity that is similar.
    Social distancing can involve social interaction at a physical distance.

    Physical distance can also but does not necessarily include any social activity. It's mainly just how far a part in measured distance one stands from another.

    Social distancing also includes social interaction that occurs electronically.

    It's really a matter of interpretation and how one conceptualizes both experiences.

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