Social (adj): relating to activities in which you meet and spend time with other people and that happen during the time when you are not working

Cambridge Dictionary (

In times of crisis, we really need each other more than ever. We need each other’s cooperation and emotional support. Hence, when there are so much talks about social distancing, I couldn’t help but had an image of everyone living in isolation like a hermit.

We need to stop using the term social distancing. I know I sound like I’m nitpicking on the semantics, it is a misleading term and who knows how the human mind might interpret this. Perhaps, after half a year to a year of COVID, we really have social distanced ourselves from one another.

The power of the language to influence the mind should never be underestimated.

There are two other terms we could use. Physical distancing, which I thought was a neutral term which doesn’t stop us from meeting online, although I personally liked the term we used here in Singapore. We call it safe distancing.

I think that safe distancing has a more positive connotation that’s open for interpretation:

  • First and foremost, it reminded us to be safe
  • Safe could mean being physically further apart from each other
  • Safe need not mean physical isolation, although it could be interpreted as such depending on the seriousness of the situation
  • Safe should also imply being emotionally closer together and support one another spiritually

I really think we should stop using the term social distancing. What we need is more human connection while engaging in safe distancing.

Any thoughts?