Coping with COVID-19: To Avoid Getting on Each Other’s Nerves, I Suggest the “Two-Strike Method.”

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I’m in my apartment with my husband, two daughters, and dog.

I feel so fortunate to be here, all healthy and safe together (knock on wood). I never forget that for a moment.

At the same time, because we’re spending so much together, and not seeing other people, we’re going to start getting on each other’s nerves. That’s inevitable.

To manage this, I  proposed my “Two-Strike Method” to my family.

Each family member has two opportunities—two chances to strike—that is, to tell another family member that he or she has to stop a certain habit.

For instance, I wear shoes all the time; I hate to be barefoot or even in slippers. It’s possible that from time to time, I might sit on my bed and read, with my shoes on. Or even get under a blanket with my shoes on. Or put my shoes on furniture. A family member could use one of his or her strikes to make me stop.

If someone strikes out your behavior, you have to stop it.

Under this policy, there would be a total of eight family strikes to be used. Coordination is permitted, to get maximum value from every strike.

No one’s used one yet, but there have been a lot of threats.

What I’ve discovered is that the threats are a useful aspect—maybe the most useful aspect—of this method. It’s playful and funny to say, “If you leave a dirty dish on the counter again, I’m going to use one of my strikes on you!” And that’s easier to hear than, “You never blah blah blah, you always blah blah blah, why can’t you blah blah blah…” It’s an easy way to communicate that we’re bugging each other.

Have you found some good ways to stop getting on each other’s nerves?

With everything going on in the world, this may seem like a trivial problem to consider—but the more energy, calm, focus, and love we have when this terrible time is over, the better prepared we will be to begin the process of recovery.

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