Showing Respect For Boundaries

Particularly during COVID

Shefali O'Hara


Photo by C.Valdez on Unsplash

I wrote an article a while back about respecting children’s boundaries. This was in response to a friend’s absolutely adorable 4-year-old girl who made it clear she did not want to be hugged when I met her. I’m a touchy-feely person and I love hugs, but this little girl did not.

So I respected her boundaries. I did not hug her until, several months later, she initiated a hug with me. I had won her trust because I respected her boundaries.

Here is the article:

Children have the right to set boundaries.

So do animals, which I discuss in this article:

I love to pet, well, pets, but I am always careful to watch their body language. Some animals love attention. Some want to be left alone. I try to respect them as well.

Today while I was at church for an art show, I noticed how the behavior of the congregants has changed thanks to the pandeic. We’ve always been a warm, friendly place and we still are. However, while before, almost everyone hugged each other, now only some people do.

Peoples’ behavior changed because, during COVID, it was important to keep fragile people safe.

One dear friend and her husband are elderly. Prior to the pandemic, we would exchange hugs every time we greeted each other. However, for two years they socially isolated themselves. Not just for their own health, but due to having an immune-compromised grandchild as well as a granddaughter who has long COVID.

Until recently, very few people outside of their immediate family saw them.

While the church as a whole began in-person services again a while back, these friends only attended…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.