Here are five scenarios you might encounter as we start trying to get back to some kind of normal during the pandemic . . . and how to handle them.
1. You encounter someone who’s wearing their mask incorrectly. For starters, try to be patient . . . at least they’re TRYING. We’re all on a learning curve with the masks.
If you’re talking with them, gently mention their mask is slipping down, or mimic pulling your mask up. You can also thank them for wearing a mask at all so they know you’re just trying to help.
2. Your friends or family members call COVID-19 a hoax on Facebook. Don’t engage with them online, because social media isn’t a good place to have that conversation.
If you ARE going to try to talk with them, keep your emotions in check and stay away from personal anecdotes. Attacking them for their beliefs is just going to make them get defensive and shut down. And for some people, denial is a coping mechanism, so you might NEVER get through to them.
3. You have friends or family who think the pandemic is over. States reopening have given some people a false sense of security that the virus is mostly in the past.
The best way to talk to someone like that is to speak in facts and, again, avoid getting emotional. Instead of saying something like, “I want you to wear a mask,” try, “Several countries have cut their infections and reopened by using masks.”
4. Your friends want to get together at a restaurant. After months of being locked down, some people are ready to flood into bars and restaurants . . . while other people prefer riding things out at home a little while longer.
If you get an invite to a restaurant and you’re anxious, let your friends know and ask if they’d be open to an alternative, like going somewhere with outdoor dining, or picking up to-go and doing a picnic outside. If they still insist on being indoors, thank them for the invite and let them know you’ll join another time.
5. Your neighbors are being too noisy during a lockdown. Unless it’s completely disrupting your sleep or your ability to work from home, consider just letting it go. We’re all a bit stressed out and trying to blow off steam these days. If the noise is too much, try texting or calling them, or even leaving a kind note at their door.