Before you lose your cool on a loved one who thwarts face coverings during a raging pandemic, try to get your message of concern across by follow these simple tips.
At this point, most of us understand the importance of face masks and wearing them in public spaces. Still, as you walk down the street, you’re likely to stumble upon a few people with no masks on, or, inexplicably, with their masks around their wrists. It’s natural to feel annoyed by this type of behavior. When it comes to friends and family committing these kinds of acts, it’s a challenge to remain impartial and avoid a blowout.
The reasons why people are not wearing their masks vary from politics to laziness to not wanting to mess up their makeup. While it may feel great to rant to your face mask avoidant friend or relative, your efforts will likely not be effective if you let your emotions control you.
“If you bully, threaten or guilt someone to change, at worst you will invoke primal defense mechanisms that will end in aggression,” Dr. Daryl Appleton tells Men’s Health. “Fear will generally keep the mind closed. When we invest deeply in a feeling, we feel it with our whole body and mind, and to admit that we may be wrong or have to change can be an incredibly scary thing.”
If you feel like you should be doing more to educate others (or if people not wearing masks just really bugs you), it’s important to prepare for a discussion. Like most arguments regarding political ideologies and differences in morals, you’ll most likely be unable to sway them completely. But, if you approach these issues correctly, you might get to a place of understanding, a midpoint where both people get where the other is coming from.
When discussing the issue with a loved one, try to come from a place of respect, remembering why you care about this person. Appeal to their core values and show them unbiased opinions on why masks work, scientific facts supporting social distancing and why it’s important to take care of yourself and others. Express how their behavior makes you feel, how you’d feel more confident socializing with them if they were more careful with their safety practices. Do your best to keep your judgement to yourself, even if it’s incredibly difficult.