As responsible and pandemic-fearing citizens, we’re doing all we can to protect our loved ones from the virus by taking all the extra health precautions despite the easing of quarantine protocols: washing hands and regularly cleaning surfaces and most importantly, staying home. Restaurants and malls may be open, but we’re still opting for virtual hangouts and online deliveries to err on the side of caution.
However, some of our friends and family members may not believe in this anymore. The lesser the quarantine protocols, the more opportunity it is for them to traipse out into the city—never mind the virus. Some are going out to malls, beaches and restaurants for leisurely reasons only. So what do we do about loved ones who no longer seem to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously?
Remind them of the facts
It may be difficult to convince these stubborn folks if we’re simply voicing out opinions and fears—especially if they’re our parents or grandparents who believe they know better than us. Instead, remind them of factual evidence about COVID-19; how it’s highly contagious and painful once contracted. Cite legitimate articles and stories that show just how grave the effects of the pandemic are. Take data from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) coronavirus hub or from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Think of the bigger picture
A usual argument by those insistent on going out is: “I’m healthy, so I most likely won’t get infected.” When having conversations with this, encourage them to think about others, especially those who are more vulnerable. Asymptomatic carriers can spread the virus too. Remind them that while they believe they are healthy, some people around them may not be as lucky.
Tell them you are afraid
For the lion-hearted, lowering and showing genuine concern may do the trick. If you voice out how afraid you are of the pandemic, your loved ones might understand and adjust to whatever lessens your anxiety. Ezekiel Sanders, a behavioral health provider at Providence Clackamas Clinic, recommends using the language of “I” when talking. For example, saying “I get really scared when you go to the store without a mask” as this gears away from an accusatory tone.
Don’t aim to change their worldview
Remember that the goal is to simply tell them to stay home in order to keep themselves and others safe. There is no need to point out flaws in each other’s political or worldly beliefs as this may just add fire to the argument. “If we don’t want to get into an existential conversation about all those things, we’re better off focusing on the issue at hand,” says Rachael Piltch-Loeb to The Atlantic, a researcher from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Encourage the alternatives
Show your loved ones that staying home and opting for the virtual setup of their outdoor plans is much safer and just as fun or convenient. Steven Taylor, author of The Psychology of Pandemics, shared with The Atlantic that people could be convinced to stay home if there’s another option. So, whip out those tech skills and show them how to make the most of video conferences and online deliveries.
Some people may be completely hard-headed and will not listen to any of your explanations. In turn, spending effort and time talking to them could be for nothing. When it comes to this, the next precaution is to take matters into your own hands. If you’re living with housemates who go out, make sure to clean up when they return home. Follow all the necessary health protocols and keep yourself safe from the virus—even if this can only do little. As much as possible, keep urging them to stay home and safe.
Header photo courtesy of Russell Tate for UN COVID-19 Response on Unsplash
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Writer: THEA TORRES