The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in a variety of ways. While a sizable percentage of us have acted in the best interest of public health, a disturbing number of us have consistently refused to acknowledge the novel coronavirus as a legitimate threat. Needless to say, dealing with friends, family members and coworkers who fit into the latter camp can be a frustrating experience. While getting some people to see reason can be an impossible undertaking, there are a number of ways to make interactions with these individuals less strenuous.
Push Back Against Misinformation
Many of the people who habitually downplay the threat of COVID-19 consume a steady diet of misinformation, which shapes most of their thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. The best thing you can do when they try to sell you on their beliefs is push back in a patient and confident manner. Rather than quote political pundits or media personalities, direct these individuals to raw data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations that are dedicated to public health. This isn't to say that you'll succeed in swaying the opinions of these individuals, but the dangerous falsehoods they spout should not go unchallenged.
Try to Avoid Losing Your Temper
As previously stated, dealing with people who refuse to see what's happening all around them can be frustrating. In light of the massive death toll COVID-19 has wrought in this country and abroad, seeing people shrug it off may understandably draw your ire. However, in some instances, getting angry only encourages people to cling more tightly to their mistaken beliefs. So, if you feel yourself becoming agitated when dealing with COVID-19 deniers or vaccine skeptics, consciously take inventory of your feelings, try to relax and, if need be, end the exchange.
Refuse in-Person Interactions
You may not be able to control the behavior of those who willfully choose to act foolishly, but you can certainly control your own actions and take measures to keep yourself safe. Engaging in in-person interactions with unvaccinated individuals carries certain risks, even if you've been fully vaccinated, and there's no reason to place your health in jeopardy because the people in your life won't do the right thing. With this in mind, refuse to interact with COVID-skeptic friends and family members in an in-person capacity until such time as they've gotten vaccinated. There's a good chance these individuals will accuse you of being unfair or overreacting, but at the end of the day, you need to do what's right for you.
At the present time, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best thing you can do for yourself and the people around you. (Provided, of course, you don't suffer from a medical condition that prohibits it.) Although the vaccines should not be regarded as unbreakable shields, they do provide tremendous protection against serious and fatal cases of the novel coronavirus.
COVID skeptics often pontificate about the side-effects of the vaccines, but the simple fact of the matter is that virtually every vaccine carries side-effects. Any side-effects you experience from the COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be fairly minor and temporary - and nowhere near as bad as having an active case of COVID.
Furthermore, getting vaccinated may encourage friends and family members who are on the fence about vaccination to follow suit. If people who value your opinion see that you're perfectly fine after receiving your vaccine, the prospect of vaccination is likely to seem a lot less scary to them. If any skeptical friends or family members have questions about the currently available COVID-19, they can ask them remotely by reaching out to a knowledgeable Plushcare online doctor.
Dealing with friends, family members and close acquaintances who refuse to take COVID-19 seriously can be vexing. Watching people you care about actively go against public health as a virus that has claimed over 700,000 American lives rages on is far from a pleasant experience. Regardless of whether these individuals have been duped by misinformation or simply don't care enough to educate themselves, getting them to do the right thing can be an uphill battle. So, the next time you find yourself frustrated by a friend or family member who seemingly refuses to see reason, take heed of the tips discussed above.