How to Talk to Family and Friends Who Ignore the Calls for Social Distancing

How to Talk to Family and Friends Who Ignore the Calls for Social Distancing

You’ve probably seen pictures of young people partying on the beaches last week where families gather en masse in public parks last weekend. Perhaps you have talked to elderly people in your life restrict their social life for the time being.

“We have all seen online photos of people who seem to think they are invincible,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted on Monday during his daily briefing.

“Well, you are not,” he said, speaking directly to Canadians who are flouting public health calls for social and physical alienation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What is behind this behavior and how can you persuade those around you to reconsider?

Outside COVID-19 hotspots such as China or Italy (or their immediate neighbors), changes in public behavior were initially “slow to materialize, and many continue to adopt previous social behaviors,” according to Darrell Bricker, CEO of public opinion research firm Ipsos.

‘It is over there’

“The coronavirus is seen as an economic threat more than a health crisis, which partly explains why people are not as absolutely engaged in the social distancing behaviors that we are asked to adopt,” noted Bricker. Friday during an online visit. Questions and answers.

For many in North America, the reaction continues to be, “It is there. It is not here,” he said.

“There is a strong public consensus for border closings and self-quarantine”, but rather than following the advice themselves, many believe that these measures are aimed at preventing others “from doing things they shouldn’t do. “

Many people, he said, think, “I am not the source of the problem. These other people are the source of the problem.”

And unlike shared stories and videos, the data does not indicate that one generation group – Generation Z or boomers or millennials – behaves more risky than the others.

People walk and cycle Sunday on the Vancouver embankment between English Bay and Sunset Beach. Authorities asked people to maintain a distance of two meters between them. (Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press)

While there is no doubt that “among the baby boomers, there are populations that are quite risky,” it is not something that is common to the general population, said Doug Norris, vice-president. director and chief demographer of the data, analysis and marketing services firm Environics Analytics.

Likewise, young people might tend to be riskier, but we can’t paint all of Generation Z and Generation Y with the same brush, said Ottawa’s Norris.

“There is a lot of diversity within [each generational demographic]. “

Discussion strategies

There could be many reasons why friends and family members ignore the guidelines against group gathering and socializing, either by believing that the rules do not apply to them or by feeling invulnerable to them. the notion “nobody’s going to tell me what to do,” said Mary. Pipher, clinical psychologist and author of Revive Ophélie and Women rowing from the North.

As a result, there are a variety of approaches that you can try to persuade otherwise, she said.

  • A starting point is to enter the free space of the person with questions like “how do you see your situation?” and “how do you see it as different from the others?”

  • Another strategy favored by Pipher, in Nebraska, calls for a sense of heroism and community. “It is a chance to be a hero. It is a call to sacrifice and it is an opportunity to become even deeper people,” she said. “This is a chance where everyone in the world can do their part by following the rules.”

  • When you talk to older rebels who adopt an “I do what I want” attitude, a change of perspective might help. You might suggest that they risk “putting a caring family in deep mourning” if they fall ill or die from a coronavirus. “Think of who you would miss,” Pipher explained. “You owe it to these people to stay alive.”

  • For young people who feel invulnerable, try to discuss the fact that they could spread the virus to a friend who may not have disclosed an underlying condition that puts them at higher risk, did she declared. “You never know, even if you go out with a peer, what else that peer might be dealing with.”

  • A good tactic is to share your own experiences, feelings and concerns. “Use yourself as someone who has the same problems. The other person can choose to listen and accept your story – or not.”

Pipher stressed the importance of recognizing that for some people social estrangement and staying at home can be a real struggle. For example:

  • Extroverts.
  • Those who live alone.
  • People residing in tiny spaces.
  • Those struggling to lose (or risk losing) their livelihoods in the midst of the pandemic.

Finally, she advises: “If you start an argument with someone, you’ve already lost. The trick with persuasion is to defuse resistance before you argue.”

If the person looks irritated and your voices are raised, “you might as well go no further, because anything else will only make the person more resilient.”

Pipher sees this unprecedented moment in history as a moment of extraordinary learning about our role around the world. “We are all interconnected, and if we do not take care of each other, we will not agree. Each of our destinies is linked to the destiny of the whole.”

“We are social animals”

Framing your discussion around common goals versus individual goals is also the approach advocated by Igor Grossmann, associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo and director of the school’s Wisdom and Culture laboratory.

“It is not what benefits you. It is what benefits your parents, friends, partner,” he said.

Grossmann suggests calling people must be reasonable – “take into account the context, take into account the standards of care for others” – instead of encouraging them to be rational, because this person could be an individualist who considers it rational to contravene conventions or to ” maximize pleasure “by going outside.

Spring Break revelers are celebrating together in Pompano Beach, Florida, last week. Florida officials have ordered all bars to be closed for 30 days, and many state beaches are crowding crowds after refusing to engage in social distancing. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

“We are social animals. It is really difficult for us to be linked to our small apartments,” he said.

What if the person you are dealing with is simply not moved by the consideration of others?

Grossmann offers to appeal to his immediate personal advantage. “If you do not maintain the social distance and the partial physical distance now, the country will impose a total lock and you will not be able to go out at all.

“It will really suck you … and you will have no freedom.”

The notion of more strictly enforced movement restrictions also seemed to be what Trudeau wanted to come up with during his briefing on Monday.

“Go home. Stay home,” said Trudeau.

“That’s what we all need to do, and we’re going to make sure it happens, whether it’s by raising awareness of the risks or enforcing the rules, if necessary.”

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