FIVE WAYS TO STAND YOUR GROUND ON DISTANCING
Now that many locations are reopening, how can we respect our different stances on socializing safely without causing rifts? The techniques experts share here can help with tricky situations.
1 UNDERSTAND THE SOURCE OF THE STRESS
Anything that disrupts the harmony between us, our family and friends, such as disagreements on socializing,
causes stress. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and author of Joy From Fear, says if your “group” is in consensus, such as agreeing on a get-together for a birthday, and you feel differently, both
sides can feel hurt.
2 COMMUNICATE BOUNDARIES
“You have the right to set your own level of tolerance for risk,” said Gary Brown, a family therapist. Identify your own rules, such as that you’ll gather with family outside but not share a meal. Next, rehearse what you’ll say so you present your stand firmly,
kindly and non-defensively. But, Manly says, “give the person one, two, three times to get the message.” If they still
aren’t hearing you, explain that part of continuing the relationship is a mutual respect
3 GET COMFORTABLE WITH SAYING NO
Even the best-delivered messages can be met with resistance, leading to more discomfort. Not only is setting boundaries new for you, it’s new for the other person, who is probably going to push
back. But, Brown says disagreeing is “a basic right, and you don’t need to apologize.”
4 ACKNOWLEDGE EMOTIONS
When differing with someone, focus on common concerns, such as wanting everyone to stay safe. But there’s an even better approach to show
you care, says psychologist Lyndsay Volpe-bertram. When talking with your loved one, say something like, “I know you really miss us, and we
miss you too.”
5 KNOW THAT YOU’LL RE-EVALUATE
As we see new information come out, we’ll all be adapting how we socialize. “Be open to reconsidering your boundaries,” Brown said.