So, how can people of different comfort levels communicate their needs and concerns to each other in the best possible way without isolating each other?
Instead of dancing around hoping your loved one will “fall into the line,” focus directly on your concerns, says Elkins, who learned it hard. “It simply came to our notice then [started with me saying] “Let’s talk about tough conversations,” Elkins said. “[Because] People don’t fall into the line, so do you [otherwise] Going to the end, ‘Okay … I don’t know if they understand the point [I was trying to make]. ‘”
“Often, asking the question itself is not a bad question, it is more about the way we approach it in an open, respectful and empathetic way.”
Tan-Christiano agrees. For example, if a friend has COVID-19 siblings and you are wondering how to ask if they are infected before seeing your friend? “It’s just a matter of acknowledging that this is a difficult situation, and, ‘I’m sorry, and I’m going to ask you this uncomfortable question, but it’s really important to me,'” Tan said.–Cristanto, director of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association. “There’s no judgment around this. I’m really sorry that your brother has Covid. I just have to check in.”
“Often, you know, it’s not a question in itself [that will offend]. Asking the question itself would not be a bad question, it is more about the way we approach it in an open, respectful and empathetic way. There is a difference between saying, ‘Where were you? Can I check in with you, because I’m a little careful to get it? [COVID], And this is not a judgment on you ‘vs.,’ where you were [might] Do you have covid? ‘”
Anyone who feels the need to ask difficult questions to a loved one or acquaintance – and anyone who ends up receiving them – should remember that two years after the epidemic, people are feeling the threat of Omicron very differently as a result of different life experiences.
“Some people will have their own health vulnerabilities, some are taking care of sick parents or children, some have struggled emotionally with the lockdown, others have liked it,” said Tan-Cristanto. “Others have financial concerns… or can’t afford RATs. I think the biggest thing we need to do is empathize and accept everyone’s situation and we’re all navigating as best we can. “
What if we don’t? “We risk losing that connection with our friends and our family members,” he said.
The key to maintaining our “profitability” is to make your communication as “friction-free” as possible, “Elkins said.
The first step is to remove the emotion from the conversation, he says.
“We are passionate about it [COVID], And when we feel emotion, we can’t be our best person, and it tends to be [lead to] Complaints, ”Elkins said. In response to “you start with a fool”, say, who has an anti-vaccine position – “probably the worst place to start. A good response would be, ‘Oh, explain to me how you got to that point, or That understanding? ‘ So you want clarification rather than condemnation. Condemnation is going to set up obstacles. The last thing you want to do is close the conversation if it is someone who is important and close to you. “
Second, when organizing social events, use behavioral “nudging” techniques that employers around the world employ to make it easier for people to “make better choices for themselves” without forcing them, Elkins said. (This technique, popular by Nobel Award-winning behavioral economist Richard Thaler who won the award for development Theory As a policy tool, public health campaigns are frequently used to encourage people to take a flu vaccine, for example.)
“You want to do something [a message] It’s simple, interesting, social and timely, “he said of the basic nudging principles that you can use to tell friends what safety measures you need to take to feel safe when visiting someone.
This may mean asking someone if they would be happy to meet in person, for example, after vaccinating your children – or say, once you have a booster – with a note explaining that you were double-vaccinated, 16 years or older. Like 92 per cent of the older Australian population (this is the “social norm” part that makes your request “normal”) and a bit of humor or emoji.
“So you made it very easy [for them] Responding with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, Elkins added, adding that these “noses” are conversations. Equivalent A shopkeeper is putting fruit at eye level instead of junk food to make it easier for shoppers to choose the healthier option. “You overcome uncertainty and difficulty.”
And if your desire for more security precautions than others – for example, not going to a party or being asked to get a RAT before seeing someone – can help your loved ones get nerves, appealing to their “altruism”, he adds. “Often we tend, I know for myself, I am much more protective of those in my circles who I feel are a threat to myself,” Elkins said, referring to young, older people, for example, or immunocompromised. “We hold back on those who are weaker around us … so I think whatever you do, you appeal to their altruism. ‘I’m doing this to protect not only you, but others around me.’
And know that, at the end of the day, it’s normal to feel anxious in these conversations.
“There is no magical, perfect way to have this conversation; It’s going to be uncomfortable for some people, “Tan-Cristanto said, adding that even psychologists like him are now finding their social and personal relationships challenging. “There is nothing that a psychologist can teach them undergraduate or postgraduate [work] To determine how training can ever be given to go through an epidemic or something like that. I’m asking myself the same question, absolutely. It’s a very difficult situation for all of us to navigate. “
And remember, Elkins added, it’s better to have tough conversations than alternatives.
“I think we always feel better after we have a conversation than when we don’t have a conversation. It’s the avoidance of conversation that creates tension. “
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