How To Deal When A Loved One Refuses To Practice Social Distancing

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Worried young woman talking on the phone during flu epidemic

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Unfortunately, not everyone is committed to flattening the curve through social distancing. Some still believe measures to stop the spread are overblown. Some still think it’s a hoax. Others think they’re invincible. And then, there are those who are selfish and have no idea how their careless actions are putting others in danger. Regardless the reason, the decision of some to continue life as usual have caused a major rift in many families. Take comedian Luenell, for example, who recently took to social media to share that she banned her daughter from her home as a result of her failure to take this pandemic seriously.  If you’re in a similar position and are wondering what to do about your loved one who is refusing to practice social distancing, keep reading.

Establish physical boundaries

If you have a loved one who is refusing to take necessary precautions, the first and most important thing that you should do is establish physical boundaries. You will not be able to control another adult, but you should not allow another person’s poor choices to put your health at risk. If someone is refusing to practice social distancing, let them know that you will not be seeing them until the coast is clear.

Young woman listening to music while sitting on sofa

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Establish emotional boundaries

If it pains you to hear about or witness the reckless behavior of your loved one, consider telephone conversations and using the mute functions on social media. It’s up to them how they choose to live their lives in the middle of a pandemic but you don’t have to stick around to witness the trainwreck.

Man at home researching about medicine online

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Scare them

Some are simply unaware of how serious things are. They’re unaware of how highly contagious this illness is or how it can wreak havoc on your body. Some folks will need to be spooked into compliance. Show them reputable news sources about how the virus is spreading and how social distancing can mitigate it.

Businessman in isolation watching newscaster presenting the breaking news during in a state of emergency

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Inform them

You will never be able to force an adult to do something they don’t want to do. All you can truly do is provide them with facts and allow them to make their own decision. Consider sending your noncompliant loved one articles and other literature that illuminate the severity of this pandemic.

Binge watching with your bestie…perfect night in

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Entertain them

Sometimes, stepping back and seeing a situation unfold as a third party can help people to gain perspective. Movies or television shows about pandemics, such as Contagion or Outbreak, may help you to reach your hardheaded loved one.

African woman sitting at home and reading

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Use history to plead your case

Facts and statistics from previous pandemics are difficult to argue against. Use historic outbreaks to show your loved one that this is not a game. We recommend starting with the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Two senior black women at family cookout

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Call in reinforcement

There is strength in numbers. Consider staging some sort of digital intervention with other people who care about your loved one regarding their reckless behavior. Lead with love and focus on your concerns. Make it clear that it’s not an issue of control, but that it’s about safety.

Twin sisters having fun at home

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Try to understand why they’re refusing to comply

As frustrated as you may be, try to hear them out regarding why they’re refusing to practice social distancing. Perhaps there is more to it than simply wanting to go out and have a good time.

I have en idea.

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Accept the things you can’t control

After all is said and done, we have to realize that while we want the best for our friends and relatives, we can’t control them. Accept that your best efforts to keep them safe may not work.

Woman Cleans Doorknob Using Disinfectant Wipe

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Respect their choice

At the end of the day, you’ll have to respect your loved one’s decision. It’s one that they will have to live with. If you’re a religious person, keep them in your prayers and hope for the best. Respect doesn’t mean you have to put yourself at risk, however, so make sure they understand your stance as well.

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