There’s a good chance many of us have experienced a scenario like this at some point over the past few months: You’re at the supermarket picking up next month’s supply of groceries, minding your own business. You turn the aisle and notice someone not wearing a mask, even though the sign in front of the store explicitly stated one was required to shop. Or you’re waiting in line and the person next to you is standing a little too close for comfort. And you think to yourself, what should I do in this situation? You want to say something, but what? And how?
There’s no right answer, but there are some guidelines you can follow to navigate such tricky waters.
- How to tell a person to keep some distance: While it may be tempting to tell someone to back up, you’re more likely to get a favorable response if you ask politely, “Would you mind if we put a little space between us while we both wait?” Showing some mutual consideration can make all the difference.
- What to do if they say no: In the event that the above doesn’t work, do what you can to protect yourself. Turn your face away from them, try to take a few steps in another direction, or simply walk away.
- When to say something to someone not following proper guidelines: Unless what they are doing is directly affecting your safety, the best solution for this problem is to simply let it go. Yelling at someone to follow the rules is more than likely only going to start an argument (or worse!) that is best to avoid.
- What to do when people start to bend the rules: Say you’ve decided to attend a socially distanced gathering (like an outdoor barbecue, for example), and people start to relax on the rules a little more than is comfortable for you. In this case, don’t be afraid to bring it to the attention of the host. And if that doesn’t solve the problem, simply pack up and politely excuse yourself.
- How to handle invites out: We’ve all been cooped up for what feels like forever, and many of us are itching to get back out and socialize again. Some people are more comfortable with relaxed behavior, but if you feel safer at home, don’t be afraid to calmly and politely explain this to any friends or family members who may want you to join them.
For more detailed advice on how to handle situations like the ones described above, view the original article for additional tips and a handy pocket guide.