How to Talk to a COVID Denier

Since March, people around the world have lived in at least two different realms of reality. One area is populated by those who have changed their daily habits in the light of the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, their every action now dictated by the desire to protect themselves and others from a new and highly contagious virus that has killed almost 250 thousand people. people in the United States and pushed the economy into the abyss.

In another life, people who have a different attitude towards COVID. Perhaps they think pandemic precautions such as wearing masks are excessive tyrannical government intervention . Maybe they have a certain fatalistic indifference to crowded restaurants, or they question the scientific consensus about vaccines and social distancing. They might even think that the pandemic is a hoax concocted by Bill Gates as part of an effort to establish a new world order .

If you trust mainstream science, it can be difficult to talk to friends, loved ones, or family members who end up in the latter camp. Perhaps you fear for their safety (because they don’t follow health guidelines) or worried that they are falling prey to conspiracy theories (if they follow Facebook groups that spread misinformation about vaccines).

If so, you may still feel the need to talk to this person about the pandemic and his role in it. Here are some ways to approach this difficult conversation.

Try to be empathetic

This is easier said than done, especially given the apparent indifference this mindset demonstrates to the COVID massacre. To relieve yourself of some anguish, try to look at this person as someone you can help, and not as someone to be ruthlessly reprimanded.

During disagreements, people prefer to be spoken to rather than shouted at. When you are trying to convince someone of the objective reality, it is crazy, especially when the rates are so dire, you have to remain calm. Try to understand why the person feels the same way and listen to their fears, however misguided they may be.

As Shuhan He, an emergency room physician at Harvard University Massachusetts General Hospital, told Lifehacker in March :

I think there is something to say to listen to people and try to capture their fears. Look, I’m a physician at a major hospital affiliated with Harvard University, one of the leading institutions in the world. My whole life is about talking about disclaimers, using jargon and technical terms because we always want to be technically correct. But it’s not so good when it comes to changing the behavior of ordinary people.

Approach them with seeming curiosity

A good way to convince the person to talk to you frankly is to approach them with innocent curiosity. In this context, you’re probably not very curious as to why they chose to attend the anti-blocking rally, but it doesn’t hurt if you put it that way.

Research has shown that curiosity breeds rapport. If you end up wanting someone to listen to you, it’s best not to judge overtly or even overtly.

Check for moderation

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to maintain someone’s conspiratorial mindset or maintain their disregard for the safety of others. You are trying to get this person to listen to the opposite point of view. Confirming everything you can about their existing beliefs (within reason) will work in your favor.

For example, if your uncle believes that the state-mandated mask mandate is a harbinger of America’s slide into the anarcho-Marxist Politburo, you can moderately justify his concerns by saying, “I understand that you are concerned about your civil liberties. Nobody wants to be deprived of their freedom, including me. “

Have a safe conversation

There is no need to have this conversation in front of an audience. It’s not something to discuss in front of the whole family at Thanksgiving dinner, which you definitely shouldn’t be having next week .

Your attempt to appeal to this person may be viewed as disingenuous; you don’t want it to look like you are just trying to burn or humiliate them in front of a peanut gallery. If you think they are accessible enough to be talked to at all, sit alone with them (preferably outdoors, where the risk of transmission is lower ).

Hit them with facts

Now we come to the part that you have been thinking about all along. Once you have gained enough trust, you must firmly and calmly beat off the reality of your home. Much of this may depend on counteracting any background information they bring to the conversation by quoting real facts and figures.

If you are missing this information, just read the news. First, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center is one of the most cited tools for tracking daily cases and deaths in the United States. In addition, there is enough public information about COVID that you really have what it takes to help this person at least start taking your point of view into account.

Masks really help to reduce the spread , Mouthwash will not cure COVID , collective immunity – is not a panacea , coronavirus can be transmitted through the air , and so on and so on D. D. These are just a few things that you can pick up in a respectful manner…

Understand this may not work

Unfortunately, all your hard work and good-natured attempts to understand and communicate with the other person may not be of any benefit. Many people are inherently stubborn, and with the daily cavalcade of pandemic disinformation littering news feeds and radio waves around the world, they may already be irrevocably isolated from their chosen reality. You can show them the door, but you cannot make them go through it, etc.

However, you can make the right choice both for yourself and for those in your immediate environment. It will eventually end, as recent events have shown, which promise vaccines are a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. But until we get there, try to stay sane and focus on what you can control.

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