How to talk to your (un)vaccinated friends and family

Yikes! I have to get together with my family/friends and we DISAGREE! Here’s a few guidelines (some from bitter experience) that might help if triggering and emotional subjects are raised at family gettogethers.

1. Treat people as the complex beings they are, not just as a set of opinions.
2. Don’t assume you know other people’s motivations, thoughts and feelings. Don’t assume malice or ignorance.
3. Allow people the right to express their fears, even if they seem unfounded to you.
4. Listen, even if it seems like nonsense.
5. Be careful with your words. Slow down your speech especially if things get emotive.
6. Let go of the idea that you’re going to convince anyone of anything – don’t try to win.
7. Stay curious. Ask questions – like Why do you think that? Can you elaborate? What about…? Where did you hear/learn that? Do you think it’s possible that….?
8. Reflect what you think you understand back to the person to their satisfaction. It’s possible your got it wrong.
9. See it as a learning exercise
10. Set some boundaries – agree to avoid name calling or personal abuse.
11. Don’t make it personal, don’t make it about someone’s character.
12. Don’t get bogged down in details.
13. Know when to stop and know when not to start!
14. Try smiling when you listen and when you speak

About subincontinentia

writer and eternal optimist
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