Everyone holds their own views and opinions towards any given subject.

That inherently means that we will not always agree with the people we talk to. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand how a person can disagree with us about a topic, especially when there is concrete evidence to support what we believe. It can be especially frustrating when the people that disagree with us are our family or friends.

We have noticed that there have been differing reactions in response to both the impacts of the current pandemic, and the pandemic itself. Perhaps this has occurred in your own circle as well, and it may be taking a toll on your relationships.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and, as hard as it may be, that is something we must accept. Today, we want to address how to cope with varying perspectives and prevent personal conflicts.

Coping with Other People's Opinions

“Masks don’t do anything!”

“The virus is a hoax!”

“The stats are made up!

These might be some of the statements you are hearing from your peers and loved ones. When an event such as this not only impacts our daily lives, but affects us on a global level, it can be hard to accept a simple, random explanation for why our world turned upside down: surely there must be more to it than that! Whenever you find yourself in a discussion regarding the pandemic, here are some things to keep in mind:

Do not have the expectation that you will change their mind.

Though it is worth having a conversation about, sometimes people simply have their minds made up. Unfortunately, arguing rarely produces the desired reaction and, more often than not, can leave you feeling frustrated. You can reiterate the facts, but it does not mean they will accept them at face value.

Hear them out.

You know the saying “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” This concept is often lost when having politicized arguments and discussions. Even if you disagree with an opinion right off the bat, give them a chance to explain where they are coming from. Sometimes these arguments come from a place of fear, anxiety, or loneliness. Recognizing that this might be the root of their opinion can give you an understanding of why they believe in their theory. However, if it is too troubling and you feel that either you or they cannot be civil, establish some boundaries and suggest that this is something you will not talk about further with them.

Remember they are important to you.

You care about this person and value your relationship, so ask yourself if this is something you want to lose them over. The pandemic is challenging us in ways some of us have never experienced before, so sometimes it merits giving the benefit of the doubt. If you are feeling upset, try sharing why what they are saying bothers you personally, to show how much weight and meaning their words have on you.

Maintain safety precautions.

Luckily, we have more freedoms now than we did 3 months ago, but we are not completely out of the woods yet. Remain patient and continue following procedures that are outlined by our health and government officials. If you live with someone who is going anywhere and everywhere, offer to do the food shopping to stay local and minimize exposure. If you know your friend is gathering in large groups, and wants to get together, you are not obligated to do so if you think there is a risk involved.

Respect their concerns.

If you are on the flip side of this, taking a more relaxed approach to the pandemic, know that everyone has a valid reason to follow protocols. Just because you are comfortable pushing the limit, it does not mean everyone is.  If people do not want to see you at this time, they are doing so to protect their own safety and the safety of others, it is a genuine intent and likely has nothing to do with you as a person.

It is unreasonable to expect everyone to see things from your side and while partaking in meaningful discussions is a good thing that encourages our empathy, sometimes you need to evaluate the toll it takes on your mental health.