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Breezy ways to tell friends you don’t want COVID-19
Stephanie Hayes | Use these laid-back tips to spare yourself.
Make social distancing sound really cool!
Make social distancing sound really cool! [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Nov. 11, 2020

Yes, I know. It’s a humdinger of a year, with zero stress. Unfortunately, someone has to bear the bad news. It is I, the person who tells you to drink a glass of water for every one beer!

We are in a new coronavirus spike, with numbers rising in 43 states, including — no Whammies, no Whammies — Florida. Hospitalizations are increasing, and doctors are seeing sicker patients.

Weird. This state enjoys such consistent rules from leadership for containing the virus… let me check the guidelines… it says here that “no one be a buzzkill” and “this is over when we say we’re bored.”

Monday brought hopeful news about a vaccine that may be 90 percent effective. And we know more about how this disease spreads than those days we were terrified to touch the mail. It’s possible to integrate masks, social distance and spending time outside into our daily lives.

Still, pandemic fatigue is real, and people are giving up. It can be awkward to tell friends that you don’t want to spread a mysterious disease, or that you would rather not die of blood clots and organ failure.

Try these methods for conveying serious tidings, but in a cool, relatable way that will ensure your membership in book club.

Use colloquialisms when delivering dire information. Keep it casual, then sneak in the message.

Hey, buddy. How about those Bucs? Say, doesn’t it seem like we’ve resigned ourselves to an acceptable level of death? Like the governor has adopted a herd immunity approach? Wow, they’re going for it on fourth down.

Release a jolt of oxytocin to reduce the fight-or-flight instinct. Affirm what the other person is saying, so they feel heard.

You’re right. Masks are so annoying. They’re such a simple way to protect yourself and others, but dragon breath, you feel me? Mega ick. But yeah. They work really well, according to research. I know, so gross.

Try the sandwich method, an age-old tool used by middle managers to deliver criticism. Good news, then bad news, but then good news!

Hey ladies! You all look super hot tonight. I would love to hang out in the air conditioning as well, but it would be best if we sat outside, per the Centers for Disease Control. Candace, thank you SO MUCH for bringing the brownies. They are so flippin' fudgy.

Be encouraging. People want to feel like they’re doing their best, even when they obviously are not.

I would love to hear more about your exciting business opportunity! Can we Zoom, though? Tens of thousands of people have had COVID-19 symptoms for months and can sometimes barely walk to the kitchen. They’re called long-haulers. I know, Zoom is sooo March!

Use humor to decline an invitation. Reassure the person you will be sending a gift.

I really wish I could be there, but the only thing I’m superspreading these days is soft cheese! No, really, I’m eating a lot cheese lately. A lot more than usual. It’s becoming a problem, actually.

Okay, maybe a little less talk about cheese. You’re doing great.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes

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