The release of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine has been a controversial topic for many. Everybody has adopted their own perspective of the pandemic and the threat of COVID-19 in the last year, and the vaccine is no different. The speculations of its safety and effectiveness has halted the mass vaccination needed to control the pandemic.
Friends and Families have recently found themselves in emotionally charged conversations of whether or not they are willing to receive the vaccine. Their decision may be of significance to you, especially if it will impact you or your family. If you find yourself challenging your loved ones’ stances on the vaccine, here are a few things that can help move the conversation in the right direction.
Prepare: Do your research. If you feel strongly about something, be able to communicate why it is important to you. Know that it may be difficult to talk about, and it may not go the way you envision. Ask yourself how much their stance will impact your relationship, and if you are willing to negotiate your own stance.
Think Before you Speak: What is it you want to say? What are you trying to achieve by having this conversation? How can you get there in a quick and calm manner? Be open-minded so the conversation can flow, and an agreement can be reached. No one should approach this with the intention of being “right”.
Listen and be Willing to Understand: Be curious and compassionate. Seek to understand the other persons’ situation. Can you find any common ground? Everyone has heard and read articles and news stories that have shaped their point of view. They may appreciate sharing what they know without being challenged.
Take a Break: The conversation does not have to be had in one sitting. If there is hostility, try revisiting the topic when all parties are calm.
Do Not Attack: It is easy to point fingers and raise your voice when there is something upsetting you. This however will redirect the conversation in an unhelpful direction. Remember that it might be more of a sensitive topic for some people. You want them to understand that the reason you are having this conversation is because you care and have good intentions. Try to avoid hurtful language, and instead use encouraging language.
Be Mindful: You cannot change anyone, so do not go in with the expectation to. You will not always be well-received. Before having the conversation, you should plan how you are willing to respond if the conversation is not going how you want. This will avoid drawing out the disagreement and letting the outcome be larger than you had intended.