How to ask friends, coworkers, and strangers to wear a mask


How to ask friends, coworkers, and strangers to wear a mask

Experts weigh in on approaching difficult conversations around mask-wearing, social distancing, and other safety protocols.

As coronavirus rates continue to skyrocket across the United States, many of us are following protective measures, such as washing our hands frequently and wearing masks. But despite the evidence that mask-wearing and social distancing decrease COVID-19 infection rates, not everyone is doing their part. In a recent Gallup poll, 18% of Americans said they either “rarely” or “never” wear a mask when outside their homes.

So how do you respond when your fellow grocery shopper, coworker, or even your friends and family are sliding back on—or choosing to actively ignore—safety precautions?

According to two experts—Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton and Laurie Weingart, educators specializing in intergroup relations and conflict, respectively—these situations can be fraught and can depend greatly on the situation.

Here are some tips for approaching these nuanced conversations effectively:

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