Got a dilemma you need help solving? Want a teen perspective on an issue you’re going through? Introducing VOX ATL’s new advice column, “ASK VOX,” a forum for teens by teens. Today, our team of teens addressed a common issue that many teens may be going through during this pandemic: How do I encourage friends to social distance if they aren’t already?
Zariah: The only thing you can do is let them know the consequences of not social distancing. Try not to phrase it in a way where it sounds like a pamphlet. Say it in a way that’s easy for them to understand. As much as you may want to, don’t lecture them because that will only drive them away. Once you tell your friends the consequences of not social distancing, if they still choose to ignore your advice, at that point there’s not much you can do besides giving some safety tips and advisories (Ex. Wear a mask at all times, wear gloves, etc). Don’t blame yourself because at the end of the day, it’s their choice, and choices come with consequences.
Isabella- I tell them to think about their family and friends. People who are close to them and have developed meaningful relationships. The choice of not socially distancing can potentially harm the people around you. Let your friends know that if you care about your loved ones, you won’t put them at risk of infection.
Sarah: If they don’t listen to your advice the first time(s) you tell them, then I would say the best route to go would be to model the safety precautions around your friends and create boundaries. Something I’ve noticed is that even when people are being asked to do something beneficial to the health and well being of themselves and others, they don’t want to be judged for not complying, but they also don’t want to be forced to comply. Modeling safety procedures such as wearing a mask, wearing gloves, etc can amplify the importance of staying safe and healthy in a pandemic. Creating boundaries (such as staying six ft. apart, or refusing company who don’t follow CDC guidelines) can also show how much abiding by these guidelines mean to you, and may aid in helping them understand why they’re important as well.
Zenobia – Thankfully, most of my friends are being pretty safe so I don’t have to remind any of them to socially distance. If I had to though, I would say that even if they feel like it’s fake or simply don’t care, people really are dying from this and they should think about keeping the others that do care safe. I know it isn’t fun to wear a mask everywhere and be apart from others, but it wouldn’t be advised so heavily for no reason, so please listen!!
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Editor’s Note: While “ASK VOX” advice is intended to help other teens, our teens are not trained professionals and the advice dispensed in “ASK VOX” is not meant to replace professional help. VOX ATL has a resource guide for many of the challenges teens face. You can find a link to help here.