How To Say No To Those You are Missing

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Written by Brenna Norris

Congrats on making it to month 324,987,546,983 of the Covid quarantine/pandemic! 

Have you mastered that new skill? Completely redecorated your room with online purchases? Or are you simply proud to just keep making it through each day? 

As the autumn days get shorter and we start entering the time of the year normally spent with our families and friends, it can be hard to continue telling the people we love that we still can’t be together. 

And while no one enjoys having to make these sacrifices, it’s important to have some ways to let others know that keeping distant is the best way to show we can for one another. With scientists warning us that the next several weeks may see the biggest rise in cases, getting others to hop on the “social distancing” bandwagon will be the best way to help us crush this coming wave. 

So with that, here are some tips on how to say no when everyone around you wants to hang out:

1) Explain your “why”

If someone is giving you a tough time about sitting out 2020, try talking with them on the phone or over video chat to tell them (politely) why you are choosing to stay away. 

Let the person know it has absolutely nothing to do with them and that you actually miss people a lot, but right now is not a safe time to hang out like you used to. 

2) Offer safe alternatives

It can be equally difficult to tell friends or family something they don’t want to hear, but that sometimes is the role we find ourselves in. 

Offer to organize online game or movie nights, neighborhood walks (with masks of course), or driveway picnics where everyone brings their own blanket and food. 

If your family is thinking of hosting Thanksgiving or other family-centered holidays, try telling them that while you miss Nana and Gramps, you do not feel safe gathering with everyone this weekend and ask that those in your house also do the same.

3) Choose empathy

Feel free to tell loved ones about your struggles dealing with the pandemic. If they respond negatively, understand that they might be lashing out as their own form of reacting to our extended quarantine. 

More often than not, when you can be the person that finds a positive way to rethink the situation, people will be happy to follow along; they just needed someone to guide them there first.

Whatever way you decide to talk with those you care about, the most important thing is to hold strong in the face of guilting and to talk about your feelings from a place of caring and concern. 

And, of course, playing the WWII song “We’ll Meet Again,” by Vera Lynn also helps remind people that this is not the first time in history where everyone had to make tough sacrifices to get through a dark storm.

And just like in Lynn’s song, keep smiling through, just like you always do!

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