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  • Tracy Hooper

Preempt the Awkward

Well, everybody, the Covid conversations keep on happening, don’t they?

Every day, there seems to be new information and new decisions to make. Going back to the office? Full time? Hybrid? Not ‘til October? Maybe January? Maybe never?

And, now with various perspectives about the vaccine, some conversations among families and friends and co-workers can be cringy or confrontational or at the very least, slightly uncomfortable.

Therefore, it’s time to bring back those “I Statements” to assert your boundaries and keep other people from getting defensive. Using “I Statements” is key to keeping conversations calm, civilized and confident during this unsettled, polarized time.

Here’s an example:

Recently, a client texted me ahead of our face-to-face meeting.

“I’m fully vaccinated, but with this Delta variant, I think it would be smart to wear masks, just in case. Does that work for you?”

I love that. It’s direct. I call it, “Preempting the Awkward.” He took the lead, so neither of us had to feel weird in the moment. We agreed to what we were comfortable with, ahead of time. Then, when we were in-person, it was pleasant, and we jumped right into a “normal” conversation. Imagine that!

You can also preempt with an email or phone call and say, “I’m fully vaccinated, and I would appreciate it if we would both still wear masks. What are your thoughts?”

Or, if you don’t want to share your vaccination status or ask about other people’s, you can say this: “Whether or not, either of us is vaccinated, I would appreciate it if we would both still wear masks and keep our distance.” Or, whatever you’re comfortable with.

Remember, practice saying these “I Statements” out loud because I believe once you hear the words come out of your mouth, you know you can say them again. That way, when you're in a situation where you see someone, in real life, you’ll be ready.

No need to explain or apologize. Simply state your request. If someone is annoyed, then they’re annoyed. At least you will each know where you stand.

For more “I Statements” the time of Covid, check out my May 2021 video. You can still build relationships AND assert yourself with Confidence.

Thanks for reading.

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