Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?
Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?

Esther O'Moore Donohoe

Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back
Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back

Holly O'Neill

Image / Self / Relationships

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines


by Lauren Heskin
13th Mar 2021
Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines

Tip-toeing around the issue isn’t doing anyone any good, but neither are the passive-aggressive remarks you keep directing at your partying pal.

Seen some Instagram Stories of a maskless friend at a wild house party or zipping around the globe waxing lyrical about cheap flights and empty beaches without a thought for COVID tests or quarantining? Rita Ora is not the only one out there. 

It can be difficult to marry the love you have for a friend with your displeasure with their disdain for COVID guidelines. You understand it’s Christmas, but your friend is acting like it’s last Christmas and the whole thing is making super uncomfortable. So how do you deal with it with wading waist-deep into the awkwardness of it all?

 

You’re the only person you can control

Well, first of all, you have to understand that you cannot control your friend’s actions. This is not a nanny state. They are a fully grown adult and they are entitled to do as they plea, they just might incur fines.

You can only control your actions, and while that mightn’t feel like a lot, it is basically everything. You can do what you need to do to keep people around you safe. That is your priority.

 

Anger is unhelpful

Secondly, your anger is not going to help the situation. If you’re feeling frustrated and annoyed by their actions, vocalising that is likely only going to drive a wedge into your friendship, not into their party habits. So before you hit send on a passive-aggressive response to that Insta story, maybe clear out some anger first.

Maybe talk to a partner or another friend (someone unconnected with the one in question) and vent about how their actions make you feel. Tell them about the perfect snarky message you had prepped, allow yourself to bask in the delicious glory of a perfectly phrased takedown. But definitely do not send it.

 

Address their behaviour

Now that you’ve released some of that frustration, it’s time to speak to your friend. Rather than diving straight into the “why were you sending me drunk snaps for a house party at 4am like it was no big deal” conversation, take the high road and instead, ask them how they are doing. How have they been coping with the pandemic? How has their mood been. Share with them what you have been struggling with over the last few months, whether it’s working from home, worrying about older relatives or feeling isolated.

Give them an opportunity to take stock and talk about their own feelings, because we are all dealing with this pandemic differently. Some of us are washing our hands to the bones and screaming at passersby for not keeping the two-metre distance. Some of us just want to escape and pretend like it isn’t happening at all. There is no perfect response, but there is the safest one, for both your physical and mental health. It is a balance.

Once you have allowed them to contextualise their actions, you might also have a better idea about where they’re at. “It’s understandable that you’d need to blow off some steam” is not an endorsement of what they’ve done but simply showing an understanding of why. Empathy and understanding are always the best guides through situations like this.

 

Figure out where you stand

Now that you have cleared the air a little bit (even if it’s just on your side and they’re completely ignorant of how you feel) you need to decide what you are going to do. Because remember, all you can control is your own actions.

Are you comfortable meeting this person in their home, or in yours? Would you be happy meeting them outdoors for a walk or a very strict two-metre distanced chat over their garden wall? Decide where your boundary is and then you can explain.

As any good couples’ counsellor will tell you, you should try to express things using “I” instead of “you”. So rather than saying, “You can’t come over because you were out partying”, say “I’m not comfortable meeting you indoors, but perhaps I can call round to the garden and I’ll bring you a coffee?”

You don’t need to justify your decisions to them, just like they don’t to you. You have expressed your feelings to them about this pandemic earlier and now you’re acting on those, that is enough. 

Don’t pretend that you’ve got an ill aunt and you’re the only one who can mind her. This does no good to anyone. Your friend needs to know the situation you’re in and how you’re reading it. You don’t have to ease their conscience by making them feel like they wouldn’t be out partying if they can a sick aunt to tend to either. 

If you just don’t want to take the risk and see them, “I’m just not comfortable meeting you in person right now, but let’s have a Zoom instead” is a perfectly acceptable response.

And finally, if your friend doesn’t take this well, don’t worry. You can only control your own actions and you have been empathetic, accommodating, non-judgemental and kind during this interaction. That’s all you can do and hopefully they will be able to see how much you value them as a result. 

Also Read

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
premium PARENTHOOD
Rosemary MacCabe: ‘I just kept thinking, what if we don’t buy it – and something happens my baby?’

I remember, in the days after my sister gave birth to her third child, Chance – who is now a...

By Rosemary MacCabe

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
premium PARENTHOOD
Rosemary Mac Cabe: ‘Months eight and nine have been completely taken up with two distinct emotions: panic and rage’

In the final months of her pregnancy diary, Rosemary Mac Cabe expected to be taking slow but leisurely walks with...

By Rosemary MacCabe

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
ADVICE, HEALTH & WELLNESS
Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday

Journalist Colette Sexton on how you can go on holiday every weekend, with a change of perspective. There is nothing...

By Colette Sexton

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
REAL-LIFE STORIES
Is this heartbreaking chaos the endgame after a 20-year war on terror?

The picture splashed across the papers today is hard to look at. For many reasons. It’s the pain and confusion...

By Amanda Cassidy

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women

Set to launch in the coming weeks, The Sunday Service is a new online self-care series designed to help women...

By Sarah Finnan

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
REAL-LIFE STORIES
Perspectives: ‘The absence of stigma doesn’t always mean an increase in understanding’

It’s never been more acceptable to open up about our feelings. But are we confusing exposure to the concept of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Navigating the awkward conversation you need to have with that one friend who isn’t following COVID guidelines
BEAUTY
Tom Ford’s new leather scent is as sophisticated as they come

Like a leather jacket, a leather scent is an eternally cool confidence hint as classic as it gets.

By Holly O'Neill