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Social Graces: Here’s how to handle relatives who have not followed coronavirus guidelines and are getting vaccinated before you

Hannah Herrera Greenspan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: The coronavirus vaccination rollout may have you feeling frustrated. How do you not get upset about loved ones who haven’t followed COVID-19 guidelines getting the vaccine first?

A: Evolution has endowed human beings with a predisposition toward fairness and justice. When “good” things happen to “good” people and “bad” things happen to “bad” people, we feel that all’s right with the world, and when that formula is violated, it causes most of us to feel uneasy or angry. This is the reason that people who have followed the rules may be feeling resentful toward people who haven’t followed the COVID-19 guidelines but are getting vaccinated first.

If you are feeling this way, I recommend that you reframe the situation to see how this “lack of fairness” may actually benefit you. By looking at the bigger picture, you will feel much better.

Specifically, consider that the more total people who are vaccinated, the safer we all are as a society. This is especially true for people who have been lax about adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. The sooner they are vaccinated, the better it will be for you, because the rule-breakers may have been the most likely to infect you in the first place.

If you focus on the bigger picture, you may be less likely to be resentful and more likely to be thankful that the rule-breakers are getting the vaccination first.

— Dr. Ben Michaelis, psychologist and elite performance coach


A: At the end of the day, they are within their rights to have the vaccine, and the government thinks they need it, so every person who gets it is one step closer to herd immunity, which will benefit us all.

Another question here is do they qualify? If not and your family members already have gotten the shots, you may wish to voice your opinion, but you must realize you can’t change the outcome.

If your loved ones have not already gotten shots, I think it’s appropriate to question if they know that the vaccine is still for a certain tier of people. If they knowingly are still getting it, I would take a compassionate angle when you tell them it does not seem ethically OK to jump the line.

The important part is not to be accusatory, as people quickly turn defensive and rebellious and then may still go. .

— Myka Meier, etiquette expert, founder of Beaumont Etiquette and author of “Modern Etiquette Made Easy”

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