Home & Leisure

Social Graces: Your roommate is inviting someone over who isn’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Here’s how to handle the situation.

Hannah Herrera Greenspan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: Your roommate has invited someone to your place who has received the first dose of a two-dose coronavirus vaccine. You’re uncomfortable because the friend isn’t fully vaccinated. How should you handle the situation?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic has lasted over a year now. The extensive time that has elapsed has worn people down. But the assertive rollout of vaccines across the country suggests we will soon be able to more safely gather with our family and friends.

It can be challenging to balance the wish to see other people with recommendations that only fully vaccinated adults should gather in enclosed spaces. It can also be challenging to balance our wish to follow guidelines when other people in our life don’t feel the same way. These conversations can be particularly difficult when many people are experiencing fatigue from the extended time of living under pandemic conditions.

The important thing to remember when discussing emotionally charged topics is to keep a respectful tone to keep dialogue open. Keeping the dialogue respectful will enable you to present your perspective and hear your roommate’s perspective and to arrive at a compromise.

Perhaps your roommate would be willing to meet the friend for walks until the friend is fully vaccinated. Or perhaps you can take a walk or visit other vaccinated friends or family members while your roommate has the friend over. Compromises are easier to arrive at when dialogue is open and emotions are kept in check.

— Dr. Sophia Albott, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School


A: Many people are encountering uncomfortable situations with family and friends in light of the recommendation to get the coronavirus vaccine. Just like any decision we make that affects those around us, there needs to be understanding and respect for a person’s belief, whether we agree or not.

Achieving comfort in an uncomfortable situation lies in honest communication. Start a dialogue with your roommate that is sincere and not confrontational. This is not the time to take the podium and lecture your roommate on how you feel about the virus and vaccines. Keep the conversation simple. Make your feelings known, and stay calm. Once your roommate knows how you feel, see if you can come together to find a solution that works for both of you.

One option is to find another place to stay while the guest is visiting. Or make arrangements to be out of the room during the visit, maybe run some errands or go to the library. To prevent conflict, create a plan that works for both of you for this occasion and any that might arise is the future.

— Jacquelyn Youst, etiquette expert and owner of Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol

©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC