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How to ask someone to put on a face mask in public

So you stand in line in the café – or work at the cash register – and there you are, this person who is not wearing a mask in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This person who didn’t understand (or bothered to) the memo that wearing a mask is not a simple act of decency and patriotism that helps protect our loved ones, and is the only thing right now has to read it) Preventing COVID-19 numbers from rising again and triggering another round of bans.

You didn’t wake up this morning and spoil yourself for a fight, but something needs to be said.

So we called the psychologist Robert Cialdini, the author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Belieffor tips on how to get someone to mask themselves without starting a brawl.

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Men health: Wearing masks has become such an important issue. How do you avoid escalating things or getting into a pointless debate?

Cialdini: I would say, “Sorry. You look like a caring person. Would you be willing to wear this mask to protect my health? “

Shot of a young man and woman wearing masks while traveling in a strange city


Essentially, you label someone as a caring person. Research shows that when you do this, people want to live up to the positive reputation you gave them.

For example, if people are told they are helpful, they will give more money a week later when someone from the Multiple Sclerosis Association comes to the door. Children who are told, “You look like a little girl or boy who wants good penmanship,” learn how to do one week later in a completely different situation when given the opportunity to do different tasks it makes improve your writing skills.

All of these studies have shown that people have a tendency to move in the direction of compliments you give them. And it doesn’t require you to confront them in a way that is likely to provoke a fist fight.

Why do you think some people are so anti-mask?

It may have to do with people who want to be sure they are not being pushed around or controlled. And it is especially true of those who appear not to want wear a mask. Because it looks like their argument is, “Nobody can tell me what to do” or “I don’t like it when the government tells me what to do”.

What’s the best way to deal with this mindset?

There is research in social psychology that suggests that if you put a request to someone and then say, “Of course, it’s entirely up to you.”

Close up of two construction workers wearing mask commuting to work on a bus

Marko Geber

So when you compliment someone and make your request, add, “Of course it’s entirely up to you” or “Of course it’s your choice”. Both of these addenda have resulted in a significant increase in the number of people willing to say yes to what you ask them to do.

If you face them or question their beliefs, it can backfire.

You can’t tell him, “What’s the matter with you? You moral idiot! “This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, give them control.

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