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Setting COVID Boundaries

You've been wanting to do more self advocacy and set boundaries related to COVID, but you're feeling stuck. I've provided some examples here of different phrases to use in multiple contexts, like with family and friends, at work, or when seeking medical care. You can adapt these phrases to better fit your circumstances and feel more authentic to your own voice.

With loved ones:

  • "I'd love to get together, let's find somewhere to meet up outside."

  • "I'm not doing indoor dining these days, would you like to (insert your preferred activity here) instead?"

  • "When you wear a mask around me, it shows me how much you care about me."

  • "I'm not comfortable getting together unless we're both masked."

  • "How can we work together to make this event COVID safer?"

  • "You can help me feel loved by wearing a mask when you visit."

  • "Would you please take a COVID test before we meet up?"

  • "I'll be keeping my mask on, not just for me but because I love you and care about your health."

  • "I'm taking precautions because my health is really important to me and I don't want to risk getting Long COVID."

  • "Let's figure out together how we can meet as safely as possible."

  • "I appreciate the invitation, but that's not something I'm comfortable with due to COVID risk."

  • "I've seen what COVID can do, so I'm trying to keep both of us as safe as possible."

  • "Please let me know before we get together if you're not feeling well or have had a recent COVID exposure."

At work:

  • “My mask protects me from getting sick.”

  • “Avoiding illness helps me avoid missing work.”

  • “Masking helps to protect our patients/customers/staff."

  • "When I can keep myself healthy, I'm able to do my best work."

  • "I'm following best practice guidelines for protecting myself from COVID and other illnesses."

When receiving healthcare:

  • "I am requesting reasonable accommodations under the ADA."

  • "I request all staff involved in my care wear an N95."

  • "What are your office policies related to COVID mitigation?"

  • "I'd like the first appointment of the day if that's available."

  • "Please replace my mask following my procedure."

I'll add my usual caveat that these may not work in all circumstances. What are some of your go to phrases for setting COVID boundaries?

About the author: Olivia is a COVID conscious therapist who works with clients navigating setting boundaries around COVID safety in their relationships.

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