Defer to the most cautious person in your presence 

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Yours truely wearing one of Alexia Benakis' masks

I was inspired by Rachel Andrew’s editorial of the issue of the Smashing Newsletter.

Rachel shared a couple of guidelines she picked up last week that I find helpful in terms of decision-making, and explaning, around COVID-19 safety when interacting with other people. Having to make decisions without good data about the risk leads to all sorts of behaviours.

The first was a Facebook post from Paige Campbell Johns:

I want to propose three general ground rules for interacting with people right now. The rules are: (1) When you make plans, make them very specific, and avoid changing them at the last minute. (2) Defer to the most cautious person in your presence. (3) Do not take it personally if someone is more cautious than you.

Like Rachel, I was especially touched by the Defer to the most cautious person in your presence. I have been trying to express feeling this without ever finding the right words. Paige nailed it. A simple and natural way of being inclusive, whatever the reasons.

If there is anything you can do to help the people around you feel less anxious, family, friends or strangers, just do it. Rachel cites a thread of tweets from Amelia Boone that sums this up beautifully :

So if I can ease just one person’s mind or anxiety out on the trails by covering up my face, I will. Because I know how crippling that fear can be, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. /4

We all evaluate risks differently, and we all have different backgrounds and conditions (visible or not), so let’s do our best to make everyone around us feel as comfortable and safe as possible.

We all in this together. Stay safe, stay healthy.

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