[no]WURries: Covid quarrels

‘How can I stop our group of friends from breaking up?’

Good discussion

‘Among groups of friends you always get differences of opinion and discussions, which can be refreshing. But this topic is complicated. Often everyone is convinced they are right. One option is to have a single good discussion about it, with respect for each other’s point of view. Let everyone explain their position without interruption or discussion. Agree that you will respect those positions. Friendship is too valuable to let this issue destroy it.’

Karen Zweers, secretary at Consumption and Healthy Lifestyle

Avoid the topic

‘If friends that matter to you are against particular Covid regulations and vaccinations, it is worth keeping an open mind and making a point of listening carefully to each other’s standpoints. To avoid rows, it helps to realize that there are no right or wrong opinions. If the constant confrontations within your friendship group get too much, admit that honestly. Maybe others think the same way. So agree to avoid certain subjects when you meet.’

Yasmin Dijksterhuis, BSc student of Plant Sciences

Different aspects

‘Emotions, culture, norms, values and religion all play a role in this complex situation. Not all those aspects are equally important to everybody. But everyone has one thing in common: wanting to feel safe and to be seen and heard. Bear that in mind and listen to each other’s views with mutual interest. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes: no perspective is right for everyone, but it can be for an individual. Show some understanding of each other’s views without trying to convince each other that you are right. That way, everyone in your friendship group can be themselves.’

Femma Roschar, coach in Communication Skills and Personal Leadership

Reliable information

‘It is understandable that it’s hard to have such heated arguments with your friends. Currently, there is a lot of misinformation going around about the vaccine and COVID. Ask your friends about the reasons why they are hesitant about the vaccine and guide them to information from the government or WHO, if they are open to it. If not, make clear to your friends how you feel about the arguments in the group and suggest that you avoid the topic altogether.’

Jitske Spee, MSc student of Plant Sciences

Be open-minded but critical

‘Today good friends are more important than ever. Separate the issues from your friends as people. Listen and be open-minded. Who, throughout human history, has committed the most atrocities? Those who “know” and those who identify too strongly with their beliefs. Admitting that we do not know everything, and that those we disagree with may know something we do not, requires confidence. That confidence comes from deep knowledge and thought. Be critical of each other, but also of authorities, data, and most of all yourself. Isn’t that the point of a university education?’

Alexander van Tuyll, a researcher at Greenhouse Horticulture

Next [WUR]ry: New Year’s resolutions

Do you have advice for this Wurrier? Or could you use some good advice yourself? Email your tips or question (100 words max) by 7 December to resource@wur.nl, subject noWURries.

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