Social Graces: Is it rude to make sure unvaccinated family members follow COVID-19 precautions?

Q: Your unvaccinated family members promised to keep wearing masks and taking precautions. Is it rude to make sure they’re following precautions?

A: Data suggests that fully vaccinated people can resume normal activities two weeks after their last shot. The risk is small that vaccinated people will contract COVID-19 or that they will pass the virus on to others.

The subject of COVID-19 has become polarized to the point that many people fear bringing up the subject. Add the emotion of the pandemic, and it becomes personal.

Here’s how to ask family members if they’re being cautious:

Share your status. Be the “sharer” in a conversation to put others at ease.

Do so in a positive way. They’re family members, not strangers, so you have a right to know their status.

Don’t feel bad. The conversation might be uncomfortable, but don’t attach guilt to it. This is a health concern.

Be clear. We only have control over our own behavior, so clarity matters.

Be sympathetic. There could be a number of reasons they haven’t been vaccinated that you’re unaware of.

Avoid confrontations. A nonvaccinated person may assume there is no risk to you.

Establish boundaries. It all depends on your health risk and your personal well-being.

— Lisa Grotts, etiquette expert

A: Unfortunately, the only people we can control are ourselves. If you have family members who are unvaccinated and promise to wear masks, but don’t, you can let them know that you don’t feel comfortable with their actions, but you cannot force them to behave differently.

At that juncture, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to spend time with them if they continue to choose that route.

— Rachel DeAlto, relationship expert and author of “Relatable: How to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere (Even If It Scares You)”