Real friends wear masks

Individuality over health is not friendship. Photo courtesy:

The coronavirus pandemic has taught everyone a thing or two about the people closest to them and what they truly value. While some people prioritize individuality of wanting to wear a mask and going out at their discretion, others think prioritizing health is a non-negotiable concept.

When it comes to whether COVID-19 is something losing friends over, I think the accurate question is not should you end a friendship over it, but how many “fake friends” will you lose?

The concept of friendship is all about acknowledging and respecting the values and beliefs of another person, even if they may be different from yours. That is what makes a bond unbreakable.

By doing something to a friend that disregards their values or boundaries is grounds for the dismissal of any friendship.

Therefore, if you have stated to a friend that you wish to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself or your family and they continue to be around you physically without taking any precautions, they lack respect for your values and your health.

Even more, if a friend tests positive for COVID-19  and continues to enter your personal space with or without telling you of their test result, this is a sign of toxicity and disrespect that needs to be eliminated.

Sophomore Business Administration Student Gierra Williams understands this concept after two friends who tested positive and failed to tell her and other friends continued to hang around.

“Luckily, my other friends and I all tested negative after we found out, but the ones that I unfriended continued to hang out in public and go to parties and clubs when they knew that they were positive,” Williams said.

It’s clear many Americans, especially Millennials and Generation Z, are hyper-focused on the idea of individuality and the ability to choose how they live their lives. The fact that mask-wearing is a mandate rather than a trend turns people off from listening.

Add this in with those who believe COVID-19 to be a conspiracy, and there is a serious conflict of interest between personal freedoms versus the wellbeing of others.

The biggest problem that comes from this is the decision by others to decide what you can or can’t handle and what you can or can’t physically be affected by.

As more and more people go out without proper protections and come back with negative COVID-19 results, they insist that good health doesn’t lie within the fate of a mask.

Even worse, people who do contract the illness, but do not get symptoms believe that people similar to them will react the same way.

However, it’s not their decision to decide how you should safeguard your health and you shouldn’t let them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a mask with at least two layers of fabric and physically distancing have been tested and proven to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The personal belief that COVID-19 is a conspiracy theory does not trump the very real threat the illness may have to you or your family.

It’s completely sensible for you to want to protect your family from illness, especially when you don’t know if the results of one will land you in the hospital or bed for a couple of days, and any true friend will know that.

In fact, psychology student Ja’Kiya Harden agrees.

“I believe my friends should value not only my health but my family along with theirs and their [own] family…” Harden states. “…They should take the necessary precautions because COVID is very real and very serious.”

Simply put, if someone willingly introduces the risk of sickness to you or your family, they probably weren’t a real friend to begin with.

Health is equivalent to your life. When someone completely ignores your values, they are ignoring the importance of your life.

If you feel it necessary to eliminate people from your life because they are making you feel at risk, or making you paranoid of your health, then delete them by any means.

Real friends will wear masks and social distance with you. Real friends prioritize your health because they want you here.

“If a friend does not care about your health, they do not care about you at all,” Williams says.