‘My girlfriend pretends to be a super diffuser’: because of corona...

‘My girlfriend pretends to be a super diffuser’: because of corona...
‘My girlfriend pretends to be a super diffuser’: because of corona...

One strictly adheres to three close contacts, the other organizes parties as if corona does not exist. The epidemic not only leads to unpleasant measures, but also to quarrels. “My girlfriend pretends I’m a super diffuser.”


has been friends with Lise for years

. They have never had words. But since corona measures have been in place, things have gone wrong three times between them.

“Lise thinks I’m irresponsible.” That is not completely unfounded, Beau admits. The 29-year-old from Ghent applies the rules rather loosely. According to her, this has to do with a resistance that she invariably feels when something is imposed on her. “I do believe in the virus, but I don’t always find the measures viable or logical. Take the mouth mask. Even if you have to wear it, I simply never do it on the bike. I don’t get oxygen otherwise. And I don’t feel like passing out. I also don’t see how I would infect another person from a bicycle. ” Beau is also not always very careful with the social bubbles and the ‘one and a half meters’.

Her roommate looks at it with sorrow. “Lise is much more anxious than I am. During the first wave, she became obsessed with corona. She barely got out. When she did, she immediately changed clothes at home. She was constantly washing and disinfecting. That has continued until today. Lise follows everything very strictly, sometimes more strictly than necessary. She thinks what I do is criminal. ”

Corona has been sharpening the proportions for months. Between friends like Beau and Lise, but also in families or on the work floor. Not everyone thinks the same about the virus. And the measures to reduce the epidemic are also interpreted or followed up very differently.

Look at the call to limit close contacts as much as possible. You have the extremely docile types, who immediately take such a thing to heart and don’t even venture to see three people. But you also have the perspective, who lean more on their gut and believe that a few kisses or hugs too much can’t hurt.

If two such extremes have to make agreements together, it can clash. Autoimmune disease

In the apartment she shares with Lise, Beau tries her best.After all, Lise has an autoimmune disease, which makes her more at risk of getting sick. “I understand that she is careful and expects the same from me. But I also think she is exaggerating. She pretends I’m a super diffuser. While, for me there is just a life outside of corona. ”At first she accepted that Beau’s girlfriend walked around her in an arc of two meters. “But the longer the epidemic dragged on, the more difficult it became for me to deal with it. I am a very physical and social person and after a while I started to feel lost. ” YOU

In the end it went wrong

. “When Lise saw that I gave someone a hug, it was the last straw for her. When I got home she was waiting for me. Of course I knew what we would be talking about. ” More discussions followed, when Lise also discovered that Beau was going to an illegal party. “It wasn’t as if we were dancing there with 200 people. But I wouldn’t call it corona proof either. For Lise it was such a big problem that she moved elsewhere for a while. ”

Even before this crisis, people had different opinions. But what, according to cultural sociologist Ignace Glorieux (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), seems new, is our sensitivity to those differences. “Since corona has been introduced, we have been constantly hearing that we must tackle the virus together. This ensures a growing sense of duty. It could be that we are more likely to address each other about antisocial behavior as a result. Because we know: otherwise we won’t get out. Before this crisis, that was something that you rarely saw Belgians do. When someone broke the rules, many preferred to look the other way. ”

Just think of the illegal-tipping, speeding or wrongly parked fellow citizen. How often do you see such a person being held accountable for his or her behavior? Glorieux: “The difference now is that you yourself can feel the consequences fairly quickly if someone else does not comply with the corona rules. Not respecting the distance of one and a half meters or omitting a mouth mask: you and your environment immediately run a risk. ” The sociologist finds it striking how closely we keep an eye on and condemn the other today. “While we don’t necessarily do it better ourselves.” He believes that the duration of the epidemic explains this. “With the first wave of contamination, we ended up in a completely new, exciting situation. The unprecedented enemy created a sense of belonging. But today, during the second wave, very different emotions are at play. People get tired of the threat, the protracted measures, the isolation. ‘We have done our best and it is not enough’, that thought is alive. Some try to find a culprit. ”We do not know exactly how many conflicts corona causes. But it would not surprise Mark Nelissen, behavioral biologist and professor emeritus at the University of Antwerp, if it had risen.

“Physical contact is extremely important in a human life. It ensures that we produce oxytocin, the so-called cuddle hormone. ” That substance helps determine how safe we ​​feel, but also how much confidence we have in someone else. According to him, those values ​​could be a lot lower for some people due to the current situation. “And that could help explain why they sometimes react more irritably.”

Walk on the tips

In Jo’s family

it has been on the cutting edge since the crisis. Yet when it comes to his brother. The man, young and perfectly healthy, regularly has a corona spasm. “He is terrified of getting sick. And so he blocks all visits. Even a walk in the park is not an option. ” The family hoped that his son’s birthday would be a turning point during the period of the relaxed measures. Then suddenly a limited number of people were welcome in his garden. “But then it started to rain and he panicked because everyone had to go in to hide. Since then he has stopped the boat completely, much to the chagrin of some. ”

Why do some people strictly adhere to the rules and others not? There are many factors that determine such differences. It has to do with genes, but also with upbringing and personal experiences. And with culture, says behavioral biologist Nelissen. “We, in the West, are much more likely to bend the rules to our will than people in the East. Everyone there is much more concerned with what is best for the group. ”

Anyone who has a different opinion about corona cannot simply be convinced with the latest contamination figures or scientific insights. Just think of conspiracy thinkers. What you should definitely not do with them, experts say, is to oppose all kinds of arguments. That just makes this group of people believe even more that the virus is, say, a plan by Bill Gates to decimate the world’s population. The advice is: stay curious with conspiracy thinkers. Find out where their ideas come from. You can also adopt such a curious attitude with people who you suspect that they take the corona measures completely differently than you do. “Before making an appointment, try to test which interpretation they have and what feels comfortable for all parties. I think that is the best way to prevent conflict, ”says Maarten Vansteenkiste, motivational psychologist and advisor at federal evaluation unit Celeval.

He also recommends that you stand behind your own choice. In other words: do not try to adjust the choices of others. If your parents decide not to accept your dinner invitation, respect that. That is their right. The same goes for the decision of the twenty friends who, unlike yourself, want to go on a weekend. Then do not point with the finger. “Share your concerns with them. But don’t go further than that, ”says Vansteenkiste. “Autonomy is very important. If you curtail it, you pour oil on the fire. ”


can discuss it. The 38-year-old West Flemish was bored with the invitation to the communion party from his godchild last month. Of course he wanted to celebrate that memorable moment, but he had difficulty with the organization of the party.

“I haven’t seen my own parents in the same class since corona because they are high-risk patients. I found it disrespectful towards them to share a cold buffet with a whole bunch of other adults. That’s why I suggested doing something in the open air at a different time, alone with my godchild. ”

Initially, Bert and his wife received an understanding text message back. But as communion drew closer, what they call “emotional blackmail” began. “My godchild’s parents tried to persuade us to come anyway. With very different arguments. About how it is just now important to be close to each other, that they are not afraid, that other people also break the rules or that virologists do not know everything after all. ” Bad blood The message was bad blood. “We felt totally disrespected.” Bert kept his leg stiff and the party went on without them. “We congratulated them and then received a photo, but there has been no more contact. To be honest, I don’t feel like meeting them again. If the rules relax and we can see more people again, they will certainly not be at the top of the list. Also because they flout the rules. ”

For the time being, we have not yet been released from the socially uncomfortable situations. After all, a whole series of stricter measures have been in force since Monday, including that you can only have one cuddle contact and receive a maximum of four people at home. A lot of citizens are already wondering what that will mean with holidays such as Christmas.It could well be that more corona conflict will follow, says Vansteenkiste. But he also sees opportunities to reduce the chances of this. He has been advocating tutorials for some time. And by that he means literally: simple, audiovisual manuals that explain, for example, how to invite friends to a room or how to organize a Christmas party in a safe way. Steven Van Gucht (spokesperson for Sciensano, FVG)recently gave a fine example of this, by explaining in great detail how to receive people for dinner. Work out something like this better and more widely and you can avoid a lot of discussions about what can and cannot be done in groups of friends and families. ”

Beau and Lise don’t think about Christmas yet. Especially in the coming days and weeks they hope to find peace in their apartment again. “We will have to strike a middle ground with regard to measures. I.

We agree to disagree.

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