Wearing masks was a prime example of the source of many news-making disagreements early on during the COVID-19 pandemic and even now there is some disagreement. We are witnessing the polarization of ideas and attitudes regarding how best to deal with it.
But polarization can serve as an opportunity to re-evaluate our own judgments and behaviors. Never have we needed etiquette and empathy more.
There are reasons why people might choose not to wear face coverings just as there are reasons for disagreement on any subject. Remaining calm when we disagree is more likely to bring about understanding.
Reasons for NOT wearing a mask when not required:
One of the primary principles of etiquette is to be respectful and considerate of another's right to believe what he wants, even if we do not agree that the choice is correct or wise.
The primary reason for wearing a mask:
The practical etiquette question is, "How can I be more recognizably respectful to others?"
When there is a problem:
Follow the rules:
Guessing the motives of the behavior of others is counter-productive.
A good friend of mine has the secret to overcoming her harsh feelings of people who resist wearing masks. When she encounters such a person, she smiles under her mask and says to herself, “May you be safe. May you be well.” This helps her stave off resentment.
It's difficult to feel resentful when you are wishing someone well. Surely, avoiding resentment is good for your health.