In the midst of a pandemic, the face mask has quickly become a symbol of political turmoil and a flashpoint for heated debate. This simple piece of personal protective equipment has been shown to slow the spread of the virus and may also protect the wearer to some degree, meaning that other peoples’ decision to wear a face mask or not can have a direct effect on your health. It’s no surprise that tempers are flaring in both public and private settings where face mask use is an issue.

Maybe you’re at a shop or restaurant where someone is refusing to wear a mask. Maybe you’re spending time with a friend or family member who won’t put one on. Whatever the situation, speaking your mind about this topic gets dicey, leading to confrontations that can end relationships and feel threatening. How do you navigate these situations so you feel safe, without leading to a blowout argument? POPSUGAR spoke to Chevonna Gaylor, LMFT, a Los Angeles therapist who specialises in relationships and communication, to find out.

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