Hello, world. My name's Stephen LaConte, I'm a writer here at BuzzFeed, and according to my friends and family, I'm pretty darn good at giving advice.
So I've invited readers like you to message me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places) with your biggest problems — and I'm solving 'em right here on BuzzFeed, one DM at a time. Let's get right to it.
Today, we've got this woman, whose boyfriend refuses to wear a face mask in the age of the coronavirus:
Your boyfriend is either totally ignorant about what's going on in the world right now, or he just doesn't care. I don't know which of the two it is, but I do know this: His actions are selfish, illogical, and dangerous.
Let's start with his belief that he won't catch COVID-19 "because he is healthy." Just to be 100% clear, that is wrong. Healthy people can absolutely become infected with the virus, and some of those cases have been quite severe — even fatal.
Now, it's true that young, healthy people are much less likely to die from COVID than older folks or people who are immunocompromised. But this is not a free pass for those young, healthy individuals to behave like selfish assholes. They have as much accountability for saving lives as anyone else right now, and that means taking proactive steps to make sure they don't spread the virus to somebody more at-risk.
Think of it this way: If a small sedan crashed into a massive 18-wheeler truck, the driver of the sedan is certainly more likely to get hurt than the truck driver. But that doesn't mean truck drivers get to drive around recklessly — speeding, cutting people off, running through red lights — simply because the odds are in their favor if there's a crash. That would be wrong, because the responsibility of keeping people safe is a shared one. And right now, we all need to be wearing face masks, washing our hands, and staying home as much as possible, regardless of our personal level of risk.
To put it bluntly, your boyfriend isn't just putting himself in danger with his carelessness — he's putting countless others in harm's way, too. Suppose he catches the virus, but doesn't know it because he doesn't show any symptoms. If he's not wearing a face mask, he really might get someone hurt. Or worse, killed.
So, back to your original question: What should you do about this? Well, it sounds like you've already asked your boyfriend, multiple times, to take basic precautionary steps like wearing a face mask and staying home, and he's refused. You can go ahead and have that conversation with him one more time if you think it will make any difference.
But, truth be told, I think your DM paints the picture of a man who fundamentally does not care about the safety and well-being of others, and that's why your conversations with him have gotten you nowhere so far. If that's the case, frankly, I think you're better off dumping him.
Maybe that sounds petty. Maybe you don't want to throw an entire relationship away over this. But consider the fact that your boyfriend could end this dispute right now by putting a little piece of fabric over his face. And yet he refuses to do it. So who's the one being petty? Who's the one throwing the relationship away?
And if you're not ready to take that step of breaking up with him just yet, I think you're smart to at least keep some physical distance from him for the time being. And maybe use that space to ask yourself some tough questions about who this guy is: Does he care about others? Does he care about you? If so, why don't his actions reflect it?
I'm gonna end today's post with some advice to all BuzzFeed readers, many of whom are young and maybe think this virus won't affect them: The choices you make right now will impact whether other people live or die. So wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Don't be a dick.
That's all the advice I'm giving today, folks, but if you've got any words of wisdom for our DMer, please share them in the comments. I'll be reading...
Want more advice and updates on previous DMers? Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places). And if you want to submit a question to be featured in the column, DM me — just be sure to read the rules below first.