The invitation to a friend's get-together in the midst of a pandemic made North Vancouver mom Andrea Craig wary about health concerns, but she felt too awkward to say anything about it.
"I knew half of them, but half of them I didn't know. Sometimes in that situation I don't know what else I could do," Craig said.
She's like most Canadians living in the time of C0VID-19, trying to keep her family safe while to still wanting to socialize with friends.
Without knowing everyone at the gathering, she had no idea if they were all going to keep their distance following advice from public health officials. But she worried she would upset friends if she spoke up.
"I just kind of say okay, it is what it is ... I kind of coward down because I don't want to make anything uncomfortable. It's a fear of judgment," Craig said.
Dr. Carla Fry, a registered psychologist at the Vancouver Psychology Centre, called this dilemma society's latest version of peer pressure. There's a fear of missing out if we don't accept social invites, but it has to be evaluated against an individual's health.
Fry said while it may not be possible in all events, try to get the word out beforehand by letting friends know your comfort level.
"Try ... making a little bit of a proclamation, without it being too dramatic, saying look I am concerned ... I want you to know for the next few weeks or maybe longer, I'm going to be lying low," Fry said.
That's welcome advice for Richmond resident Haren Teckchandani.
He said it's been hard saying no to friends who aren't practicing physical distancing while his family is. He struggles to find a way to say no.
"Indian culture, we don't usually say no to older friends and family. So, it is awkward," Teckchandani said.
Health Officials ask if it's worth it
B.C.'s Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday the answer is simple: Say no.
"There's never been a time when saying no to going to a party is easier," Dix said.
He said "no one should feel awkward in the time of COVID-19."
If you do accept, says Fry, be prepared to explain that you'll be following social distancing rules.
"Sit down beforehand and write two or three bullet-form statements ... practice them in the mirror, repeat them confidently and stick to them," Fry said.
For example, "I'd love to hug you, but I can't."