Dear Amy: A few days after Christmas this year, a friend stopped by our house with her husband and her sister.
Knowing that they were all vaccinated and boosted, we invited them in and enjoyed their company.
The next morning, I received a text that my friend had a high fever and that the other two had scratchy throats.
Sure enough, those three and I tested positive for COVID-19 (she had contracted it from a family member on Christmas). My husband and I immediately quarantined.
I was most concerned about her, due to underlying health issues.
One afternoon, I checked in to see how she was feeling. That morning she’d had a temp of 100.5 and her sister was feeling worse.
To my shock and disbelief, the sisters were just returning from getting manicures and pedicures.
When I questioned this, she brushed it off saying, “Oh, it was fine. We wore masks, they wore masks.”
I hung up feeling stunned that they could be so reckless and selfish that they would endanger others for something so vain.
How do they know if the people who worked on them lived with high-risk family members or children too young to receive the vaccination?
Right now, I have little desire to continue the friendship, however, we interact with a group online weekly and I’m not sure I want to give that up.
I should share my feelings with her, but I’m afraid that in my anger and disgust that I’d say something I may regret.
I don’t like feeling this way, and I want this pandemic to end!
— Doing my Part
Dear Doing my Part: We all want the pandemic to end. When it does, our collective health will be more secure, and we will also be spared learning some unpleasant truths about the people around us.
The situation you describe falls squarely into the category of: When someone reveals who they are, believe them.
Your friend was flouting common sense for any ill person (don’t go out and about when you have a fever). This was common sense and common courtesy before the pandemic, and it is even more important, now.
She was also presumably violating whatever mandates have been put in place to try to slow the spread of the virus.
But this lack of regard for the health and safety of service workers (who have fewer choices than their clients), reveals a selfishness and — an overall lack of grace.
You can now let your actions reveal who you are, by expressing your point of view to her, and by paying attention to her response.
Don’t give up your online group because of this; if she is too uncomfortable, let her drop out.
Dear Amy: After being widowed, I have finally met a nice man.
Unfortunately, he is a poor conversationalist.
He talks nonstop and doesn’t take a breath — or even a pause — to allow me to “interrupt.”
He talks about his past, his large family, people he used to know years ago, and he doesn’t seem to want to know about me at all.
I have told him that he should allow me to be a part of the conversation, but he just keeps talking.
I am bored with this and often tune him out.
Do you think there is a way to get him to change?
He is 76 and I don’t want to spend any more time with him if he doesn’t want to change. Help!
— Left Out
Dear Left Out: Even though it comes off as a total self-focus, compulsive talking can be a sign of social anxiety, ADHD, or another medical issue.
Most of us become more set in our ways as we age, and I’d say that if this man is fascinated by you and committed to be in a relationship with you, he would do his darndest to alter his behavior in order to let you in.
You should be honest with him about the impact of his behavior on you.
Ask him to see his GP and/or a mental health practitioner, and then you should probably keep looking for a partner who is also a good listener.
Dear Amy: Thank you for noticing that “Concerned Father” was trying to control his overspending son and his wife through buying a house for them.
This concerned father’s comment that his young granddaughter had too many pair of underwear (37!) was both icky … and revealing.
— A Fan
Dear Fan: Yes, I also believed that this was a particularly telling detail.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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