Life Advice



Ask Amy: Courtesy questions in the time of COVID-19

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Here’s a typical scenario: I am walking on a trail that is only a few feet wide. Someone is coming toward me. Neither of us is wearing a mask.

I step off the trail to give the other person (and myself) space. The other person walks by without saying anything.

Am I wrong in thinking I should receive a “thank you” for moving aside?

Or, I’m in a market with the aisles marked as one-way and a person with a cart (with or without a mask) is coming in the other direction. I’ll either retreat from the aisle or face the shelves to allow the person to get by.

I passingly wonder if I should remind the person that they are walking the wrong way, but again, a “thank you” would be nice.

And then there are masks in general, the wearing of which seems to be devolving into a political statement.


I wear a mask in public (especially indoors), not because it protects me (most masks available to me will not prevent airborne viruses from getting through), but because it protects other people.

If we were going to be courteous to other people, wouldn’t we all wear a mask?

I realize that courtesy and etiquette in the age of COVID-19 is a minor issue (and it is a minor issue to me). But I think things would be a little better if we were more courteous with each other (and less political). Am getting too worked up about nothing?

I’d appreciate your thoughts.


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