Life Advice



Ask Amy: COVID concerns disrupt long friendships

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My heart is broken and hurts so bad; I think I'm about to lose it.

My best friend of 50 years just told me that there is no reason to try to exchange Christmas gifts this year, because I am so paranoid about COVID and we wouldn't be seeing each other because of it.

She refuses to wear a mask around me and says I “look ridiculous" wearing one around her. EVERYONE locally that we are close to, all people in their 70s and 80s (some with comorbidity issues), are doing exactly what they want. They regularly see outside family members, neighbors, friends, workers they've hired, etc. without the benefit of masks. They have been doing this for months, and all are fine. They seem to think that if you know a person, then masks/social distancing is not necessary, and so far, in all the many cases, this has proven true.

After all these months of the pandemic, everyone is fine.

Am I indeed being "paranoid" to avoid people not living in my household, social distancing, always wearing a mask? Maybe I should just start wearing a mask only when among strangers? I am starting to become very resentful.

— Resentful


Dear Resentful: You and your cohort could be in for a very long winter. I am genuinely sorry that your friends either don’t understand or don’t care about how this virus is spread. Given the number of tragic stories of friends and family members spreading the virus to one another, their logic — that one needs only to be careful among strangers — is backward. The virus is carried in and then spread amongst close groups.

For a famous example, how did President Trump become infected and land in the hospital? (Not from a stranger, but from a person in his inner circle.)

According to the CDC, in up to 40 percent of cases, people who have COVID are asymptomatic, may not be aware that they have the virus, and may never develop symptoms, themselves but could potentially infect others.

In my view, it is one thing to disregard risks when it comes to your own health and safety, but to deride and criticize you for taking the pandemic seriously is not what loving friends do. I can imagine how hurt you feel. By following medical advice now, you are betting on having a future with your friends. I hope they are there to join you, and that your friendship somehow survives this disrespect.


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