Ask Amy: Friend worries about pandemic’s toxic effect
Dear Amy: I am very concerned about a former co-worker.
I met "Gerry" two years ago when we were on the same project team.
Gerry was a funny person and has been very open about her mental health struggles.
After the project ended, we went our separate ways, but continued to follow each other on Instagram.
When the pandemic hit, Gerry would discuss how tough the lockdowns were, and we would share different recipes etc.
Now with the rise of the Omicron variant, I believe that she has completely spiraled into a dark rabbit hole.
On Instagram, she would constantly post photos and link the usernames of local politicians, calling them Nazis because of restrictions.
I reached out to Gerry to see if she needed someone to talk to, but I just got chewed out and called a "privileged b***h.” Additionally, there was an onslaught of insults aimed at my family, that I won't repeat here.
It has been a few weeks since then, and I have stopped following her Instagram account. However, another mutual friend mentioned to me that Gerry’s posts are getting worse – so much worse that she was written up at work for a particularly bad one.
I am not sure if I should reach out again and offer her a friendly shoulder to cry on, or if I should cut my losses and let her sit in the mess she is creating for herself.
Dear Torn: I think you should reach out, one more time – in a neutral and benign way, along the lines of: “Hi, I’m checking in. I’ve been wondering how you’re doing lately.”
If she responds with a toxic multi-directional rant, you could reply, “I realize this is tough; I’m sorry.”
If she responds with a personal attack on you, you should not respond, back away, and be done with your personal involvement.
If a mutual acquaintance reaches out with concerns about her, you might suggest that the person reach out directly to “Gerry,” instead of involving you.
Dear Amy: Is dating/going out with more than one person at a time passe?
You recently printed a letter from someone who is attracted to someone close (geographically) who is in a “long-distance” relationship with someone else. While I have no quibble with your response as to how to go about exploring the possibility of establishing a closer relationship, is it possible for the person at the center of this triangle to have a relationship (of whatever degree) with both people without feeling guilty?
Perhaps it was just the times I grew up in, the ’50s and ’60s, but there was certainly no problem, on either side, if I and/or the girls I was dating were each seeing more than just one person.
At times I was going out with three or four girls simultaneously.
I don’t think I was alone in this.
Dear Wondering: Generally, if you are interested in or attracted to someone whom you know is in a long-standing monogamous relationship with someone else, respecting that person’s other commitment is the most ethical thing to do, even if it goes against your own self-interest.
It also happens to be an extremely attractive way to behave.
It has been ever thus.
Emotional issues aside, awareness of the risk of contracting STDs has made it important for people to be transparent about their dating and sex lives (even though they often are not).
That having been said, seeing more than one person at a time is not passe.
Playing the field is basically why the internet was invented.
Dear Amy: I love your suggestion to put “a book on every bed.”
I fear however that no matter how many books I give my great-nieces and nephew (my surrogate grandchildren), that they are not read!
I don't think their parents prioritized reading to them.
They seem to prefer their tablets.
They are 8-year-old twin girls, and a 9-year-old boy.
Is there any way for me to encourage their reading from a distance as I do not live nearby? Or is giving them books the best I can do?
I do look for well-reviewed and age-appropriate titles.
– Loving Aunt
Dear Aunt: You could start a virtual “book club” with these kids. Ask the three of them to choose a book from their collection, and then you could set up a Zoom or FaceTime session where you read together and “review” your selections.
Keep your sessions brief, fun, and understand that it might get zany.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.