Ask Amy: Friendship falters on anti-vaxx posts
Dear Amy: I met “Shari” through other friends. We got along well, and always had a great time. I thought we had an amazing bond.
However, once the pandemic hit, I started to see a different side of her.
She is very anti-vaxx and has refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic. She has ramped up the anti-vaxx posts on social media.
I did send her a message about one post, stating that it wasn't true, and she sent a tirade back at me, rehashing a number of points about COVID-19 and the vaccine that are all untrue.
I don't make friends easily. I have serious trust issues, but I don't see being able to maintain a friendship with someone who is so diametrically opposed to my values and views.
I am willing to accept her being against vaccinations, but she is posting pure falsehoods, and is argumentative when called out with facts, stating that anyone who disagrees with her or counters her arguments is brainwashed by the government and media.
I keep thinking that once we get past the pandemic, maybe things will be better.
I try not to bring it up, but when I see some of the posts, and when we are together with other friends, it comes up.
I put my head down and keep quiet, but this is eating me up.
My challenge is – how do I end the friendship? I am afraid to end it, as we are part of a group of friends, and if I need to pull my friendship away from her, I will lose those friends, who are my only friends right now.
But I wonder if being alone would be better than this.
Dear Stuck: You see this as an “all or nothing” situation, where because of this person’s behavior, all of your other friendships are at risk, but she is not in charge of your other relationships. You are.
You should completely disengage from her on social media. She is not reasonable and does not want to engage in an exchange of ideas, so remove your access to her on this platform. Quietly “hide,” “block,” or “unfriend.”
Change the channel.
There is no need to abruptly end the friendship by declaring it to be over.
You simply need to back away from the relationship. Detach from her.
Don’t gossip about her with others. If she asks you why you are distant, you can truthfully tell her that you’ve become exhausted by her declarations and tirades, which run counter to your own values.
Dear Amy: My mother-in-law is a smoker. Her own house is permeated with the smell of cigarettes. Even though I don’t like it, I can handle this when we’re visiting.
I know it is her house and she has the right to do what she wants when she’s at home, but I cannot stand it when she lights up at our place.
We have a balcony, and I am fine with her smoking on the balcony if she wants to, but – please – not in our townhouse.
My husband doesn’t want to say anything to her, but I do.
Do you have any ideas?
Dear Puffed-Out: Smoking anywhere indoors has become so rare that at this point it is almost taboo.
Many rental units and condo associations ban smoking – even inside units – because of the risks associated with second-hand smoke. You should check to see if there are any rules within your townhouse development, and if even smoking on a balcony is permitted (balconies are sometimes considered “common areas”).
If smoking is banned inside units where you live, you should notify your mother-in-law.
Otherwise, even if your husband won’t say anything to his mother, you should.
Keep your tone neutral, and simply say: “I hope you won’t mind standing outside to smoke.”
If she says, “Why yes, I do mind,” you’ll have to say – “Well, smoke really bothers me, so I’d appreciate it if you could do that for me.”
Dear Amy: The writer signing her question: “Just Say: Get Well Soon!” said she had shared the fact that she was getting surgery on Facebook, but she didn’t like the fact that one friend queried her about the details.
Thank you for pointing out the obvious: When you post personal news on social media, you don’t get to control how people respond!
Dear Aggravated: My own life without a personal Facebook presence (I maintain a professional page) has been a little less colorful, but a lot less aggravating.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org 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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