Life Advice



Ask Amy: Pandemic experience has triggered food hoarding

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I went to a birthday party in my expatriate community in a small Latin American town and saw folks I hadn't seen in a long time (thanks to COVID).

As usual in social gatherings, I ask people about things I know about them: How are your elderly parents? How is your partner doing post-surgery? How was your trip to wherever? How are your kids doing?

I like these people a lot and have missed their company. I was happy to see them. But not one of these people inquired about me!

I am a good listener, but it would be really nice if someone expressed an interest in me.

I am not the kind of person who readily turns the conversation to myself, yet it would be nice if someone actually asked.

I see precious little of that in general anymore.


Is it that people have lost their social skill or is it that they just want a friendly ear? I do have good social skills and I do care, but the longer I am on the listening end of a monologue, the more cynical I become. I welcome more authentic engagement, but maybe it's just not possible?


– Unheard Expat

Dear Expat: I am running your question as a public service announcement. This is one of several I’ve received recently from people who feel completely disregarded and unheard, because no one asks – or listens.


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