Life Advice



Friend Suspicious Of Woman's COVID-19 Claims

Harriette Cole on

DEAR HARRIETTE: I think that my friend keeps lying about having COVID-19. Since April 2020, my friend has claimed to have contracted COVID-19 about five different times. I don't see how this is possible, especially since I have not contracted the virus once. I think that she does this to avoid spending time with me. Would it be wrong to confront her about this? I don't have any evidence that she's lying other than the unlikelihood of catching COVID-19 so many times. -- Suspicious

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: First of all, it is possible for your friend to have contracted COVID-19 multiple times. Is she a front-line worker? By the way, that can mean a lot of different things -- basically that she is required to be out and about in the close company of other people on a daily basis. Is she vaccinated? Does she follow COVID-19 protocols? Some people do not believe in wearing masks. Even at the height of the pandemic, some people did not keep their distance from others, either by necessity or by choice. The bottom line is that your friend could have contracted the virus more than once. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people definitely can get COVID-19 even after having been infected previously.

Rather than accusing her of lying about her health, why not tell her that you are sorry that she seems to have the worst luck when it comes to contracting this illness, and you wonder if there's something more going on. Ask her if she is avoiding you. Tell her that you feel like she doesn't want to see you, and if that is true, you want to know why. Be direct but kind.

Another reality during this extended period of isolation is that people have reassessed their lives and who they choose to see. She could have taken you off of her list of close friends, or, even more likely, she could be among the many thousands of people who have gained a lot of weight. Being physically self-conscious has kept many people in hibernation. Who knows? You can ask your friend, or you can simply express your sorrow at not seeing her for so long and implore her to meet you in person soon.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I have to speak in front of a large group of people, I get extremely nervous. I never anticipate how nervous I will be beforehand; it always surprises me. The other day, I spoke at an event where I was required to hold a microphone, and my hands were visibly shaking. Any tips for a nervous public speaker? -- Nervous Speaker

DEAR NERVOUS SPEAKER: There are a few things that can help you a lot. First, remember to breathe. Take three deep breaths before entering the space where you will be speaking. Remind yourself that you are prepared. You know what you are going to say and have rehearsed it enough to be confident. When you walk onto the stage, look out at the audience. Make eye contact with a few people -- the ones you notice who are looking at you and smiling. Creating a direct connection to a few key people will help you to feel less alone. Plant your feet firmly before you begin to speak. Offer the moment up to service.


Finally, remind yourself that everybody gathered wants you to do well. This is true. Think about it. They chose to attend this event. Because they are there, they selfishly want it to be worth their while, which means that their energy will be supportive. Your audience wants you to win. Stand confident in that knowledge, and go for it!


(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Copyright 2022, Harriette Cole



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