Advice from Amy: Vax Conflict Shakes Friendship

By Amy Dickinson | September 3rd, 2021

No shot and hurt feelings


Vax conflict among friends Image

Dear Amy: I moved to a new state two years ago. My neighbor and I have become friendly and have visited in each other’s houses.

A few weeks ago, she plainly informed me that she would not be inviting my husband and me into her house, nor would she come into our house because my adult son is not vaccinated against COVID.

Our son visits once a week.

He had COVID last year and believes the antibodies will protect him.

We’ve had many discussions about the vaccine, but I can’t convince him to get it. He does mask and hardly goes anywhere, except to work. That said, I will still let him visit.

Apparently, my neighbor does not agree it’s safe.

I respect her boundaries. However, I do feel a little hurt.

She recently visited family members in another state, traveling through airports.

After she returned, she resumed her weekly game playing at a neighbor’s house with several women (they’re all vaccinated).

I feel like she singled me out. I wonder if she vets all her friends and acquaintances about their exposure to unvaccinated people.

She’s a very direct person and is not afraid to state her beliefs. We’ve had a lot of good discussions since I’ve known her.

Since the beginning of COVID, she’s had health issues and several surgeries. She’s better now. We spent time in her home and mine, she didn’t require me to wear a mask, even though I offered to.

If she had set her parameters without involving my son, I would have no problem. I told her as much, in a nice way.

Frankly, I guess I’m asking if you have any advice to help me understand this.

I’m not looking to resume the “friendship” we had, I just want to move on.

I can’t figure out what’s changed.

What’s your take?

– Upset


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Dear Upset: My take is that winter is approaching and we are about to enter another season of great uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, its variants, and our relative safety.

That’s what’s changed.

Your neighbor has been frank with you regarding her own intentions. She is obviously upset that your son has refused the vaccine (and it seems that you are upset, too). The only difference is that he is your son. Your relationship with him overrides his choice.

Your neighbor has judged your family’s choices and has made this personal, and you took it personally, but please remember that each of us has to use our own best judgment to address a public health crisis that has hit home and become personal.

In all honesty, your neighbor’s health may be more uncertain than you realize.

This virus poses more than a biological danger to people. It is also infecting relationships.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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