Ask Amy: Pandemic Precautions Ruffle Feathers

By Amy Dickinson | August 26th, 2020

What to do when one friend doesn't take a global pandemic as seriously as they should


Woman whose friend is not taking the global pandemic seriously Image

Dear Amy: I have a close friend who lives in another state. She doesn’t believe the pandemic is very bad, and though she does wear a mask when going out, she doesn’t take any other pandemic precautions and lives her life as normal. She believes that everyone should try to get sick in order to get “herd immunity.”

Now my friend wants to come to this area to visit. I told her upfront that my husband and I are not allowing people into our house at this time, and that we could meet outside somewhere. That ruffled her feathers a little, but I think she agreed to that. Then, she wanted to know if I could pick her up at the airport and drive her 30 to 40 miles so she could stay with a relative.

She made a snide comment about, “Or do you not want me in your car, either?”

I told her no, and that my husband is in agreement with me.

I don’t know how to smooth things out with my friend when she is on the opposite spectrum of caring about this virus and about other people’s health.

She is an intelligent person who cares about her own health, and politically and ideologically we have always been on the same page, so I’m struggling to deal with this rift and how to approach my friend with my concerns over her visit.

I feel like I’m the only person in America that feels the way I do. It’s making me feel crazy. What do I do?

— Concerned

Dear Concerned: You are not the only person in America who feels the way you do, and you are not crazy.

People are responding to this health crisis along a very wide spectrum. The varying responses, ranging from paralyzing anxiety to outright denial, are challenging to family and friendships alike. Your friend might live in an area where she has not experienced the reality of a COVID strike. Like so many others, she might carom around her own media silo, unaware or in denial of the reality others are facing. Although it would be hard to read accounts of first responders and still deny the true devastation of this illness, evidently you and your friend are currently existing in different realities.

Logically, if you won’t have people inside your home just now, why on earth would you enclose yourself in a vehicle with them? Your friend’s “ask” seems to have been a challenge.

You are doing a good job of being forthright about your own limitations. Your duty should always be to convey your own values and protect your own health, while accepting the values of others and hoping that their behavior does not hold grave consequences.

I have managed to extract a silver lining from this situation: COVID has finally freed us from feeling obligated to retrieve someone from the airport.


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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

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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