Differences over COVID vaccine ends longtime friendships


Dear Abby: The pandemic has put a strain on relationships. Last year, I lost my best friend of 40 years over the COVID vaccines. I believe the vaccine helps to keep me safe, as well as helps my family and friends. This friend decided he and his family would not take the jab. He quit his job rather than get vaccinated. This caused a rift so wide that, in his eyes, he and his family could not continue being friends with our family. I’m sad about it.

The big problem my wife and I are contending with concerns our 8-year-old daughter. She has been best friends with my (former) best friend’s daughter since birth. There have been eight years of sleepovers, birthdays, park visits, get-togethers and everything in between. We haven’t seen them in six months. We can’t keep telling our daughter the pandemic is the reason she can’t see her best friend. This situation is so simple and so complicated. What do I tell my daughter about her best friend?

— Victim of the Times

Dear Victim: Tell your daughter the truth — that her friend’s parents will no longer allow it. Then explain why. That way she won’t think that this is in any way her fault.

Dear Abby: I was recently contacted by my graduating class to help organize a reunion. Since then, one of the organizers has decided that our committee is an inseparable trio who must get together regularly by Zoom and occasionally in person. 

We were not in touch before the reunion and we have little in common, but I can tell she’s lonely, so I’ve indulged her so far. However, she now wants to convene periodically for long weekends at a nearby inn. I do not want to leave my spouse for long weekends or spend money and time on a person whom I don’t care to befriend. 

When I’ve tried to demur with “unavailability” excuses, she insists we are a trio and we simply will wait a few weeks until I can find an open date. I don’t want to be rude, but I can’t figure out how to politely tell her that I have no interest in accepting her suggestions for an extended slumber party. How should I handle this?

— Reluctant Alumna in the West

Dear Alumna: Handle it by being frank with this needy individual. Tell her, “This isn’t going to happen. I do not wish to leave my husband for a weekend. I don’t mind helping with the reunion, but your demands on my time have increased to the point where they are too much for me.”

Dear Abby: The season of pleasant weather and outdoor concerts is approaching. Invariably, we end up sitting by the chatterboxes. These folks seem oblivious to anyone else, including the performers and the rest of us who want to enjoy the performance. I realize these are free concerts, but I don’t want to have to listen to these rude people. Any suggestions for silencing them so we can hear what the rest of us came for?

— Disgusted in South Carolina

Dear Disgusted: Keep your tone civil. You might ask, “Would you please talk more quietly? We are trying to enjoy the performance.” However, if they aren’t receptive to your suggestion, consider moving as far away from them as possible.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

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