Dear Amy: My husband and I are health care professionals currently working in patient care. I have spent hours educating my friends on how to keep healthy and safe during the pandemic.
I hit a wall with a few friends and decided to no longer discuss anything regarding COVID. It was not worth the emotional strain and frustration. Sadly, one day when I was particularly exhausted and overwhelmed, I was chatting with one of these friends. We were talking about my infant grandchild and the new mom returning to work.
Their pediatrician recommended that their infant not be around anyone unvaccinated. They were thrilled to find childcare where all the workers wore masks and were vaccinated.
Hearing this, my friend asked: “Why does being vaccinated even matter, since people get COVID if they are vaccinated?”
I am embarrassed to admit that I did not respond completely professionally.
I apologized for raising my voice and explained that she was receiving the brunt of my frustration, which I knew was not fair to her.
I apologized multiple times, but I could tell she was still angry.
I knew we both needed time.
It has been some weeks, and neither of us has reached out to the other.
I apologized profusely, so I feel the proverbial ball is in her court — but I also recognize that perhaps I need to be the adult in this situation and reach out to her.
Is this friendship salvageable? Is it a friendship worth saving?
— Overwhelmed HCP
Dear Overwhelmed: Any true friendship is worth trying to save but, even though you own the fact that you responded poorly in this particular situation, you should not be the only “adult” in the room.
I often say that “friends tell each other the truth.”
Friends also accept apologies when they are sincerely offered, in order to continue on in the relationship.
Furthermore, right now — friends of health care workers working in patient care should greet these beleaguered and exhausted professionals with compassion, as well as a standing ovation.
The very least your friend can do is to accept your repeated and sincere apologies. Even if she feels a little wounded, that’s the “adult” response.
Dear Amy: I’m writing on behalf of a group of friends.
First off, we would like to thank you for the advice, insight, and entertainment you provide through your advice column.
As a collective group of concerned friends, we are wondering about the well-being of our friend, “Jack.”
Jack is 23 and has yet to have a girlfriend. He seems to be very shy at times, but he is outgoing around us.
How can we encourage him to get out into the dating world?
He doesn’t listen to our advice. We think you should be able to help.
— Concerned Friends
Dear Concerned: Generally, when someone reaches out and asks for advice for a friend, I assume that if the friend wanted advice — from me or from anyone — he would ask for it, himself.
You all seem to be operating from the assumption that “Jack” is at a loss because he hasn’t ever had a girlfriend — but there are any number of reasons why he hasn’t partnered up, including the idea that he might not be into girls, that he might be unsure of his sexuality, or that he is simply not quite ready or interested in a romantic relationship of any kind.
I’d like you all to imagine what life would be like for Jack if his closest friends accepted his choices and simply appreciated him just as he is.
I would define this as letting him simply be himself around you, without feeling pressured to change or dive into a relationship on anyone’s timetable but his own.
Point out this answer to Jack, and let him know that if he wants advice — I’m here all week.
Dear Amy: I found it very interesting that your reader “Han Man” reported that in Finland they don’t use gender pronouns.
I always wondered why my Iranian father and aunts and uncles who came to the U.S. never could correctly identify men as “he” and women as “she,” until I found out that there is only one (gender-neutral) pronoun in Farsi, the language in Iran.
I wonder what other languages your readers speak that also are gender neutral?
Dear Anousheh: Grappling with this question has led me down a very untidy linguistic rabbit hole, but the vague answer is that many of the world’s languages do NOT use gendered pronouns.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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