Dear Amy: Recently a couple with whom my husband and I were casual friends a few years ago moved to our town.
We helped them with a few things related to their move, such as storing some of their items and finding different service people.
They have now settled in their new house and have asked us to come over for dinner. However, based on a few things he said (and didn’t say), we believe he hasn’t received the COVID vaccines.
We are fully vaccinated but are cautious and uncomfortable at the thought of being close during indoor feedings with unvaccinated people.
We hesitate to ask them about their vaccination status, as it seems intrusive. On the other hand, we feel strongly that those who avoid vaccines for whatever reason need to respect others by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, both possible if we accept their dinner invitations. Won’t happen.
We have indicated broadly about vaccination, such as mentioning our joy at being able to visit vaccinated relatives, but they did not say anything about their situation.
So, what is the polite or proper way to handle this?
– not nosy, but curious
Dear Curious: If you are nervous or unsure about the vaccination status of others – you can (also) choose to wear a mask and maintain social distance. It looks like some states are moving toward recommending it — even for vaccinated people — as types of the virus continue to emerge.
However, understand that your vaccination is supposed to protect you from more severe symptoms caused by the coronavirus and that some vaccinations appear to be effective – so far – against the variants (check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov) )
If you want to know if people have been vaccinated – ask them. I believe this is a fairly common issue that will come up frequently.
In my own experience, people who have been vaccinated offer this information when issuing or accepting an invitation.
You can say, “Thank you so much for the dinner invitation. We’d love to see how you’ve settled on the place. Sorry if this is weird, but have you both been vaccinated? We are being hyper-vigilant about indoor gatherings in particular. “
This is an intrusive question, and I look forward to a time when people don’t feel obligated to ask it.
Dear Amy: I have realized that I am enabling my friend “Jack” in drug addiction.
At first I didn’t think he had a problem. He claimed that he had intermittent neck pain and did not have time to see a doctor as he is taking care of his mother, who is in very poor health.
As time went on, his requests for my medicine became more frequent.
I asked him, “If it’s so serious why don’t you have a prescription?” He says he does, but it has lapsed.
After hearing this, I told him that I could no longer give my medicine.
I want my medicine I thought I was helping him because he was helping his mother.
I told him that I realized it was an emotional time for him, and then suggested that he might self-medicate. He said he probably was, then asked me for more. I said no.
I feel guilty for giving him the drug in the first place.
I want to help, but I don’t think I can. I think I’ve been a terrible friend.
– awesome friend
Dear friend: You’re right – you shouldn’t have given your medicine to someone else. Aside from the fact that you need your own medicine to treat your illness, you are not a doctor and cannot prescribe an appropriate and safe medicine and dosage for someone else.
However, addicts are persuasive and manipulative. Your friend trusted you to respond with generosity and compassion, and you did. I hope you don’t make the same mistake again. He clearly needs professional help, and suggesting this is the most you should do.
Dear Amy: I’m answering the question of the “widower” who wondered when it was okay to start dating after the death of his wife of 40 years.
My late wife passed away 19 years ago (may she rest in peace).
My current wife brought home a condolence casserole – and didn’t go home.
Best 19 years ever!
– absolutely not newlyweds
not at all dear: Never underestimate the magical powers of a good casserole.