I’m 18 and starting college next month, which will make me the first person in my family to go. I am beyond excited! I worked very hard to get and cover my costs. Recently, I was informed by health services that I need to show proof of my COVID-19 vaccination to enroll. Problem: My mom has been reading conspiracy theories online and is convinced the vaccine is unnecessary and will “change my DNA” – whatever that means. He refused to take me. Spoiler: I secretly got vaccinated months ago! (And I wish she too.) How should I treat my mom and school?
Unfortunately, there are times when we need to see ourselves at the expense of the people we love. This is one of those! I hope you tried to convince your mother (with the data) that the available vaccines were rigorously tested and judged safe by scientists who are able to make that call. The fact that non-vaccinated people are responsible for the vast majority of Covid hospitalizations and deaths is another powerful argument.
However, if his mind is closed to reasoning, you are unlikely to convince him. If your mother is contributing to the cost of your education, which you say you worked very hard to cover, or if you plan to continue living at home, continue with this task. You can’t undo your vaccinations, and the consequences of your mom’s reaction can affect your education.
Bring proof of your vaccinations to the college when you enroll. If necessary, call health services in advance to clarify your situation. If your mother asks, tell her that the school gave you a discount. I am sorry that your mother’s misinformation is affecting your achievement. Let me get the answer from you if you need help, okay?
If your plans change…
My daughter’s bat mitzvah is coming this fall. While discussing our plans for the gathering with family and friends, I learned that some people wouldn’t make it. Some have travel concerns related to COVID; Others have conflicting associations. I don’t think I should send invitations to these people. Formally, why refuse me the second time? I also think that invitations to these people would seem like gift giving. Many family members differ. You?
I agree with you – for the most part. Sending invitations to people who have already told you they are not available seems redundant and possibly guilt-ridden. However, plans (and comfort levels) may change.
Here’s my suggestion: Instead of invitations, send short notes to people who’ve told you they can’t come, tell them they’ll be missed and ask them to let you know if they find themselves available. Don’t waste time worrying about gift grabs: Gifts are always optional.
My sister recently passed away – very young! I had to walk through his little house and attic. Luckily, she was well organized. He had made a list of recipients of various items. But I came upon a few boxes that stumped me. One of them was filled with pictures of him with a childhood friend with whom he had an argument. The other was a cache of recent love letters from a man whose name and address are on the envelope. Unlike his other possessions, he gave no instructions for these things. The family historian in me hates to throw them away. What would you do?
I’m sorry for your loss (and appreciate your honesty). When it comes to delivering personal effects to others, I subscribe to the “do no harm” principle. It’s hard to imagine that childhood photos would cause hardship to your sister’s friend. They can also do treatment for that. send them!
However, be more cautious about love letters. If your sister wanted them to come back, it sounds like she would have said so. Her lover may be married or may be unavailable during their correspondence. He still can be! If you are willing to return the letters, first contact the person by phone to ask if he or she wants them back.
A friend has been eating gluten-free for years. She doesn’t have celiac disease, but she feels better without gluten in her diet. I always accommodate when I host a meal or event. But when I’m not the host—and a hostess feels like bringing a batch of novelty cupcakes as a gift, for example—she clearly gets annoyed when she learns that my gifts aren’t gluten-free. What are my responsibilities to him when I am not the host?
As a guest, you are clearly not responsible for the dietary restrictions of other guests. And “visible annoyance” sounds like a strong reaction to a hostess gift to someone else. Still, if you’re reading your friend correctly, wouldn’t it be better to soothe his hurt feelings than to explain your obligations to him?
Say, “I thought cupcakes were cute. But they didn’t have a gluten-free option. Sorry!” It costs you almost nothing. And it’s good to be a sensitive friend.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to Philip Galanes on Facebook, at SocialQ@nytimes.com or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.