COVID-19: You Do You And I’ll Do Me

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Dear Joel,

Recently an old friend of mine traveled out of state to attend a family reunion. On social media she shared pictures of the week-long celebration showing large gatherings with no social-distancing or mask wearing. When she arrived home, she resumed her daily activities without any quarantine or COVID-19 testing. Throughout this Pandemic, she has maintained a much less ‘concerned’ attitude than I, but up until now it has never been an issue for me. I am very disappointed in her behavior and concerned that she may be putting others at risk. I have alluded to my feelings but have not expressed them outright. We’ve known each other since high school, and have agreed and disagreed on many things, but this issue has me rethinking our relationship. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle my feelings?


  This is an emotional issue, and as we have seen, everyone is dealing with COVID-19 in their own way. There is a wide range of ‘acceptable’ behavior, and the only one we can control is our own. You’ve acknowledged the difference in your attitudes, so your friend’s behavior should not come as a surprise. If she is following the rules of the establishments she frequents, there is nothing you can do to stop her from going out. You’ll have to weigh the importance of expressing your feelings, which may come across as judgement, with her anticipated reaction. My suggestion is to avoid in-person contact until you feel safe, and during that time think long and hard if you really want your ‘social-distancing’ to become permanent.

  Thank you for writing.

  Joel Markel

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