Dear Amy: My wife is a doctor who, at the beginning of the pandemic, needed to be extremely cautious about her exposure to COVID.
We asked our adult daughter, “Sarah,” to limit the circle of people she had personal contact with so we could still have in-person visits with her and our grandchildren, while protecting my wife’s patients.
One day we saw a picture of Sarah on social media having cocktails unmasked and indoors at a mutual friend “Carrie’s” house.
We informed both Sarah and Carrie that Sarah now had to quarantine for two weeks.
We called Carrie to ask her to stop these invitations so that we could see our daughter.
While we were on the phone with Carrie, she texted Sarah to invite her for cocktails that evening (Sarah was sitting next to us while we called)!
My wife later told Carrie how angry we were.
Carrie brushed this off and said my wife was being overly sensitive.
A few weeks later, Carrie’s husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. She promptly informed everyone how important it was that they now isolate.
I have opted to cut contact with Carrie, but my wife says that she will not abandon this friend in a time of need.
Carrie is now on a mission to paint me as the source of friction in her friendship with my wife, and recently criticized me in front of others. My wife did not defend me.
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What should I do?
— Concerned Husband
Dear Concerned: You seem to have reached peak adulthood maintaining the belief that you can control other people, simply by asking — or telling — them what to do.
To recap: You and your wife explained to your adult daughter the very serious health risks created by various choices she might make. As the daughter of a doctor (and a functioning parent) who was alive on the planet during the worst of the pandemic, surely she understood your concerns and the reasons behind them.
Nonetheless, she chose to violate your stated wishes, and then had the audacity to advertise her choice on social media.
In response, you basically sent your daughter to sulk in her room, and then called “Carrie” and told her to stop inviting your daughter to her home, as if these two women were rebellious teenagers, sneaking a smoke behind the dumpster.
Carrie decided to defy you.
And then she decided to rub your nose in it.
Note this: You are in charge of you, with responsibility only for your own relationships.
Your wife is in charge of herself, her patients, and her friendships.
If Carrie puts you down, you should respond proportionally to defend yourself, and then avoid her.
If your wife wants to maintain a friendship with this toxic person, she’ll undoubtedly bear the consequences of that choice down the line. You can then tell her, “I tried to warn you…”
Dear Amy: We have a relative in their mid-20’s who is expected to reveal very soon to family and friends that they have transitioned genders.
We are wondering what is the appropriate thing to say?
We support our relative, and want to continue a positive relationship.
Also, our family member does not realize that some of us in the family know about this transition.
We learned about it because their mother, our sibling, has been in need of her own support through this period.
How can we help our family members?
Thanks for your help in …
— Dealing with Life Changes
Dear Dealing: I think the best way to help your family member is to greet them warmly, make eye contact, and actually express — out loud — a version of this: “We want you to know that we love you, we’re happy for you, and we hope that you will let us know if there are ways we can support you as you continue your journey.”
You could also respond to this family member’s transition by supporting other transgender people through advocacy groups.
Dear Amy: “Hurt Boss” said she wasn’t invited to her employees’ baby showers, despite the fact that she went to great lengths to serve her employees, making her own life miserable.
I saw myself in that letter. I had been doing the exact same thing — taking on all the work just so my employees wouldn’t feel burdened. That stops now!
After reading your response, I decided to adjust my own business model.
Here’s to a better future for both Hurt Boss and myself!
— Overworked No More
Dear Overworked: It’s time for you to clock out!