Dear Amy: Due to a health condition, an acquaintance completely sequestered herself during the pandemic, and has remained so for almost three years now.
I think it’s messing with her mind, as she is getting further “out there.”
On Thanksgiving, I was joyful that we could finally spend time in our home with two other family members. But that evening I got a long email from her about how she can no longer honor Thanksgiving now that she is aware of how the Indians were treated, that it’s a bogus holiday, and she hopes I will join her in boycotting it going forward.
Right there, she ruined what had been a joyful day.
I was angry. I am angry.
I try to be as woke as the next person but believe that we can celebrate and be thankful as Americans on a day set aside specifically for this purpose without turning it into a “thing.”
I’m tired of her religious, political (even though we are on the same side) and now holiday emails about things that she feels very strongly about, where she expects (even demands) that I feel the same way.
Why must people insist on ruining life’s little joys?
She is a good person with many redeeming qualities, but I have had enough. I’m sure she is lonely and feels isolated by the pandemic.
What can I say to her?
Dear Exhausted: If merely learning someone else’s views ruins your holiday, then you should re-examine your holiday.
Your friend’s views about Thanksgiving aren’t particularly “out there,” but are the result of a culture-wide reassessment of public monuments and the backstory of some holidays. Many Americans are grappling with these issues.
There is no question that the global pandemic has completely altered the way many of us live. The illness itself, the trauma of loss, the enforced isolation, the risk to those with underlying health problems, and now the fear of further illness has inspired many people to withdraw.
Years of anxiety have affected mental health. Isolation has inspired people to connect and share their views on social media or via email.
You have the ability and the right to push back and express how you feel about her demand that you must think the way she thinks.
You could ask your friend to keep in touch, but not to send you polemics. Or you could assign emails from her to a special folder, where you can read them during times when you won’t be triggered by the views they contain.
If you believe she is lonely and you would like to try to help, you could be more proactive in terms of your own contact with her.
Dear Amy: Your question from “Anguished Aunt” got my attention.
This aunt had discovered an unknown niece through DNA testing. The aunt’s brother was unaware that he had fathered this daughter, 40 years ago.
Well, my niece found out that she has a cousin. They reached out to each other, and then to me.
I had dated this young man’s mom for a short while 34 years ago. When I found out she was engaged, we separated.
The mother never told anyone that I had fathered her child.
I told my new-found son that we could have as much — or as little — a relationship as he wanted.
He and I now communicate often and see each other a few times each year.
I have two granddaughters and a daughter-in-law who are a wonderful addition to our family. My wife and daughters love them.
We live in Minnesota; he doesn’t, but it turns out that he is a big Viking and Twins fan! Funny how that goes.
I hope this aunt chooses to keep the relationship going.
Dear Grateful: There is so much uncertainty contained in these connections. I appreciate your open attitude and the very happy outcome.
Dear Amy: I really hated your response to “Looking for Love,” the older man who had a companionable relationship with his wife but was frustrated by the lack of a sexual relationship.
There are many reasons women turn away from sex, and some of these are physical.
Your response totally ignored the wife’s perspective.
Dear Disappointed: I generally try to answer the question posed by the person who wrote to me. Their perspective, while biased, is all I have to go on.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.