Dear Amy, I made friends with a colleague, “Marilee”, two years ago. We have built a great friendship. I recently invited another girl, “Trina”, to our group of friends. Trina doesn’t work with us, but we have other common interests.
However, lately Marilee and Trina seem to have connected and are gradually excluding me from things – tubing, brunch, beach trips, etc.
It makes me feel excluded and hurt. The only time they want to hang out with me now is to take part in my photography hobby using my expensive equipment. I have the feeling that they are taking advantage of this and actually don̵
They also don’t try to hide it from me, since I see them on social media posts almost every day.
At the risk of becoming more alienated, I did not confront them.
Are they trying to be hurtful or are they really not aware of how their actions could be perceived?
Exited in Lancaster, PA
Dear exuberant: “The rule of three” refers to the symmetry inherent in a trio. This appears in art, music, design, and even in comedy (listen to a classic rim shot – it’s a three!). The triangle conveys a kind of pleasant and complex balance – and this balance seems to work – except when it comes to human relationships. Then an equilateral triangle becomes isosceles, often with a person who is farthest away.
This challenging human dynamic occurs in every phase of life – from childhood to old age.
I very much doubt that you did something wrong. You should accept that these two women seem to have made an exclusive friendship.
It doesn’t matter if they try to be hurtful; You are hurtful. Even if they’re not deliberately malicious, they just don’t care how you feel.
You have the choice of swallowing your own honest reaction and accepting your new status as an equipment provider, or being honest about how you feel about it. It’s brave to admit your own vulnerability, and I think you should understand that you can’t change it or dissuade your friendship from one another.
They say, “I understand that you both have a good friendship, but I have to be honest with you – I feel really excluded lately.”
Dear Amy, I am very concerned about your response to “Anxious”, which was concerned with meeting people in stores who were not wearing proper masks.
You wrote: “No, I don’t think you should call another customer because he was wearing a mask incorrectly (because it affects him and his body).”
That is not true! The way other people wear their masks affects us all!
Annoyed and worried
Dear trouble: Definitely. Many readers contacted me to correct my statement. I agree: wearing a mask protects others. Absolutely. Although a mask appears to offer some protection to the person wearing it, I wear my mask for you and you wear your mask for me.
My goal in formulating my answer was to prevent confrontation between people about wearing masks. People who either don’t wear masks at all or don’t wear the masks properly seem to take the problem very personally, as the mask is attached to their own face (or not).
I’m not sure what’s so scary about putting a thin piece of cloth over your nose and mouth to protect others (and yourself) from a potentially dangerous virus, but I think it’s wise to do so right now Giving people something a big berth – yes, to avoid confrontation and, more importantly, to avoid transmission.
However, if you are patronizing a company where employees are not wearing the masks properly, this is a problem that the manager should definitely be aware of.
Dear Amy, “Captive Couple” described itself as doctors treating COVID patients. They were on the fence about whether to attend a big family wedding in another state.
Thank you for reacting like this! As doctors, you should know that you – and others – are at considerable risk. As you noted, if doctors are unsure, what should we do ?!
Dear Vulnerable: After writing this answer, I read a report about a family birthday gathering that resulted in a tragic COVID transmission to most of the group. Devastating.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.)