I’ve read your column daily for years and of late it’s been a great distraction during these trying times.
However, when people write in about various topics I don’t understand why you slip in Covid-19 into virtually every one. Not everyone’s problems are wrapped up with Covid.
Have you ever thought you are causing unnecessary anxiety to your readership? We don’t need it.
Ellie - Thanks for being such a long-time reader, it's truly greatly appreciated.
I'm deeply sorry if the effect of people writing me for advice related to their lives during the current pandemic, and my answering them regarding the problems/issues they raised in those letters, has caused you any unnecessary anxiety.
Of course, it’s true that not everyone's problems that are shared with me, are bound up with Covid.
I've had letters about many other issues that turned out to be of more popular concern than was widely known: Narcissistic relatives has been a frequent topic, for example, prompting many follow-up questions.
So, too, was the repeated discussion by readers of a woman’s belief that her husband was “stolen” by another woman, for an affair.
Also, several columns were reactions about a man who kept secret from his adult daughter his plans to live with his long-distance partner, prompting discussion about whether he was more attached to his daughter than his girlfriend.
However, it’s only natural that many people, when writing about their relationships, do so in the context of their current lives.
They’d been affected for months by lockdown restrictions, then by concerns about opening up.
Many people have been anxious at some level since at least last March. They turned to this column and many other outlets for asking questions to try and ease their worries and find solutions for adapting.
I think when seen that way, it's part of the larger picture of what relationship columnists, political columnists, news columnists, humour columnists, etc. are supposed to be writing about when there's a significant overriding issue affecting all of us…i.e. trying to make sense of what's happening.
Personally, I start my day each morning counting on five superb columnists to inform me and show me the light ahead, the chance for a smile, and the darkness to avoid.
The changes in medical and public health information, including both good and bad news is vital for us to know. The political decisions need to be examined, debated, understood, and sometimes railed against.
Humour lightens our mood which is essential to our mental health.
And any advice I give that can help people either resolve or have new hope regarding their relationship problems is what they want/need for emotional health while living with the virus in our midst.
If the column has sometimes been, as you said, a "great distraction" for you in trying times, then I've done what I set out to do.
I do believe there’s a level of ongoing anxiety in most of us, while our way of life is affected and restricted by a world-wide novel coronavirus for which we do not yet have a vaccine.
The good news, however, is that there are many brilliant scientific minds diligently at work in laboratories across the globe, to find a vaccine and prove it safe for human use.
When that eventually happens - and it must - we’ll still be talking and reading about Covid, but it’ll hopefully be a summary more than an anxious brief.
Many of my friends are from high school. We’re all around 45 now. What upsets me is how a few haven’t changed.
1. One friend still lies.
2. One friend is still competitive, she always has “the best” kids, her house is “perfect,” etc.
3. This other friend is a mean gossip. You can never trust her to keep a secret.
But do I just drop friends of 30 years?
Since this group hasn’t changed, the thing to be most disappointed about is your own hesitation to find new friends whom you can respect as well as trust.
High-school’s an important time for gradually learning to be selective about friends, as some disappoint you.
But staying in the group often took priority. Now, your own values matter more. Talk to your friends individually, see if there’s room for growth. If not, use your own guidelines to seek and grow new friendships.
Tip of the day:
Covid information is, by its nature, anxious-making. Find balance from healthy outdoor time, personal interests, safe socializing.