Our close friends have stated they don’t want the vaccine and don't plan to get vaccinated. Our family (husband and kids) has had our first vaccine dose and will get our second over the next few weeks.
We’ve bubbled with these friends a lot and would like to spend indoor time together post lockdown.
Is it appropriate to discuss their vaccine hesitancy and to express how we feel? Is this a "personal" choice that we have to accept even if they choose to spend a huge amount of time with us? How can we feel comfortable having them over to our house, going to their house or dining out with them?
We’re in good health, but we have elderly parents that we visit so this affects more than just us. We also believe we have a societal obligation to vaccinate.
What is the pandemic "etiquette" around vaccine discussions? Is it out of line to ask others if they’re vaccinated, and to discuss why not if they haven't been?
How can we do this without appearing disrespectful? We are feeling awkward and don't want to be the "bad guys" by questioning their decision but it does leave us uncomfortable. Is this a "lose/lose" situation? Are others grappling with this too?
Uncertain and Uncomfortable
We’re talking about a relationship here, not a broad-scale political/legal/philosophical question which we can resolve in this limited space.
The couple want to continue socializing with you. They likely know your family choice to be vaccinated and the added reasons of protecting elderly relatives and social responsibility.
They apparently don’t have similar family or societal concerns. And you’ve all “bubbled” together comfortably while outdoors.
Moving to indoor contact changes the scene.
Though COVID-19 case numbers may be down, dangerous variants appearing in this pandemic (such as “Delta”) are easily transmitted and infectious, especially in closer quarters indoors.
So far, this couple and others grappling with discomfort over vaccines, do have the right to refuse vaccinations.
However, a resurgence of cases with an increase in illnesses, plus overwhelmed hospital ICU capacity and a return to high numbers of deaths, could eventually meet with a different emergency response.
For now, there are only consequences. And you have an equal right to vaccine protection.
Say that you look forward to when the pandemic’s declared over, and you can all go back to socializing indoors and out. But not now.
Reader’ Commentary Regarding the woman seeking a partner without using dating apps (June 4):
“She was clear about her goals/needs and could take this direct approach to introduce herself to eligible potential partners through specific dating sites that aren’t “hook up” sites.
“There are sites that cater to people seeking true, meaningful relationships. She has nothing to lose and much to gain.
“She could also put herself out there by joining volunteer groups and/or walking/hobby groups.”
Reader #2 – “I met the true love of my life online. We got engaged quickly and married 21 years ago, still extraordinarily happy. I never would’ve met her without the internet.
“The internet allows openness about your needs/strengths/wants, and helps others screen themselves in or out.
“So many online daters worry about "selling" themselves to attract interest. People seeking meaningful relationships do much better when clear about who they are and what they want. This letter-writer is mature and knows herself.
“She'll never have better odds of finding her desired partner than through the internet (maybe finding a coach to help her succeed).”
FEEDBACK Regarding the father concerned about his post-university son’s boredom, anger and hopelessness (June 3):
Reader – “The father can send his son contact information for Kids Help Phone or another service to assist with his mental health issues (in addition to therapy as you mentioned).
“This offers the son an option to speak to someone either by phone, text or email.
“The father should regularly check-in with his son to see how he's coping but not overdo it or his son might lash out or shut down.
“Letting your child know you love them (as does his family and friends) and are available to help or just listen, is critical so they don't feel completely alone in their personal struggle.”
Ellie - Parents need to be watchful while supportive and recognize when professional help is needed, even if they have to go on their own to gain more understanding.
Tip of the day:
Friends who disagree on vaccinations should avoid close contact during the threat of COVID-19 and variant infections.