The Arizona Republic

Pandemic stress changes sister

- – Irked in Idaho Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at Dear Abby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Dear Abby: My sister and I are best friends. She has always been caring, empathetic and passionate about helping others. Now, however, COVID has turned her into a real piece of work.

Since the pandemic began, she has become increasing­ly selfish. She interrupts other people’s conversati­ons to talk about herself and complains nonstop about how COVID has ruined her life, as if the rest of us weren’t experienci­ng this too.

She shouts hysterical­ly at me when the Wi-Fi stops working and refuses to volunteer for the most basic household tasks. At first I tried to be patient because I understand it’s a reaction to an incredibly stressful time in her life. However, after 10 monster months of this, I’m at my wits’ end.

We live together, go to college together and share the same friends. How can I tolerate her self-centeredne­ss until the pandemic is finally over? And what if this new version of her never goes away?

Dear Irked: I wonder if the friends you share with your sister are having the same reaction as you are to being interrupte­d and having their conversati­ons hijacked. If the answer is yes, a group interventi­on may jolt her back to reality and help her recognize how obnoxious it is.

As to the rest of your complaints about her behavior, the next time she comes screaming to you about the Wi-Fi failing, tell her you’ll be glad to help IF she agrees to pull her share of the workload around the apartment. It goes without saying that when you can make other living arrangemen­ts – perhaps in the fall – you find a roommate more compatible than your sister. If you do, your relationsh­ip with her may improve because you will be exposed to her less often.

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