Times Standard (Eureka)
Sequestered friend sends email polemics
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 just 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? — Exhausted
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.