Dear Amy: How should I have handled my neighbor having an Easter party, despite a shelter-in-place order in our state?
From my backyard, my husband and I could clearly tell that they had multiple people over.
I emailed the neighbor and asked him to please consider refraining from having guests over, as it’s in violation of the order and increases the risk for COVID in our neighborhood. I asked him at the very minimum to have his guests sit away from our shared property line.
He replied that they are doing their best and that I am violating their privacy by “actively listening in on a private interaction on their property.”
Amy, my son is in an at-risk group. Furthermore, violations of the order are a class C misdemeanor (They know this).
I wrote again to explain my son’s situation and tried to de-escalate the situation, but I got no response.
How should I have handled this? Should I have kept my mouth shut, despite the danger to my child?
Do I need to be uncomfortable every time I’m in my own backyard now? I’m so stressed and upset by this. I have to live adjacent to these people, who obviously only care about themselves. — Quarantine Nagging Nellie
Dear Nellie: You don’t describe your property and how it relates to your neighbor’s property, but — based on my own (non-official) knowledge of how this virus spreads — the risk to you through sharing an outdoor space from a normal neighborly distance would be minimal, if not nonexistent — unless you are walking, running, or biking too closely (or behind) someone outside who is infected and also exercising.
Mind you, each time people leave their homes and mingle with other households, they risk contracting the virus and then carrying it elsewhere — to the people who bag their groceries, interact with at the gas pump, or who carry their mail. And then these people could become infected and pass the virus back to you and others. Cutting down this casual contact is why shelter-in-place rules work to slow the spread of the virus. Your neighbors’ behavior potentially places many other families at risk.
You have expressed yourself to your neighbors. Leave it at that. If your state continues a shelter-in-place rule and they continue to host large gatherings, you could call your town’s tip line to report them.
You should continue to avoid any contact with your neighbors, which, given their attitude, should be fairly easy to do.
Dear Amy: I’m a 30-year-old woman. I started a job about a year ago and it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Despite being challenging, the job has garnered me praise from my bosses. I’m very fulfilled. I don’t expect to “master” the job for another year or so but I’m enjoying the journey. I am also fairly paid.
Unfortunately, my parents are obsessed with when I’ll get promoted. They bring it up constantly and it seems to bother them that I’m happy for now where I am. They make comments like, “don’t settle” and, “you need to be more ambitious.”
One time I bought a nice outfit and they said I should save it for my next job interview. When I said I didn’t plan on interviewing anytime soon, they said I was too complacent.
It’s a back-handed compliment, and very annoying.
It makes me feel like they don’t approve of where I am. I’m not a natural-born leader. For now, I’m quite content.
How can I put the kibosh on this topic? — Complacent
Dear Complacent: You’re 30 years old. Your parents should not be passing judgment on your outfits — or your professional prospects. Certainly, at this moment, when much of the country is out of work, you all should appreciate your luck and steadfastness.
“You’re not ambitious enough,” and “You’re too complacent,” are not back-handed compliments — they are definitive judgments on how you move through the world.
Your emerging adulthood is a transition time for your folks. They might be struggling to let go. Give them a nudge.
You can respond: “Mom, Dad, I love you both. I’m doing great. I’m happy. I’ve got this. Now ... can you do me a favor and step back?”
Dear Amy: “Annoyed” reported that her mother has taken to political diatribes on Facebook many times a day.
I had a parent who also did this. Cutting them off on social media was the smartest thing I’ve done lately. — No Longer Annoyed
Dear No Longer: Not having exposure to the negativity definitely helps.