Dear Abby: Friend insulted when told not to enter during my quarantine

‘You mean you won’t let me in the house?,’ asks the woman when the 87-year-old asks her to stay on the porch.

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DEAR ABBY: I am self-quarantined for a number of reasons because of the virus. I am 87 and live alone. My daughter is very concerned that I not become ill because her husband is in treatment for cancer. Obviously, she doesn’t want to have to come care for me and endanger her husband’s already reduced immunity.

A friend called to ask how I am doing. I told her I was self-quarantined, and she asked if I needed anything. I told her I didn’t have eggs, but it was no big deal. She said she would bring me some.

I sent her a text and asked her to leave them on the porch, and she said, “You mean you won’t let me in the house?” She said she isn’t sick and can’t understand why I’m doing this. I tried to explain that you can be contagious without symptoms, but she was still insulted.

I thought everyone in the world knew the basics of quarantine, but apparently she’s still taking it personally. She hasn’t called for three days, and I’m heartsick. Advice? — SHUT IN IN ARIZONA

DEAR SHUT IN: In spite of the fact that the federal, state and local governments are releasing information on a daily basis about the importance of social distancing and self-quarantining, there is still confusion in the minds of some of the public. Your friend is a perfect example of this. You are doing what you’re doing for the right reason, and I hope you will continue, not only for your son-in-law’s sake, but also for your own.

DEAR ABBY: My friend “Kate” has had a lot of trauma in her life, and she feels things very deeply. She has experienced assault, the suicide of a close friend and the death of several family members; discovered she can’t have children, and managed to escape an abusive relationship, all in the last five years or so.

Kate does all the things people are supposed to do when coping with grief and is doing very well. The problem is me. I find it hard to be around her because of all the drama.

Intellectually, I understand none of this is Kate’s fault. She isn’t being attention-seeking or deliberately causing drama. But I find myself becoming impatient with her ongoing discussion of feelings. I’m not someone who feels deeply or is easily traumatized. Bad things happen, I get over it and move on.

How can I learn to be the patient, caring friend she needs? — TRYING TO BE A BETTER FRIEND

DEAR TRYING: Quit being so hard on yourself. You are and have been a good friend. It’s important that you not allow Kate’s burdens to “sink” you. The two of you are very different people, and you should explain that to her as you have to me. If her trauma and drama become more than you can healthfully absorb, step back and tell her you will talk with her later, tomorrow or when it is convenient for you both, which will allow you time to come up for air.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married five years, and I just discovered that my husband still has several text messages from his late wife. He thinks I shouldn’t be upset about it. Am I wrong for asking him to delete them? — FEELING BETRAYED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR FEELING BETRAYED: Yes, you are! Do not compete with a deceased spouse. Hanging on to mementos is a way many people grieve. If the texts hold significance for him, let him have them. You’re his wife now, and that’s what matters.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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