Dear Amy: We have had a small group of close-knit friends for several years who we essentially do everything with.

All of our kids play together, even though they go to different schools.

Our kids don't have the option of online learning, and are attending in-person school. Theirs are home. Because of this, the families have been staying apart.

It's been emotionally hard on us. We miss them and can't help but feel left out since we can't join any of their activities.

In October, when I included a couple sentences in a group e-mail about our son playing soccer, I received a very angry reply.

I was told how much hearing this news upset my friend (to the point of crying), because they have kept their kids home without any outside activities. She said she didn't want to hear anything about my kids' activities.

I apologized, but since then she has ghosted me.

Are we being socially irresponsible? We made the decision on soccer because all the kids in my son's class were signed up. We decided the risk of increased exposure was fairly low.

But, regardless of what our comfort level is with exposure risk for our own family, is it irresponsible to take any risks in the context of the overall social impact of possibly spreading this disease?

I think that is ultimately why my friend is so mad. We try to minimize exposure outside the home and we wear masks everywhere, but obviously we haven't been isolating to the same degree as some.

I have cried more this year than in all my other years combined.

Amy says: You seem to believe that your friend is judging you as being socially irresponsible for having your son engage in activities that his school has deemed safe.

I don't interpret her reaction the same way. She is sequestered — quarantined, basically — with her children. This is such a tender time, surely you can imagine that your relative privileges make her sad about her family's situation.

It reminds me of the time I was feeling particularly trapped and lonesome (due to work, personal obligations and financial limits). Someone I really love kept posting photos of their wonderful extended trip to the Amalfi Coast.

In that case, I could "hide" these postings until I was feeling less sensitive and more expansive. In the case of a group e-mail, the recipient can't excise the lines that make her so envious and sad.

You have been crying, I've been crying, we've all been crying.

And now let us try to acknowledge one another's tenderness the way we feel our own and respond with compassion.

I suggest that you keep in touch with your friend. Don't pick at this sore spot, instead try to re-establish your previous friendly contact. She and the kids might enjoy receiving cards and letters sent through the mail.

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