Dear Amy: Recently I was alarmed to see on Facebook that friends had attended a huge gathering where people were not following COVID safety guidelines.
I have been meeting with friends (only outside) this summer, but as the weather cools, I am wondering if it will be safe to have a few people over for, say, a game night.
Is there a polite way to ask potential invitees if they have been in any large, unmasked groups recently or should I just give up on a social life until a vaccine is available?
Amy says: It is wisest to stay up to date regarding CDC and your state and local guidelines, which frequently change.
Your question, however, is about how to ask people a very simple, common sense and straightforward question: "Have you been to any gatherings where you or others did not follow COVID safety guidelines and where you might possibly have been exposed to the virus?"
Given that people might qualify lying about this as a "social" or "little white lie," and given the quite irrational but human tendency to bend or dismiss the truth to avoid embarrassment, I don't think you can rationally expect a truthful answer from someone who violated medical recommendations.
In short, the person foolish enough to attend such an event and not voluntarily quarantine and be tested afterward is also more likely to lie about it later.
In my opinion, it is not wise to host an inside in-person game night or other gathering until you have the "all clear." Parlor games, especially, usually involve sitting close together, touching and sharing cards or game pieces, and excited exclamations.
We who live with long winters naturally pine for ways to socialize through the chill, but our patience will be rewarded if we continue to do everything possible to stop the spread of this pandemic.
Look into playing games online with these friends. Classics like Monopoly, Risk and Clue are all available to play online — and games such as Scrabble and Words With Friends are fun to play virtually. Trivia games might be the best bet — they translate well into the Zoom age.
Wedding guest veto
Dear Amy: My fiancé wants to invite "James," his old college buddy, to our wedding. James and I had a silly drunken fling prior to my relationship with my fiancé (he knows about this and we have come to terms with it).
Still, I regret my fling with James. What's more, I think he is a mean-spirited meddler. Years ago, he referred to me as "sloppy seconds" to my fiancé.
Is it unreasonable for me to say that he can't come to the wedding? I don't want to act like a Bridezilla.
Amy says: You and your fiancé each have the right to invite people from your individual list to your wedding. As obnoxious as "James" might be, my own perspective is that simply not liking someone on your fiancé's list does not justify eliminating him altogether. However, that "sloppy seconds" comment does put James in the invitation "red zone."
You and your fiancé should talk about this. Why does he want to include James? Why don't you? Would his presence ruin it for you? Would his absence ruin it in some way for your fiancé?
Having a point of view about who attends your wedding does not make you a "Bridezilla." (Let's reserve that term for brides who throw tantrums over trivial matters.)
If you conclude that you must eliminate James from your fiancé's list, perhaps there is someone your fiancé would like to veto from yours.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.