DEAR HARRIETTE: For the past few years, I have spent time with a small group of people in our sleepy summer community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the group was really small for health reasons. I like most people, but one woman rubs me the wrong way. .
I went to this woman a few weeks ago, and it was like deja vu. She was acting so obnoxious and rude. I felt singled out, even though I know that’s her nature. She and her husband have a lot of money and they like to make sure people remember it. She will pour drinks for some and allocate less or none at all for others. Sounds pretty juvenile, and I guess it is, but right now it’s nerve-wracking. Why invite me to your house if you want to regulate what I eat and drink?
A friend told me to suck it; that’s how she is. If I want to drink good wine and hang out in fancy surroundings, I should ignore her when she dismisses me. I’m not sure I want to do this. Would I be wrong to step out of the tight circle, at least as far as she is concerned? — Closed circle
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DEAR CLOSED CIRCLE: No one is forcing you to spend time with someone who disrespects you. It seems that you, and perhaps others, tolerate this woman’s bad manners because you enjoy the setting, good wine, and good food. If you can keep accepting this compromise, go for it. But your tolerance for his behavior has clearly diminished.
The short answer is that you don’t have to keep showing up at social time with her and her husband if they don’t treat you well. You can decline these invitations. When you attend social gatherings not hosted by this couple where they display their unique, nauseating charm, you can turn on your heels and walk away from them and enjoy the company of the other members of the group.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine recently met another friend of mine. Looks like they’re going to start dating. Their meeting did not concern me, but I am happy for them. The thing is, I know my friend has a sexually transmitted disease. She told me years ago and swore secrecy. Now that she’s about to go out with my other friend, I feel like it’s my responsibility to tell her. I would feel horrible if someone hid such information from me. But I also know it’s none of my business. What should I do? — Keep a secret
DEAR KEEP A SECRET: It’s not up to you to reveal your friend’s state of health. What you can do is talk to him directly and remind him that you know. Ask her if she intends to tell him. Encourage her to be honest.