Dear Abby: Friendship derailed over pandemic-era preferences

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: A dear friend of many years is currently not speaking to me. She recently moved from California to Denver and had invited me to visit. We agreed on the dates, and I took time off work and booked the flights. Less than two weeks before my arrival, she abruptly canceled the visit, expressing no regrets or concern for whether I would be able to get a refund from the airline.

She indicated that because I was not comfortable with the recently lifted mask mandates and other COVID precautions in her state and prefer to continue to avoid indoor dining, bars, etc., that she wanted to “postpone for a few months,” when we might be able to enjoy more activities. When I expressed hurt feelings at being disinvited, she became angry and ceased communication. Is this friendship over? How should I proceed?

Jeanne Phillips

— Risk-Averse in the West

Dear Risk-Averse: I am not sure why your friend became angry and canceled your visit, unless she had planned activities that would take place in restaurants, theaters, etc. I am also puzzled that she should end a friendship of many years over it. Because this is recent, give her a little more time to cool off. Then extend an olive branch and see if she has put this unfortunate episode in perspective.

Dear Abby: I have a former colleague whose company I enjoyed while I was working with him. He thought highly of my work ethic, and we worked well together. Because of this, he has asked me to be a professional reference for him sporadically over the years, which I always happily agreed to. The problem is we haven’t worked together in six years.

Because it has been so long, I no longer feel as though I’m a good reference for him. I also worry that recruiters will wonder why I was chosen after all this time. He reaches out to me only for reference requests, so it’s not as though I’m damaging a long-term friendship, but I still care about him and his feelings. How can I politely decline his future requests?

— Reluctant Reference

Dear Reluctant: In recent years, the amount of information that can be shared about former employees and colleagues is quite restricted. I believe it’s limited to the dates you worked together. However, because you no longer wish to be a reference, you will have to bite the bullet and be honest about your feelings and the reason why.

Dear Abby: The wife of a married couple my wife and I are friends with revealed a few years ago that before she met her husband, she had an affair that produced a child she immediately placed for adoption. This was 40 years ago. It surprised us all, including her husband.

I believe she should have told her husband before they married. My wife says because it was before she met him, it was none of his business. Well, now it is his business because, through DNA ancestry sites, this “child” is now in his life, which has become an embarrassment for him. What do you think?

— His Business in the East

Dear His Business: I think you should mind your own beeswax and stay resolutely OUT of his family business!

Contact Dear Abby at