Not comfortable traveling yet but friend keeps asking.

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    Hi, everyone. I don’t know where I should really start but I’ll do my best to convey my situation. For background, I’m in the United States, which handled the pandemic really badly, and I live in a more conservative area with more anti-masking idiots than where my friend lives. We do both live in the same state though. I’ll call him Bill to make the narrative easier to follow.

    Both Bill and I are in our early 50s. We’ve both been vaccinated fully (both doses, and it’s been maybe 6 to 8 weeks since we each got the second dose in our respective areas). Bill is taking care of his 80-something parents and having a hard time of it because his father is an overbearing jerk. I’ve told Bill he should just leave, but he doesn’t want to leave his mother alone with his father. He has a younger brother who’s employed full-time and lives a couple hundred miles away. So sometimes his younger brother comes for a weekend or 3 or 4 days if Bill’s lucky, and then Bill feels free to leave his parents’ house and get out of there. He and I are old friends.

    Now Bill has had his run-ins with anti-maskers but not to the extent I have. I think all my fears around being in public are a topic for another thread, and I think I will make that thread soon. However, another thing is, Bill can get money from his parents, and he has room and board as part of the caregiving he does. I’m unemployed, and living off a small settlement (another story for another thread there). So far, I’ve managed to keep paying my mortgage and stay current on all my bills. The three economic stimuli have super helped me with paying for groceries so my settlement doesn’t run down quite as quickly.

    So, to the point. Three times so far this year, Bill has asked me if I “want to *go* do something”. No, I really do not. I mean, I would love a change of scenery but I’m not good at figuring out secluded, yet affordable places to go, that aren’t just camping in a tent. I have a compact car, Bill has an SUV, and RVs are very costly to rent where I am. Also, while I’m willing to rough it a bit, I’m not willing to pay $70-$80 for a cabin or glorified tent–something like that should be cheaper, I think. Anyway, last night, Bill and I were texting, and after an hour of text, he asked me if I wanted to do something for the 4th, 5th, 6th.

    Well, I replied calmly, but after we finished the conversation and said good night, I began to feel panicky. This is the third time Bill has asked me this year, and I’m just really angry at his thoughtlessness in asking me to spend money and be jittery.

    Am I overthinking this? Bill is welcome to come stay at my home for those days just so he can get away from his father, and his responsibilities.  Because a couple of weeks ago, the idea was that we would do something the 11th – 15th, because we already knew his brother was planning to come then. But last night, I just found out his brother decided to split that time and break it into two shorter stays: 4th-6th and 10th-14th. So trying to figure out what to do for a major U.S. summer holiday during a pandemic with less than a week’s notice is infuriating to me. I didn’t sleep very well last night because of this. I don’t know if Bill knew this before yesterday, and also it irks me that he didn’t lead with this in last night’s texting.

    Okay, I’ll leave it there, but will be glad to clarify or elaborate as requested. If anybody has read this and is thinking I would benefit from therapy, I AGREE. BUT, I’m on Medicaid, and so far, three professionals this year have not been helpful to me in managing my high stress levels very much. I contacted another therapist I’d seen four years ago, but she wrote back to say she had no availability. So much for that. So I’m in a therapy limbo, I guess. Suggestions for online forums might be useful to me though.

    P.S. Is this a suitable topic for “Emotional Mastery?” If not, let me know. Thanks.


    Dear Kiken:

    Emotional Mastery is fine. I too live in the U.S. and was fully vaccinated in March, two Pfizer shots- it was a wonderful, liberating experience! It took some time after my vaccination, and after the official CDC easing of regulations, for me to finally feel very comfortable being unmasked outdoors and indoors, in stores and such (where the policy allows vaccinated people to be mask-less). At first I was unsure, but it finally dawned on me that indeed (according to competent sources) the vaccines work! Which means that I am protected (until the next booster shots)- so I don’t need the extra protection of a mask, at least, not against Covid.

    Like you, I live in a right wing area of a liberal state and had a run in with an anti-vaccer. I said something pro-Covid vaccines, and she retorted with: “Are you vaccine-shaming me?” – twice or three times, in a loud, threatening voice. I answered: “No, I was not trying to shame you, I was trying to promote vaccination”.

    Regarding Bill, you wrote: “he asked me if I wanted to do something for the 4th, 5th, 6th. Well, I replied calmly”- but did you tell him clearly that you don’t feel  comfortable about going on any kind of vacation, spending money, etc., just as you explained here, on your thread?

    If you did tell him clearly, did you tell him how much it bothers you to be asked again and again?

    Maybe Bill does not understand your position, which you detailed here, and that’s why he keeps asking.


    • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by anita.

    Hi, anita. This post was awaiting moderation for a while, glad it finally cleared.

    No, Bill doesn’t understand my position. I’m surprised because he and I go back over 20 years. The first time he asked me, we had an argument. That was early January. The second time, I responded more calmly, and we discussed it, I thought. I told him I wasn’t ready to get out and mingle, that I wanted to go to cheap and remote destinations. Thing is, I do want to get out of town, I’m tired of my own walls too. Otherwise, I could just say no and be done with it.

    I’ll try to explain this to Bill again, and emphasize that I need more notice.


    Dear Kiken:

    “I do want to get out of town…”- make sure that you are clear about your exact position first, and then communicate to him your exact position in a straightforward way, in a strong but not angry tone of voice (or in a clear, straightforward email, which will give him more time to absorb what you tell him).

    After that, hear/ read what he says. If you give him the opportunity to fully understand your clear position, and then he disregards it.. then you have a serious friendship problem. I hope this is not the case. Let me know.


    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by anita.

    Hi Kiken,

    Sounds super annoying. Time to give Bill the hammer.  “NO” is a complete sentence.

    For some people, if you start explaining, they take that as an “in”, no matter what your history together or how logical your argument is. People want to do what they want to do.

    Try not being annoyed, though. I often find that when I get annoyed at a friend, I’m actually annoyed at myself for wasting my energy and not dropping that hammer in the first place.

    Good luck 🙂


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