Dear Prudence

Help! Accommodating My Unvaccinated Friend Has Become an Exhausting Chore.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. Taking so much out of me: One of my very close friends recently moved to the city where I live. We both discussed wanting to start a weekly hangout, very casual, such as alternating making dinner for each other, sometimes just watching TV on the couch, sometimes including our husbands and sometimes not. I was so excited to have her in town.

When she moved back, though, I found out she wasn’t vaccinated. I’m high-risk and work with other high-risk people, many of whom are unable to get vaccinated. I don’t feel like it’s smart to be in each other’s houses given my risk and my job. Now our weekly hangouts are way more taxing on me since I refuse to be inside with her. Yes, sometimes I like going on walks or meeting for lunch, but I don’t have it in me to do this every week. Our hangouts were supposed to be rejuvenating and relaxing after a long week of work, but now they feel like even MORE work for me. Not to mention, working with high-risk people who are unable, but desperately want to be vaccinated gives me little sympathy for those who choose not to vaccinate themselves because they “probably wouldn’t even get that sick.” How can I explain that I just can’t do a weekly hangout with things the way they are?

A: You can just tell the truth! It’s not rude to prioritize your schedule and preference over those of a friend—especially a friend who has created this situation herself by refusing to get vaccinated.

Try something like this: “I love spending time with you, but when we planned our weekly hangouts, I assumed you would be vaccinated and we’d be able to relax at home. The outdoor stuff we’re doing is good because it makes me more comfortable when it comes to COVID, but it’s also less rejuvenating, and I’m realizing I need more down time. Can we move our meetups to every other week/once a month/Zoom?”

Classic Prudie

Q. Bisexual or messed up? I am a 28-year-old man who has always identified as straight. Last year, I split from my long-term girlfriend, “Eva,” after realizing she was abusive. My best friend, “John,” helped me get out of this awful relationship, drove me to the hospital, and gave me a place to stay when Eva literally set fire to my apartment.

I have known John for two years, but there was an instant connection between us and we quickly became very close. John is an out gay man and I have good reason to think he has feelings for me but hasn’t acted on them because he believes I’m straight. The thing is, I’m not sure if I am, because I keep thinking about how much I want to date John.