Opinion | No Need to Take Risks to Prove Friendship

To the Editor:

Re “The Pandemic Shrank Our Social Circles. Let’s Keep It That Way,” by Kate Murphy (Sunday Review, April 25):

It’s undeniable that a year of isolation spurred many of us to think hard about friendship — and to start hitting the “delete” button on our contacts list. Paring down those second- and third-tier acquaintances freed up a lot of mental and emotional space that we can better redirect to those who really matter to us.

But I worry about the implications of the question posed by Dr. William Rawlins: “Who have you taken a risk at a certain point to see because they mean that much to you?”

Yes, we need to work at our friendships to maintain them, but is it fair to gauge a relationship by a willingness to take risks during a pandemic? One person’s reasonable risk is another’s genuine — and legitimate — fear of either getting or spreading a disease. I would hope that in a real friendship, we don’t put demands on others to take risks beyond their comfort level to prove their commitment.

Ann K. Brodsky
Fair Lawn, N.J.

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