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Ask Amy: Vacationing at friends’ home means no time to unwind and relax

Ask Amy: Vacationing at friends’ home means no time to unwind and relax

Dear Amy: My husband and I have wonderful friends: a husband and wife, and their 20-year-old daughter.

They live on a gorgeous island, and several times each year, we vacation together in each other’s homes. These visits usually last 7 to 10 days, and during this time, we shop, talk, and eat meals together. We always have a lovely time.

The problem is, I often feel the need each day to withdraw and recharge my batteries. After a full day of being social, I crave some privacy. I don’t mind my husband’s company, but I find that too much of a good thing is, well, too much.

When the visits occur in my home, it’s not too bad for me. I can retire to my room, or read a book, and I usually can have time on my own.

When we visit them, however, I feel as though they are trying too hard to dazzle me. They schedule a variety of activities, and I frequently feel obligated to participate.

I have told our friends that, going forward, I really would not mind taking a room in a hotel, or renting a private home during our visits, and sleeping there instead. I did make it seem as though I was suggesting doing so for their convenience, as I could not find the words to express my issue without sounding rude. I do love these people dearly, but I no longer want to endure feeling drained when I know it is not necessary.

Please help.

— Seeking Friendly Solitude

Dear Seeking Solitude: I have a theory that the experience of the lengthy pandemic awakened in many the need — or desire — for more solitude.

These frequent visits with your friends are lengthy and sound like a lot of fun, but I do think it’s not only acceptable, but advisable, for you to be honest about your own needs. (Wouldn’t you accept this from your own guests? Of course you would!)

If your need to recharge would best be served by staying nearby and planning outings and meals with your hosts, then — you should do that. But be honest about your reasons.

Some people have a daily yoga practice. Others meditate at the same time each day. You should tell your hosts, “I have an inescapable need to be alone for some time each afternoon in order to recharge my batteries. I hope it’s OK with you if I schedule my alone-time for late afternoons. I don’t want to interrupt the flow, but I’ll just quietly slip away, and I want to make sure you understand my reasons.”

Dear Amy: My husband wanted to help our great nieces and nephews get a good start, and so each year we have given these young adults $15,000.

I still do this even though after my husband’s death I have not seen them or received any acknowledgment.

I’m thinking about stopping, and wonder if I’m being petty to consider this.

— Great Aunt Betty

Dear Betty: If your husband’s goal was to help this generation of family members get a good start, then you should assume that your generous annual gift to them has done just that.

Are you obligated to continue this practice for the rest of your life, especially when you receive absolutely no encouragement or acknowledgment from the recipients?


You should sit down with your accountant/financial adviser and review ways to put these funds toward a cause that reflects your own interests and values. There are tax implications for giving/not giving this money, so you should make sure to be fully informed.

Dear Amy: “Happy Drunk” detailed his excessive daily alcohol use and his desire to quit.

He should know that if he goes to hospital for routine surgery or an emergency matter, to please tell his physicians that he is a chronic drinker.

I work in healthcare; it’s not unusual to see chronic drinkers who drink a little (or a lot) of alcohol. They can go into withdrawal during a procedure, with potentially fatal results.

If the physician knows their patient is a chronic drinker, they can provide additional precautions to assure that their patient survives the procedure.

— Healthy Healthcare Worker

Dear Healthy: I was moved by this man’s honesty regarding his alcohol use. Many readers have responded with support and helpful suggestions.

Thank you for yours. I assume that some patients withhold vital information because they are embarrassed or don’t think it’s relevant, but it is vital for a medical team to know everything.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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