Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: Some of my friends have been trying to get me to participate in virtual cocktail parties with them. It just seems silly to me, sitting around at home looking at my computer screen and drinking remotely with a group of people. Yuck! My best friend keeps urging me to try it. She reminded me that we used to have regular get-togethers with our friend group, and this will be as close as we can get to that. I see her point, but I don’t think it will be fun. It seems contrived to me. How can I back out of this without hurting her feelings? -- Grouchy

DEAR GROUCHY: I often talk about the need to strike a balance between technology and humanity. Here is a time when I actually love the fact that we can see each other and enjoy each other’s company from a distance through technology. I strongly disagree with you on this one. You should try it. You can start by attending a pre-planned party with friends who are going to get together. You can set yourself up with food and drink, or just be present and sit and talk with them. Choose to have an open mind and cherish being "together" as it exists today.

Like any other time, if you decide to do it again, you should choose your friend group well. Curate a party that features an eclectic group of people you would like to engage, and put your all into it. I think you will be surprisingly pleased.

DEAR HARRIETTE: A woman I know and care about very much just lost her father to COVID-19. I am so sorry for her. He lived in a nursing home, so she couldn’t even see him for the past month when he was doing poorly. He was an elderly man, but his daughter is young and vital and very popular. So many people want to go to his funeral to honor his life, but they can’t. The law says that only 10 people can gather. This is so depressing. How can we support our friend during this time of loss? Under any other circumstances, there would have been hundreds of loved ones in attendance. -- Mourning During COVID-19

DEAR MOURNING DURING COVID-19: Loss during this period is extremely tough because it is impossible to grieve in the ways that we once did. Hugging, crying, touching, physically consoling -- they cannot happen at this time. It is true that the survivors are the ones who need that consolation. Your popular friend would surely appreciate having more than 10 people present at her father’s homegoing.

There is a chance that you can join remotely. Reach out to your friend and tell her that you and many other friends want to be there for her. Ask her if there is a chance, through the funeral parlor, that the service can be live-streamed. This is a popular option right now so that loved ones can complete the bond of love and release for a life well-lived. If this is possible, spread the word to friends. If not, invite friends to send notes and greeting cards that express your sadness about her father’s passing.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)