Should I Bankroll My New, Socially Distant Girlfriend?

Now, eventually, the two of you may decide that a loan (or a gift) is a great solution to her cash crunch. Or you may conclude that it would put an awkward strain on your young relationship. Just take it slowly and talk it through together. Either way, you’ll be building the foundation for a stronger relationship.

Credit…Christoph Niemann

I live on the West Coast, and my extended family lives on the East Coast. My grandmother organized a big Easter lunch on Zoom this year. The problem: I find large family gatherings aggravating in the best of times. But now, trapped indoors, I’m feeling claustrophobic and stressed enough without adding 30 triggering relatives to the equation. I just don’t have the energy for it. Usually, I can say it’s too far to travel. But that excuse is gone with video conferencing. How can I get out of this lunch (which, by the way, starts at 9 a.m. my time)?


I’m going to skip my usual advice, which would begin with a pretty bouquet to the people who’ve known us all our lives. I’m not even going to ask you to pop in on the video lunch for 10 minutes! I respect that you’re feeling tired and fragile now. (Many of us are right there with you.)

Call your grandmother, so she doesn’t worry, and beg off the celebration. Say, “I hope you have a great time, but I can’t make it. Large video conferences overwhelm me.” If she presses, in her zeal to assemble the whole clan, be firm: “I love you. But I can’t do it.”

Let me make one small pitch, though. (A leopard doesn’t change his spots overnight!) If you have individual relatives you feel close to, reach out to them during this time. You may find (or provide) unexpected comfort in your shared history. We all need to take care of ourselves now, while giving as much as we can safely manage.

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