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Ask Amy: How do I tell my co-workers to stop talking about parties I’m not invited to?

Dear Amy: I am a receptionist.

I love my job, and my co-workers are great.

There is, however, one thing that bugs me.

My desk is in a common area where the mail bins are, and co-workers often chat around my desk.

Some of them talk about parties they are going to, which I am not invited to.

I don’t expect to be invited to all the parties. Some of them are “team-building parties,” so of course I would not be invited to other teams’ gatherings.

We sometimes all go out to lunch and have the occasional get-together after work, which is nice.

But with the holiday season, they’re talking about a party I am not invited to, which is definitely a “friends-from-work” party, not a team-building party.

I think it is rude to talk about parties in front of people who are not invited.

How do I “politely” tell them to stop talking about these gatherings in front of me? It’s like I am invisible to them!

— Uninvited

Uninvited: I agree that it is rude to discuss a private gathering in front of someone who has not been invited. I think this is a basic rule that most of us learned in elementary school but that we seem to forget later in life.

Colleagues shouldn’t talk about work at an office party, and they shouldn’t talk about parties at work.

Friendships form at work, and work friends have every right to enjoy their relationships and to get together outside of the office.

Discussing these gatherings in front of others is a familiar complaint to supervisors and HR departments. If you have a supervisor you can talk to, you might ask them to gently remind your colleagues that your workstation is public and that they shouldn’t entertain private conversations there.

Depending on how well you know these co-workers, you could also handle this yourself — in a lighthearted way, by saying a version of: “Helllooooo, I'm sitting right here.”

Dear Amy: My 6-year-old granddaughter hasn’t been vaccinated because the parents have opposing views, even though they are both fully vaccinated.

I have calmly voiced my opinion by explaining why she needs to be vaccinated.

I say “calmly,” but internally I’m upset and extremely worried.

Are there any strategies to get the one parent to agree to vaccinate the child, or should I stay out of it?

— Worried Gram

Gram: A couple of months ago, I published a heartbreaking account of a previous pandemic, which outlined the terrible risks of transmission of some viruses, as well as the miracle of vaccination. I’m reprinting it here:

“My mother died in 1957 in the Asian flu pandemic. I caught the virus at school (I was in kindergarten) and passed it to her.

“We lived in Aurora, Ohio.

“My teacher didn’t know there was at least one student in her classroom who passed it on to me, and perhaps other students. No one was masked.

“I remember being quite sick, and I remember my shock and sadness as a 5-year-old on the morning that my mother died.

“Catching that illness at school created deadly havoc in our home and has haunted me my whole life.

“I’m 69 years old now, and the loss of my mother certainly changed the lives of my sister and our father.

“This coronavirus pandemic has brought back many memories, and I am a strong advocate of masks and vaccines.

“Please continue to emphasize masks and vaccines in your column.

“— The Rev. Kay Palmer Marsh.”

It’s hard to understand why these parents would choose protection for themselves but not their child.

The good news for you — and your family — is that you and the child’s parents are vaccinated (and hopefully boosted) and are thus more protected, should your granddaughter carry the virus home.

However, you have already made your case to them.

Stay calm, try not to worry, and if they bring this up, urge them to follow the advice of their child’s pediatrician and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[Find the latest coronavirus guidance from the CDC at]

Dear Amy: Responding to the heartbreaking letter from “Gutted in Illinois,” who had just gone through an extremely traumatic birth, only to have her mother-in-law refuse to help, you didn’t suggest that her husband should step up.

I would encourage anyone else in this situation to call on family members/husband to assist with confrontations AND housework!

— Been There

Been There: “Gutted” didn’t mention a husband, and I was left wondering whether he was on the scene.

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson, distributed by Tribune Content Agency