We are supposed to be the vulnerable ones, those of us who are living alone. Under stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, our assumed loneliness has presumably deepened. “Ask Polly” advice columnist Heather Havrilesky, who has written so many thoughtful and multifaceted answers to her readers’ questions, tweeted to her 52,900 followers a few days ago:
“If you have good friends who live alone, you need to check in on them often. Set an alarm. They need you.”
I live alone—and I worry about the people who don’t. Maybe they are the ones who need help. They are dealing with the everyday irritation of having other people around all the time. Not to even mention the far more ominous possibilities of being trapped in place with someone who may be abusive.
It is kind and thoughtful to care about how others are faring during the pandemic, whether they live alone or with others. But none of us, myself included, should presume that any one person is doing well or poorly based solely on their living arrangements. We are all individuals.