Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My name is Sadie and I am a bridge addict. Specifically online bridge,
which since my beloved husband of forty years died, has become a
form of personal connection as well as a way to fill up the long empty
hours. I found an online site and at the flick of wrist I can be happily
engaged for hours with people who share my interests and with whom
I can chat and hone my brain. But having “friended” so many people,
it is hard to choose whom to play with when. I like the newness of
random “take me to the first available seat” and have no compunction
about leaving a table where people are rude. But in my eagerness to
set up games with people like myself (lonely widows, sigh) I find that I
have overscheduled and my in-person human friends here at home
have been saying they feel neglected. How do I find the happy middle?


Dear Trumped:

Only you can decide what to do with your time. But favoring online
cocooning instead of live humans is a poor choice for a woman who
still sounds cogent and vital. You need to find the happy middle by
being honest not just with your friend but also with yourself.
Are you lonely for friendship or for relationship? Assuming you do not
want to become re-partnered, you can skip a large focus of energy and
attention by not adding dating to the mix. But do not assume others
will not try to date you or set you up. If you just want something to
while away the hours, consider volunteering in an after-school
program, teaching bridge to a younger generation who may not know
the game and love it as you do. There are of course the usual lunches
with friends, social engagements to theater and movies, and
volunteering at your synagogue.


My vote would be to take a class in
something you know nothing about but would like to become a novice
at doing. You will be surprised how quickly your obsessive streak can
shift to a new and engaging activity. Limit your pre-set games to a few
a week, and trust the fates to connect you with new people who will
interest and challenge you. Your job is to show up and leave room for
that to happen.