Do you find that your social circle shrinks after quitting alcohol? It might help to feel better

Q: Drinking alcohol gives me horrible migraines, so I quit completely. The problem: I used to bond with my friends at fancy cocktail bars and happy hours. I don’t make my drinking their problem, and I told them that I would still like to accompany them. (They know I quit drinking because of migraines, not a substance abuse problem.) Yet they often shut me out when they go to bars or alcohol-centered activities. I feel rejected. Some of them even ask, “Are your migraines really that bad?” How should I handle this? -Dry Friend

A: I think you might be underestimating how much we love seeing our friends mirror (and affirm) our choices, whether it’s drinking alcohol or live-tweeting “Euphoria.” drink, they may see your abstention as a silent form of judgment.

I understand that being excluded from group activities hurts. You seem to have been clear with your friends, however, about wanting to join them during cocktail hour, so I wouldn’t push here. (Breaking your way onto guest lists is one way to take the fun out of the holidays.) And that depressing question about how bad your migraines are is suggests that some of your friends aren’t really respecting your choice.

This might be hard advice to follow, but I would stay back and meet the group when it naturally happened. Arrange to see members you feel close to one-on-one or in small groups; it will keep you in touch. And try to be open to new friends who aren’t so alcohol-focused.

Who spoke of a plan?
Q: I am a 24 year old artist. I paint and take photos. I love what I do so much that I don’t even mind taking shifts as a bartender to make ends meet. I paid for my art studies and I am totally independent. What do I tell my dad when he asks me, “What if your career doesn’t go the way you planned?” – Sarah

A: You should say, “I know, it could be even better!” You seem like a responsible young woman whose work brings you joy. I want to congratulate you. Keep going as long as you love what you’re doing and you can. cover your bills.

You are also quite young, so try to stay open to growth and opportunities. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that you change anything – only that you don’t close yourself off from possibilities because of this friction with your father.

Accessibility issues
Q: Last weekend I took my 8 year old daughter to a very large museum. Although my daughter was in good health, I knew she would be tired from walking through the galleries, so I decided to borrow a wheelchair from the locker room for her. (I had recently used one at the airport for my mother, who is elderly and frail.) We had a great time looking at the art and returned the wheelchair a few hours later. My question: Was it OK for us to use it? We didn’t need the wheelchair, but it made our visit more comfortable and enjoyable. – Mum

A: I think it was a mistake to borrow a wheelchair for a child with no mobility issues. Still, accessibility issues are sometimes judgment calls, so let me explain my reasoning, and then you can decide for yourself.

Some people with disabilities need the features of accessible buildings: wheelchair ramps, for example, or accessible toilet stalls. But these conveniences are not reserved for them. Assuming no one else is using them, anyone can go up the ramp or take the bigger cabin.

Likewise, it seems reasonable that your mother, whom you describe as “old and frail,” needs a wheelchair at an airport. But your daughter didn’t need it to move around the museum. The reality is this: your museum project was too ambitious for a young child.

It would have been better to plan a shorter visit, more appropriate to his age and stamina. If another person who needed a wheelchair tried to borrow one while you had it, that person may have had to wait. You may also have sent your daughter the unintended message that the needs of people with disabilities are less important than your convenience.

I know you’re grieving, but…
Q: A friend of mine passed away recently. I made a donation to the hospice caring for her and confirmed that her family had been notified of my donation. A month later, I still have not received an acknowledgment from them. When my parents died, I immediately wrote notes to people who donated on their behalf. Am I expecting too much? – A.

A: A month is a short time for people who have just lost a wife, mother, sister or daughter. Frankly, I’m not sure it was necessary for you to overcome your grief to recognize the gifts so quickly. I hope your friend’s family will eventually thank you for your donation. But I recommend patience and empathy here – even if the thanks never come. This family is in mourning; subtleties can slip through the cracks.