Drinking alcohol gives me terrible migraines, so I stopped altogether. The problem: I bonded with my friends at chic cocktail bars and happy hours. I don’t make my drinking their problem, and I told them I’d still like to go with them. (They know I stopped drinking because of a migraine, not a drug problem.) Still, they often exclude me from going to bars or alcohol-oriented activities. I feel rejected. Some of them even ask, “Are your migraines really that bad?” How should I handle this?
I think you might be underestimating how much we like to see our friends mirror (and confirm) our choices — whether that’s drinking alcohol or live-tweeting “Euphoria.” No matter how many times you tell them you don’t mind them drinking, they may see your abstinence as a silent form of judgment.
I understand it hurts to be excluded from group activities. However, you seem to have been clear with your friends about wanting to be with them during cocktail hour, so I wouldn’t insist here. (Buying our way into guest lists takes the fun out of parties.) And that belittling question about the severity of your migraines suggests that some of your friends don’t really respect your choice.
This might be hard advice to follow, but I’d sit back and meet the group if it comes naturally. Meet up to see members you bond with one-on-one or in smaller groups; this keeps you in touch. And try to be open to new friends who aren’t so focused on booze.
Who said anything about a plan?
I am a 24 year old artist. I paint and take pictures. I love what I do so much that I don’t even mind taking shifts as a bartender to make ends meet. I paid my way through art school and I am completely self-sufficient. What should I say to my father when he asks, “What if your career doesn’t go the way you planned?”
You should say, “I know, it could turn out 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 do and can cover your bills.
You are also still quite young, so try to be open to growth and opportunities. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that you change anything — just that you don’t close yourself off to possibilities because of this friction with your father.
Last weekend I took my 8 year old daughter to a very large museum. Although my daughter is healthy, I knew she would get tired of walking through the galleries, so I decided to borrow a wheelchair from the coat rack 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 art and returned the wheelchair a few hours later. My question: Was it okay for us to use it? We didn’t need the wheelchair, but it made our visit more comfortable and enjoyable.
I think it was a mistake to borrow a wheelchair for a child with no mobility issues. Still, accessibility issues are sometimes judgmental, so let me guide you through 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 cubicles. But those facilities are not for them. Assuming no one else is using them, anyone can walk up the ramp or take the larger stall.
Likewise, it seems reasonable that your mother, whom you describe as “elderly and frail,” needs a wheelchair at an airport. But your daughter didn’t need one to get through the museum. The reality is this: Your museum plan was too ambitious for a young child.
It would have been better to schedule a shorter visit more suited to her 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 have also sent your daughter the unintended message that the needs of the disabled are less important than your convenience.
I know you’re grieving, but…
A friend of mine recently passed away. I made a donation to the hospice that looked after her and confirmed that her family had been notified of my donation. A month later I still have not received any confirmation from them. When my parents died, I wrote notes to people who immediately donated in their name. Am I expecting too much?
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 process your grief to acknowledge gifts so quickly. I hope your friend’s family finally thanks you for your donation. But I recommend patience and empathy here – even if thanks never come. This family is grieving; niceties can fall through the cracks.
For help with your difficult situation, send an inquiry to SocialQ., to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.