DEAR HARRIETTE: I commute to work every day by train. I take the same train each morning and have gotten into a nice routine. Last week, an old friend started a new job, and she gets on the train at the same station. I like her and would even consider her one of my closest friends, but I can't stand her in the morning. She is one of those people who needs to fill silence, while I enjoy my peaceful train rides. I can’t afford to take a later train, but I do not want to continue riding the train with her. Any advice on what I can do here? -- No Longer a Solo Commuter, Westchester, New York
DEAR NO LONGER A SOLO COMMUTER: You have to draw a line with your friend. Speak up for yourself. Tell your friend that you have a long-established routine that you do not want to break. You like to be quiet in the mornings, and you realize she likes to talk. Tell her that you must reserve your quiet time in the morning, which means that you are sorry, but you are unable to hang out with her on the ride to work. Offer to spend time with her on the way home if you happen to leave at the same time, but put your foot down about reserving time for yourself.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)