DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends are beer drinkers. Whenever we hang out, they order rounds and rounds of beers, and I find myself ordering wine on my own. I don’t like beer and don’t want to drink it. They make fun of me a little bit, but not too much. I know it might be easier for everybody if I decided I would drink beer, but I don’t want to. Am I a spoilsport for wanting to stick with my wine? -- Drink of Choice, Boston
DEAR DRINK OF CHOICE: You should not feel intimidated into drinking something that you aren’t interested in drinking. If your beverage of choice is wine, so be it! You just have to be willing to take a little heat for it. So what! Well, that is if you are OK with having what is equivalent to “house wine” when you hang out with them. To have a finer wine experience, you will likely need to go to a wine bar or a restaurant that serves an assortment of good wines. As far as hanging out with your friends, beer and wine go fine together. Make sure they know you know that!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I have not been a very good friend this year. I have been so busy at work and trying to help my kids with homework that I haven’t had time to call my friends, let alone hang out with them. I got a call from one friend the other day, and she reminded me that we haven’t seen each other since last December. I love her and wish I had been more attentive, but here we are. And she isn’t the only one. I used to have a friend group before I had my kids.
The holiday season is busy, but I have a week or so off. It would be nice to see everybody, but I worry that they will be mad at me. Now I feel super isolated. How can I fix this? -- Wanting My Friends for Christmas, St. Louis
DEAR WANTING MY FRIENDS FOR CHRISTMAS: The holiday season is a great excuse for organizing a gathering with friends. Rather than belaboring what you weren’t able to do this year, plan a get-together with the friend group that you share. Be mindful of whom you choose to invite. The group shouldn’t be too large because the goal is to have meaningful interaction with each person. The group should be diverse enough that you don’t have to be the center of attention. Plan out your gathering. Invite everyone to join you for a long-overdue reconnection.
If you can host the event at your home, all the better. You can invite everyone who has children to bring them along, and you can feel comfortable in your space. Otherwise, you can choose a convenient location so that you feel at ease. Trust that it will be great to see your friends. Reality check: You do not have to commit to anything other than enjoying the moment!
(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.)