Week of:
Mar 31, 2017

Helping a friend to eat healthier

Dear Alice,

I have a friend who drinks nothing but Diet Pepsi, eats foods such as top ramen, Triscuits, processed cheese spreads, bbq potato chips, microwaveable dinners, and fast foods. What kind of health problems will she have from this kind of diet? She's always been overweight and her version of exercise is walking to the mailbox. How can I help her change her eating habits?

— In a quandary

How should I help my drunk friend?

Dear Alice,

Two questions on alcohol:

A friend has had a lot to drink, and they are on the verge of collapsing or throwing up, etc. I'm good at the emotional consolation stuff when people get upset, but what about what I should do physically?

Should they lie down, sit upon the floor, sit in a chair? Should they drink water? Should I get them to eat something? Should I take their wrists and make them wave their arms to keep blood rushing? Should I get them to walk? Should they be outside in the fresh air, or in the warmth? Where should I be, sitting side by side with them, sitting on the floor with my chest to their back?

Secondly, if I'm also drunk and I think that the atmosphere around me is getting aggressive, how can I accelerate sobering up to retain the role of a coordinator and get people sorted out?

Thanks if you can help.

What to do about flaky friends?

Dear Alice,

I have a few "friends" that are real flakes. I've known them for years and years, but they blow me off so easily. I've tried a lot of different tactics, but nothing seems to stop the problem. For example: This guy that I have known since I was born and I recently started college at the same place. We live three blocks away from each other. I have spent a good amount of time at his house and he has come to mine (just friends), so I know he is comfortable spending time with me. He has a tendency to text me with a basic "hey I'll be coming over tonight" or "You want to come by for dinner" and then without warning, he will no show. What's going on with this? I don't know what to do.

How to talk about ableism, without losing friends?

Dear Alice,

I have an invisible disability and I'm really getting into disabilities activism. Even in liberal circles ablism is still pretty accepted and this upsets me. However, when I try to educate people around me, it sometimes goes awry. I had one friend get upset when I called her out for using the word "retard." Another got upset when I pointed out that her Facebook post of inspirational people with disabilities (that just showed people with disabilities doing normal things) was a little offensive and tried to tell her about "inspiration porn." I get that using the word "retard" is normal as is "inspiration porn." I just don't think it should be.

I know my friends are caring, socially conscious people. I expect people to be a little upset, but ultimately I would also expect them respect the fact that it's really not OK to objectify people with disabilities in the way that inspiration porn and the use of words like "retard" do. What I want to know is how do I point out that people are expressing a harmful social bias, without having them get so upset that they write me off as an over sensitive concern troll?

Sincerely,

Nothing about us without us