A.: I agree that you always have a choice as to how you can deal with whatever comes your way. Even in the worst circumstances, it is possible to find the positive. That said, it can be incredibly difficult to remain upbeat when you are participating in a disastrous situation. Scapegoating your friend may be a bit extreme.
Instead, try talking to him again after some time has passed. Admit that the event was a mess and add that his behavior made it harder for you to manage. Tell him that you wished he had been able to enjoy time with you and your other friends and colleagues or make the best of it. If you find yourself in a similar situation with him where he starts nonstop complaining, walk away. Get out of earshot so you can keep your cool.
Q.: I used to have cable TV, but my husband and I canceled it last year. We were spending a fortune on all these channels and not paying our other bills. Plus, it was making us couch potatoes. We feel good about our choice, but just the other day we were talking to some friends who thought we were crazy to be disconnected. I felt like they were judging us about it. They have deep pockets, and I guess it's no big deal to them that they have cable and everything else. How can we get our friends to understand our position? – Disconnected, Racine, Wis.
A.: Honestly, it doesn't matter what your friends think. Believe it or not, many people do not have cable TV or satellite TV or other kinds of technology – for a host of reasons. Whether the choice is based on economics or lifestyle, not everyone is as engaged with technology as others. You do not need to feel ashamed. Instead, embrace your choices. Be confident in them. You have to make choices that are smart for you. The same is true for your friends. By the way, even people with deep pockets make choices similar to yours. Additionally, if you want to watch cable channels on occasion, chances are you can find your show of choice online. If you don't have a computer, you can watch at the library.