DEAR HARRIETTE: I moved out of my dorm last year with three weeks left in the semester.
I had a randomly assigned roommate, and our relationship started off well. As the year progressed, she started to bring her two friends into our room every day.
If they had left at a decent time, I would’ve been OK with this as I wasn’t in the room very much; however, they were often in our room until at least midnight. I would then awkwardly have to ask them to leave, which would cause a lot of tension in the air.
Whenever I had people in the room, my roommate would get irritated and ask for them to leave. It seemed as if she was asking me for a courtesy that she never gave me in return.
This was the final straw to me, and I put in the request to move.
How could I have communicated with her better in order to avoid letting the situation escalate to me moving out? Do you think this was the right choice?
— Roommate Drama
DEAR ROOMMATE DRAMA: Learning to live with others and respect boundaries is one of the most difficult tasks in life.
When you are in school — and even afterward if you have a roommate as you start your independent life — you need to establish house rules, boundaries and intentions to ensure that everyone is in alignment. Even then, you will have to reinforce them time and again.
In your situation, it sounds like your roommate bullied you out of your home. That is not OK. I understand why you felt you had to leave, but you also could have lodged a formal complaint with your school about her and asked them to reprimand or move her.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, a close friend of mine came to visit my city, and she complained the entire time. It was a difficult experience, and I’m unsure of how to proceed in our relationship.
To give you a little background, my friend had always wanted to visit my city and experience its unique culture. However, once she arrived, she was quick to complain about everything. She hated the food, the weather and the crowds.
Her complaints became so frequent that it made it challenging for me to enjoy spending time with her. While I tried to offer suggestions to help improve her experience, she still couldn’t seem to enjoy anything.
Do you have any advice on how to approach my friend and talk to her about her behavior? I would love to continue our friendship, but her constant complaining really made me view her in a different light.
— Stop Complaining
DEAR STOP COMPLAINING: Tell your friend you want to have a debrief call with her about her visit. Ask her what she thought about it. Listen carefully and let her complete her thoughts.
Then tell her how you felt, particularly about her constant complaining. Express your disappointment and frustration. See how she responds.
You can forgive her, but you may think twice about inviting her to visit again — at least anytime soon.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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