DEAR NATALIE: My roommate and I are really close. We share a lot of our clothes and accessories. We love being together and have become great friends over the past three years. But she did something that crossed the line and I’m not sure how to handle it. I came home the other day and found my vibrator in the dishwasher. I was mortified — to say the least — and then when I asked her how it found its way into a machine where we clean the dishes, she shrugged and said she couldn’t find hers so she used mine. She was annoyed that I was annoyed. I was like, “You realize this is really gross, right?” She told me to “stop shaming her.” I explained that I don’t care if she has a vibrator, but she shouldn’t use mine. It’s not sanitary and that is really too intimate. That was a week ago and we have hardly spoken. Things are tense in our house and I’m not sure how to smooth this over. I love her and don’t want this to wreck our friendship, but don’t you think she crossed a line? What do I do to get our friendship back on track? -BAD VIBRATIONS
DEAR BAD VIBRATIONS: Oh she didn’t just cross the line — she jumped right over it. You handled it better than a lot of people would have. While it is great to be close and to share clothes and accessories, it is a whole other thing to use someone else’s vibrator without their knowledge. Explain to her that you care about this friendship and you didn’t intend to embarrass her but that she caught you completely off guard. Moving forward, your bedroom is off limits unless you invite her in. The same goes for her personal space. We learn as little kids that we shouldn’t take things without asking. This sentiment should hold true as we get older. Some people have a hard time with boundaries, but setting them both protects you and her as well as your relationship. There is nothing wrong with defining personal spaces. Approach her in the spirit of love. And if you have to lock the top drawer of your nightstand to be safe — do what you gotta do.
DEAR NATALIE: Every time I go out to dinner with my friend, she always “forgets” her wallet. Then she tells me that she will Venmo me the money, and she never does. I feel awkward asking, but it is getting ridiculous. She doesn't even seem to care that me or our friends float her. I don’t know what her problem is, she has a good job and definitely makes more money than me. So how do I deal with this moving forward? —MONEY PROBLEMS
DEAR MONEY PROBLEMS: The next time she does this — and from the email you sent me it seems like this is a pattern of behavior — ask her to Venmo you right in front of you. If she can’t do that, explain to her that you don’t have much in your checking and can’t possibly cover for her this time. She’ll get the hint. It’s one thing to forget your wallet once. It’s another thing to take advantage of the kindness of your friends and just “forget” to pay them back. In fact, if she asks you to cover her, tell her that you would but you are still waiting on the other money that she owes you. Could she just Venmo it all at once? That might throw her for a loop, but sometimes you need to put people in their place. It isn’t cool to use your friends, and it isn’t OK for you to be her doormat. Put your foot down. And if that means you don’t do dinner as often, so be it.
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