DEAR HARRIETTE: My roommate told me I can't bring any strangers home. This lecture came after my boyfriend and I broke up. While I was first offended that she thought I would cope with my breakup by flinging myself at any available man, I am now offended that she thinks she has the right to dictate what happens in the space we share -- and we both pay for. I would never tell her that her boyfriend isn’t allowed over! I understand strangers are different, but I think it’s time for us to have a conversation about boundaries.
How can I tell her the assumptions about me are offensive while maintaining that I can do whatever I want? I have a quick temper, and she is known for her attitude. -- Not My Boss, Detroit
DEAR NOT MY BOSS: You and your roommate need a serious sit-down. Since both of you can inflame quickly, attempt a calm, neutral approach. Ask your roommate why she told you that you cannot bring strangers home. Give her space to explain herself. Then let her know that you found her “rule” offensive for many reasons. Outline those reasons. Speak about your personal values and your rights as a renter. Have clear objectives for this meeting that should include coming to an agreement before it ends. Of course, you should both be mindful of who gets to come into your home, but how you determine guidelines has to be mutual. If you both share the rent, you both have a voice.