Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Be Gentle With Amorous Roommate

DEAR HARRIETTE: My roommate and I are both gay, but we've been friends for a while. I'm worried now that he has romantic feelings for me. He sometimes does things that make me uncomfortable, and he has said things that could be interpreted as romantic. How do I handle this situation? --Misinterpreted, Brooklyn, N.Y.

DEAR MISINTERPRETED: You need to be direct with your roommate and kind at the same time. If you are absolutely not interested in a romantic relationship, you need to make that clear without being too harsh. You don't want to devastate your roommate, but you need to be clear so that there is no wiggle room when it comes to interpretation.

Tell your roommate that you are concerned about some of the cues he has been sending you. Point out specific things he has said or done and how they have made you feel. Ask if he is thinking romantically about you. Do your best to get your roommate to talk to you about his feelings.

If he really does like you, the two of you will need to address that. You can tell him that you are not interested in him in that way. Then add immediately that you appreciate his friendship and hope that he appreciates yours.

You may want to go so far as to explain that it's important to you that your relationship as roommates remains simply that, or else it could compromise the comfort and emotional safety you now enjoy as friends.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I spent a lot of time with a guy over the summer as friends. There's a good chance he may have had romantic feelings toward me. I had feelings for him as well, but we never talked about it.

I thought we'd still be friends once school started, but we barely talk, and our last conversation was really awkward. Should I give up on being friends at all or try to talk to him about it? -- Missing Him, Philadelphia

DEAR MISSING HIM: Too bad neither of you acted on your interest in each other. It's not too late, though, for you to clarify things at the very least.

Definitely seek this guy out and tell him you want to talk. When you are together, start by telling him that you miss him. Remind him of how much fun you two had over the summer. Admit that you started to have feelings for him. Tell him that you very much want to rekindle your friendship and that the distance that seems to have grown between you makes you sad. Be upfront about your desire to remain close to him.

Ask if he feels the same way. If not, ask what happened to turn him off.