Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I am planning on living with my longtime friend next year. Our families are close, and he's a great person, but I'm worried. He will sometimes slip and say things that could get me into trouble, although never intentionally.

I have a long-term girlfriend who comes over and sometimes stays until late at night. Normally when this happens, we're just studying together or watching a movie. But I'm worried that my friend might, while talking to his or my parents, mention that she was in the room and get me in trouble. Should I talk to him about it or just hope for the best? -- Shaky Ground, Chicago

DEAR SHAKY GROUND: You did not mention your age, but I assume that you are old enough to live on your own and be trusted to make smart decisions.

Rather than asking your friend to keep quiet about your business, I think you should own your life. Be clear about the decisions you make, and be prepared to stand up for them.

I am unclear why you would "get in trouble" if your parents learned that you entertained a female friend. It sounds as if you want them to believe that you are behaving honorably, which, for your family, means no sexual intimacy. If you are living your life in that way, you have nothing to worry about.

If you think that having your girlfriend over late might give the wrong impression and call your conduct into question, perhaps you should reconsider what time she goes home. The bottom line is that you need to feel comfortable with your decisions and be prepared to stand up for them in front of your parents or anyone else.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I thought my roommate and I had a pretty OK relationship until I saw that he posted something negative about me online, saying he felt sorry for whomever has to live with me next year. I confronted him about it, and it turns out it was something he didn't post. Now he's mad at me. I apologized, but how can I rectify the situation? -- On the Outs, Philadelphia

DEAR ON THE OUTS: Did you find out who did post the negative comments? If the statement appeared on your roommate's social media page, it makes sense that you would think he wrote it.

Ultimately, the way you rectify the situation is to address it directly. Talk to your roommate about what happened. Explain why you got upset that something like that would be stated publicly. Move on to the issue at hand, and ask if he has concerns about being your roommate. Even though he may not have written the comment, he may share the sentiment. And tell him how you feel about being his roommate.