Dear Devil’s Advocate,I live in a triple on campus and sleep on the bottom bunk. After going out on Fridays and Saturdays, I often come home to my roommate passed out on my bed. I’m assuming he can’t make it up there at night for whatever reason. We’re not that close, so I feel a little awkward addressing the situation – I usually just end up sleeping on the couch. How can I fix this?
Dear Irate,Let me get this straight: you find your roommate asleep in your bed every weekend and you feel a little awkward? It sounds to me like you need to be more assertive when it comes to your standards of comfort and respect.
First, calmly tell your roommate that you think he’s crossing boundaries and being inconsiderate (which he is). Second, if his passing out is alcohol-related, tell him you think he should cut back, since no one should be drinking to the point of being unable to navigate his way to his own bed. Third, if the behavior continues, drag his unconscious body onto the floor, leave him there, and enjoy a good night’s rest in your own bed. You really need to stand up for yourself-and start looking forward to the post-college days of having your own room.
Dear Devil’s Advocate,I’m 100% Polish. My parents want me to marry a Catholic Polish boy that’s smart, clean cut, and responsible. But of course I have a crush on a Colombian guy with a slight drinking problem and a nose ring. We’ve kind of been seeing each other for the past few weeks and I’ve avoided bringing him home to mom and dad. I haven’t felt comfortable telling him that my parents won’t approve of him either. How do I break the news to this guy and how should I approach this problem with my parents? I think it’s unfair to put restrictions on who I date.
-Rebel with a Cause
Dear Rebel,Colombian…? Great! Nose ring…? Hot! Slight drinking problem…? Hold everything. There’s a big difference between resisting your parents’ rigid definitions of romantic happiness and choosing someone whose personal habits are in direct conflict with your own best interest. How “slight” is the problem? Does his drinking shape his personality and structure the time you spend together? Deep down, you know the answers to these questions. If his alcohol habits are really different from yours, you’d be wise to keep things simple, casual, and fun. Do you want to commit yourself to someone who doesn’t seem to take life as seriously as you do?
If you think it’s appropriate to keep seeing Mr. Nose Ring, I’d wait until you really believe he’s a permanent part of your life before upsetting your parents. There’s no reason to introduce them if you’re still in a casual relationship. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be for the guy to be subjected to a conflict that is really between you and your parents! At this early stage, he doesn’t need to witness your father’s wrath or your mother’s sobbing. You’re right: it isn’t fair for your parents to dictate who you date. But it is fair for them to want you to make good decisions. Be sure that’s what you’re doing before asking them to accept someone who might not be good for you-and not because of any of his physical or ethnic appearance, but because of his partying lifestyle. If you break your parents’ hearts, make sure it’s for someone who is truly worth it.
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