Devil’s advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

It’s my first year at college and I am a commuter. I like all of my classes, but I haven’t really made any new friends yet. I wasn’t the most popular girl in high school and the few friends that I did have are going to college in different states. I know a few people in my classes, but it seems like they all already have their own circle of friends. I asked one of my “class associates” if they wanted to do something this weekend and they said they were busy. Am I doing something wrong? How do I make new friends?

Signed,
Friendless Francine

Dear Friendless,

It’s tough making friends in a new environment like college, especially if you are a commuter student. You are on the right track though. Keep talking to people in class and being friendly. Ask someone else to do something sometime and if they turn you down, try asking for a rain check. Also, join some clubs or organizations that center around what you like to do. If you’re Irish, then join the Gaelic Society. If you are a sleepwalker, then join Sleepwalkers Anonymous. Those types of things are automatic circles of friends.
The most important aspect of winning friends, though, is making sure you bring something to the table. You need to make people want to hang out with you. Some examples of things you can bring to the table are humor, creativity, insight, spontaneity, even just a nice smile if you’ve got it. If you aren’t sure how to go about being funny or spontaneous or anything else, then find someone who is funny, observe him or her, and try to replicate him. Eventually you will figure out the tricks of the trade and become funny or spontaneous yourself. It takes a lot of practice, but you’ll get it.
If everything else fails, then just learn how to play guitar. Everyone loves a guitar player. You can just sit outside playing guitar and friends will flock to you by the thousands. For real.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I have a problem with my suitemate. We don’t really talk much and we are pretty much complete opposites. She goes to parties and drinks and I am a little more studious. That’s not the problem though. The thing is, she likes to use the toilet in our bathroom as a trashcan even though there is a trashcan in there, too. You wouldn’t believe the things she puts in there. Candy wrappers, paper towels, even pizza crusts… It was fine until the other day. She finished eating an apple in the common room and then proceeded to go into the bathroom. I hear plop and a flush. Then she leaves for class. I went into the bathroom to look and the apple was still there floating in the toilet! I had to reach in and get it myself to throw out. I’m too shy and afraid to talk to her about it. What should I do?

Signed,
Bob Infer Apples

Dear Bobby,

You would be surprised how many people write to me with this exact same problem. Well, that’s a lie. But, still, I am sure you are not the only person with this problem. There are many ways you can deal with this situation. I will give you the details of a few of these here, but I am sure that if you use your imagination, you can figure out some more solutions on your own.
Since she is using the toilet as a trashcan, one obvious solution is for you to start using the trashcan as a toilet. It is simple, yet effective.
All kidding aside, you really just need to force yourself to talk to her. I know you said you are shy, but, seriously, you need to grow up. If you politely explain to her that toilets are not for trash, then she will probably stop. If she doesn’t stop after you talk to her, then just go to your RD and he or she will solve the problem.