Ask Amy

Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 10:45pm

DEAR AMY: I moved to a new city six months ago and signed a lease to share a place with someone I knew in college.

For the first few months, we had a good relationship. Then, unexpectedly, she announced that she wanted to move out in two weeks, a move that would have stuck me with the full rent if I couldn't find a new roommate.

I live on a small academic stipend, so this was an awful situation.

For two weeks, I scrambled to find someone new to live with.

Worse, the reasons my roommate gave me for wanting to leave didn't make much sense and made me feel insecure in my home.

Then, as abruptly as she had told me she was moving out, my roommate told me she had decided to stay.

I accepted this because I had been unable to find anyone to take her place.

She has gone back to being friendly to me and expecting me to do roommate activities, including cooking dinner and socializing together.

I no longer wish to be friends with her because of her behavior, but I am pleasant for the sake of a harmonious living situation.

Our lease is up this summer, and, of course, I will be moving out.

How do I end this relationship without hard feelings? I am a conflict-averse person. I believe her behavior is the result of immaturity and emotional problems. I have no desire to fight with her.

I also do not want to socialize with her after we no longer live together.

I am getting married soon and do not want to invite her to the wedding. What is my obligation here?

— Done with Trouble

DEAR DONE: You are obligated to do your best to contribute to a peaceful and harmonious home.

You are not obligated to remain friends with someone who jerks you around the way your roommate has done.

The best way to do this is to be cordial, noncommittal and serene. Find a new place, make your plans and look forward to changing your living situation. If she shows an interest in continuing to room with you, you'll have to say, "I'm not comfortable with that idea." Think of it not as a confrontation but an explanation.

Your wedding guest list is between you and your fiancé. Don't invite anyone you wouldn't want to see on your wedding day.


DEAR AMY: I was raised to be helpful and to have good manners. I'm in my mid-20s, and I realize I'm not like other people my age.

When I see someone who may need assistance, I try to offer to help.

A little while back, I saw an elderly man struggling with a heavy door and wanted to approach him.

The problem? It was the door to a public restroom, and I am a woman.

I know that opening the door for him might have been embarrassing to anyone using the facilities — and to me if I inadvertently saw anyone! Still, I feel horrible for looking the other way.

Amy, what should I have done? I feel as if this was a lose-lose situation, and it really bothers me.

— Raised Right

DEAR RAISED: If you had performed this everyday act of kindness, the whole thing would be over by now and you (and others) would have survived any trauma you might have suffered.

Inadvertently seeing someone in the restroom is by its very nature excusable, certainly if it is an unavoidable occurrence brought about by performing a good deed.

As it is, you walked on while someone else struggled. By doing that, you have inadvertently confirmed the unkind stereotypes about your generation.

Next time don't hesitate to help.


DEAR AMY: "Distressed Grandmother" had grandchildren who didn't call her.

As a grandmother of nine grandkids, I have often struggled with this.

I finally decided I needed to join their world. I learned to text, do chats and got on Facebook.

In fact, I let them change my profile pictures and get into my Facebook page to fix things.

They like it, and it gives me tons of contact that I never had before. I even get messages on Facebook telling me how much they miss me.

— Grateful Gram

DEAR GRAM: Good for you! Other interested grandparents can step into the Facebook generation at facebook.com.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles