I decided to move in with three close friends from residence, but over the course of the year, I’ve realized that we really shouldn’t have been roommates. I still value my friendships with all three girls, but I only want to live with one of them in the upcoming year. That being said, I’m not sure if she still wants to keep living with the other two, although I do know that they get on her nerves as well. Should I just stick it out, and try to get her to find a new place with me, or start from scratch with completely new roommates?
– Ready for a change
Dear “Ready for a change,”
Roommate problems can have long-term repercussions which you may have to deal with on a daily basis. If you want to move out and find a new place, I suggest that you follow your instincts rather than act out of the fear of ruining a friendship. These girls are clearly important to you, but you’ve got to consider what you’re willing to put up with. A lease is a full 12 months, meaning you’ll have to live another uncomfortable year with the three of them should you decide to stay.
My advice for you, is first, to communicate. Talk it out with the girl that you want to live with. You may be nervous about her reaction, but it’s worth it to be honest with her—wanting to explore other living arrangements doesn’t make you a bad person! Just open up a light conversation with her to see where she stands. If you two happen to be on the same page, then great! You can then bring it up with the other two girls. However, if she had no intentions of moving out, then don’t waste time including her in your plans for next year. You can find other potential roommates, or start house hunting on McGill Classifieds, housing groups on Facebook, and Craigslist.
Next, you need to be proactive. The biggest problem right now is that you are racing with time! The faster you decide your living plans for next year, the faster you can find new roommates and begin the apartment hunt.
Don’t rush your decision, but don’t waste time guessing what people are thinking, either—just ask. The sooner you decide, the easier you’ll make it for your currrent roommates anyway. They can either find a new roommate, or search for a new house of their own. Good luck; I hope you find something that’s the right fit for you!
I’m worried a good friend of mine may be suffering from depression, or even contemplating suicide. I’m afraid to confront them about it directly, but I feel like I need to do or say something. What should I do?
Dear “Worried Friend,”
Since you mentioned that you are good friends with this person, have you tried talking to him or her about it? Chances are if this friend trusts you enough and is the type of person that is willing to share, he or she may tell you how they’re feeling and why. If, however, this individual is more reserved with their emotions, then obviously don’t start your conversation with, “You look horrible, do you want to talk about it?”
Some people may feel like you are trying to force them into telling you why they’re feeling down. Instead, try to indirectly figure out what the issue could be, by spending more time together and observing their behavior in different settings. With many coffee shops around campus, you could go out on a Saturday afternoon and just hang out. This way, you might be able to figure out if anything big just happened in their life, such as the loss of a family member, a breakup, or bad grades. Through casual hangouts, you can better gauge if a serious problem exists, or if you were just getting worried over nothing.
However, if you do realize that something really is wrong, and your friend is reluctant to open up about it, you can bring up the McGill Nightline. Whether as a direct suggestion that they might like to talk to someone anonymously, or mentioned casually in passing, make sure they know that is a resource available to students (McGill Nightline: 514-398-MAIN  6 p.m.-3 a.m., during the school year.) Or, at the end of the day, if they tell you that they’ve been feeling very depressed lately but don’t want to talk about it, you can give them the number to the McGill Counseling Service as well. They offer counseling appointments, group therapy sessions, and emergency crisis drop-in hours. The drop-in hours go from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday in the Brown Student Services Building, and counseling sessions are by appointment.
The bottom line is to pay more attention to this friend. If you receive any weird texts or phone calls from them, seek help immediately. After all, it’s better to go through a false alarm than to ignore your instincts and let the situation deteriorate.
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