Q. I am moving into my freshman dorm for college soon.
I am moving in with two roommates: “K” (who I selected), and “L,” who was assigned to our triple.
K is very extroverted, and L seems visibly shy and quiet.
I was trying to loop L in to some of the discussions about housing, but he kept being overrun by K.
K stated that he hates shy people and that he finds them very annoying.
We haven’t spoken since we met up a month ago, but I’m getting increasingly worried that L and K won’t get along.
Should I text K to ask him to allow L to have his own space?
Should I ignore the situation?
A. You’ve selected as a roommate a person (“K”) who states that he “hates” people who are essentially simply temperamentally different from him. I agree that this raises a red flag concerning your housing, and especially the well-being of your new roommate “L.”
I don’t think you should attempt to intervene in advance, because you don’t actually know how this is going to work out for any of you.
The first days of college are a whirlwind, as everybody flaps and flounders, trying to find their own rhythm and — if they’re lucky — their college tribe.
You are kind and thoughtful to be concerned about this dynamic, and yes, once on campus you should definitely intervene or attempt to mediate as soon as you detect boorish behavior, bullying, or overt exclusion toward “L.”
Your university has a dean of housing, as well as resident advisers on each floor. They are all there to try to make sure each student gets what they need. Do not hesitate to take this issue to these adults immediately if there is a problem.
You and “L” might be best suited to be roommates, while K might be happiest housing with whatever fraternity he can convince to let him join. He might not be mature enough to co-house with either of you.
Q. I was 5-feet-1, but because of bone degeneration I am now 4-feet-11. I have accepted my height, but SO many people think it is funny, and I am the butt of their jokes.
People love to grab a child and have him/her stand next to me to show them that the child is taller than I am.
The most painful event happened last Christmas Eve at church when we were all together as a family.
Early in the service the pastor asked everyone to stand (if they were able) and wish each other peace.
A man in front of us turned around, called me by name, and said, “Stand up! Oh, you ARE standing up!” Last Christmas was the last holiday we shared with our son, who died last year. I keep thinking about this insult (I hear it, or comments like it) all the time, and it always hurts.
Do people go up to overweight people and laugh at them? Bald people?
It looks like people won’t stop their tasteless jokes, so how do I get past it?
S&F (Short and Fed up)
A. I am so sorry for your family’s loss — and also genuinely sorry that you are having these experiences. I completely agree with you that commenting about (and shaming or making fun of) people because of the way their body is constructed is unkind — and NOT funny!
I also think it’s OK for you to be perfectly honest about it, and to say, “Wait a minute. I’m an adult. I don’t really want to be compared to your child.” Or “Do you really think it’s cool to make fun of my height here at church?”
The people who do this will then react with disdain when you call them out. They will accuse you of not having a sense of humor.
Please, do not care about how people react when you respond honestly. That’s you standing tall.
Q. “Chatty Sister” wrote about her brother’s insistence on total silence when studying for the LSAT test for admission to law school.
Your answer was OK, but I would have told this brother that he will need to adjust to studying and concentrating in a noisy environment, both for taking the test, and later for practicing law.
A. Absolutely. Great point. Cutting through (and concentrating through) the noise is an invaluable skill for all sorts of professions.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.