Dear Dockter Duval,
I have a roommate who has all but kissed off the rest of the semester because he is doing poorly in all of his classes. He's basically planning to party all during finals week because he figures that he may as well go out with a bang. I don't want to cancel out all of his fun, but I'm a little concerned that it's going to be hard to get work done around the apartment. Should I warn him in advance or wait and see if he acts up?
Dear Nervous Student,
If I were you, I would tell him early and tell him often if necessary. Hopefully, your roommate will realize that even though he doesn't care about his classes, it's not fair to deny you the right to study peacefully in your own apartment. The reason that I say you should set the precedent early is that it will be hard to step in if things act up. For example, if your roommate unknowingly invites tons of people over the night before you have a test, it will be harder to step in and ask them to keep it down than to ask your roommate in advance to be as respectful as possible at all times.
Communication should be upfront and direct between roommates and not only should he know where you stand, but hopefully he will show you the respect you deserve as a roommate.
Dear Dockter Duval,
One of my best friends is a girl that I've known for a couple of years. The other day when we were hanging out at the movies, she leaned over and kissed me on the lips, but acted as if it was nothing out of the ordinary even though we've always been nothing more than friends. She more or less said that she was just expressing how much she appreciated my friendship, and nothing more. I almost want to believe her but I can't help but feel as though her actions were a little out of place. Is this normal?
Baffled by the Kiss
Dear Baffled by the Kiss,
Uh, no. This behavior definitely is not normal. Kissing someone that is just a friend on the lips is pretty strange.
It's the same as kissing your parents on the lips - I mean, things could be worse (like having your grandfather grab your butt), but it's still way out of place.
Are you sure that she's really just a friend, in both her mind, and in yours? Perhaps she thinks that you've been sending signals desiring something other than just a friendship, in which case it would still be a pretty forthright gesture, albeit, more understandable. Is she European? I mean, she might have been going for the cheek kiss with atrocious aim, but that isn't very likely.
If things persist and she does more out-of-character things that fudge the line between friends, you probably will have to ask her to stop.
It's likely that if she does continue acting in this over-friendly manner that she'll push the limits until you say something. When you do, she likely will overreact, feel humiliated, apologize 150 times and act as though you don't want any sort of bodily contact. Yes, you will inherit a temporary indestructible body bubble until she gets over her embarrassment of being called out for her turbo friendly actions. It will probably take some time to find the healthy balance again of personal space but that's pretty much the normal cycle of lopsided friendships.