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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eliana’s Advice: Common ground with girls, roommates and parents

Published: November 22, 2013
Section: Opinions

Dear Eliana,
There is this girl who I think is really cute; however I haven’t really talked to her much. I’ve only really spoken to her twice. Once, I sort of awkwardly introduced myself, and the second time I just said, “Hi.” I would like to be better friends with her, but I don’t really know how to start conversations with her to get the ball rolling.
-Forever Alone

Dear Forever Alone,
I’m sure you will not be alone forever. Just remember that the way to get girls to like you is to buy them expensive things (just kidding, don’t follow that advice). What you should actually do is try to figure out her interests. For example, if she is on the Quidditch team, you can brush up on your Harry Potter and have a conversation with her about that. The best conversations are often about things you have in common, so figure out what those things are. If you are respectful, kind and have some interesting thoughts, you will have little trouble being “friends” with this girl. Once you begin the conversation, the rest will fall into place easily.

Dear Eliana,
My father is divorced and recently found a new girlfriend. I think it is getting more serious, but I feel like my father’s girlfriend is inauthentic. Should I tell this to my father? How do I go about doing that?

Dear Stuck,
It can be very hard to see your parent dating someone else besides your other parent. If you and your father are close, you should be able to talk to him about how you feel. Don’t just go up to him and start listing everything that’s wrong with this woman. Instead, calmly ask him to discuss what he thinks about his relationship, and have a mature discussion about what the future might hold and what your doubts might be. Perhaps your father can address your concerns, so that you are both on the same page about this woman. You just need to make sure you approach this situation carefully so that no one gets hurt.

Dear Eliana,
My parents want me to major in computer science and mathematics. I really love writing and want to major in English and journalism. I have had this conversation with my parents before and they tell me that they are paying for college (although we do get some financial aid and student loans) and so they should have some say in what I am majoring in. They also talk about how I won’t be able to support myself if I major in English. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do?
-No Major

Dear No Major,
Oh, parents. They likely have your best interests at heart, but you also need to be able to make some of your own decisions. First, you need to talk to your parents—have a civilized discussion where you are both able to make arguments for your side. Then, try to reach a compromise. This is Brandeis, so you could either major in everything, or maybe major in English and math or you could major in your English and minor in math, or vice versa. The combinations are endless. You both have valid arguments, and you just need to listen to each other and make it work. I’m sure you’ll be able to work something out.

Dear Eliana,

My roommate is really nice; we get along and have fun. But she likes to get to bed on school nights by 11. This is fine, but she needs to turn off the light to get to sleep. I like to stay up a bit later and finish up some work, because I tend to do my best work at night. I have a desk lamp to use, yet I don’t know if it bothers my roommate when she’s trying to sleep. Whenever I do use my lamp, the morning after, she always has this growl on her face and is upset. And when I ask her about it, she always makes a point about not being able to fall asleep with a light on, using a real snooty tone. How am I supposed to get my work done? I have the right to use my room to study just as much as she can use it to sleep, right?


Dear Conflicted,
It’s very nice of you to try to respect your roommate’s bedtime, but it can also be tricky. You both deserve equal access to your dorm room, and you just need to plan a bit better. First of all, don’t get angry, but do ask your roommate if she can think of any ways that you would be able to do work without disturbing her. You need to have a calm and direct discussion about the problem. Hopefully you can find ways to accommodate one another. Maybe she can start wearing a sleep mask to get the darkness she desires. Or maybe if you’re still working at 11, you can move into the lounge or somewhere else outside of the dorm. Or, if she doesn’t get all the beauty sleep she needs, offer to make her coffee to make up for it. Compromises can fix the situation. If this ordeal turns into an all-out war, maybe get your CA involved to mediate. You are both adults, and you can work something out in a calm manner.

Dear Readers,
If you can’t already tell, this is an advice column, and I’m here to help you with any questions that you might have. If you want more exciting questions, send them in, and I will do my best to answer them. Whether it’s relationships, social problems or just life in general—send them here. I can’t wait to start hearing about everyone’s problems (how often do you hear people say that? Oh yeah, never).
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