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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eliana’s Advice 12/6/13: Finding ways to waste time and save friendships

Published: December 6, 2013
Section: Opinions

Dear Eliana,

When I went home for the Thanksgiving break, I went to get my haircut from the hairdresser I’ve used since as long as I can remember. I was really discouraged to completely loathe the haircut she gave me. My sideburns were left uneven, she missed some spots shaving on the back of my neck, and I feel like a complete idiot walking around with this haircut. I would go ahead and look for a new hairdresser the next time I need a trim, but she is a very close family friend and I see her all the time. I worry it might be awkward if I just suddenly stop seeing her for my usual haircut, and I have to avoid conversation at every party and event at which I see her.


Dear Ashamed,

It could just be that uneven sideburns and half-shaved necks are the new style for this coming year. But if not, you have several options in this situation. First, you could give your hairdresser the benefit of the doubt and assume that since your haircuts have been fine in the past, she was just having an off day. You could try again and see what happens. Another option is to just get your hair cut in Waltham, and tell your old hairdresser that it’s just more convenient than going home every time you want your hair cut. Or, you could be honest and say something like, “Hey, this haircut was not your best. I might try a new hairdresser, but that does not change how I feel about you as a person/friend.” You should not have to avoid people because of a bad haircut.


Dear Eliana,
I have this friend who I feel like I get along with really well. Unfortunately he has been depressed lately and I feel like every time I spend time with him, I feel like I am trying to make him feel better and acting as a therapist. It feels more like work than being a friend and having fun. What can I do to either help him better or return things to the way they are?
-Not a Psychologist

Dear Not a Psychologist,

It is a very stressful time of year, and that can take a toll on people. Your friend could be very overwhelmed and needs someone to talk to. You don’t have to be his therapist, but it’s nice to have someone listen to you every so often. Maybe he just needs you to take the lead to lighten the mood. Tell a joke, and try to get him involved with something other than his problems. If you think your friend might actually be depressed, and it seems serious, you should refer him to a real psychologist or counselor who has professional experience. You never know if it could be more serious than it looks or could develop into a bigger problem.


Dear Eliana,

Looking at the finals schedule, I see that my only two commitments occur a full week after my last class. I don’t know how to best spend my time during that week. I don’t think I need to study too much for these two tests, because they only cover a third of the semester. So I thought I could go home, which is about four hours away, and relax a bit before finals. Is that the most prudent decision? I don’t know if I will be able to focus entirely on studying while at home, but I think I might die of boredom if I stay at school for a whole week with nothing to do but study.

-Bored to Death

Dear Bored to Death,

That does seem like an unfortunate schedule. But what do you mean you might die of boredom if you stay at school? This is Brandeis, where the party never stops. You could go fishing in Massell Pond, you could sample all the doughnuts at Dunkin’ Donuts, you could play hide and seek in the library. The options are endless! But, if none of that sounds fun to you and you feel like driving for eight hours instead, then that’s fine too. It would at least give you something to do. If you don’t want to make the long drive, you could try to find a friend who lives closer, and also has a similar exam schedule and just hang out for the week. The worst that will happen is you’ll stay on campus, study a bit more than necessary, and sleep a lot (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). You need to do what you think is best for yourself.


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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