Dear Harlan,

My roommate and I are already having problems, and we haven’t even moved in yet. We’ve contacted each other via Facebook, but we haven’t really talked much. We only messaged each other to discuss who is bringing what. She offered that someone could bring a TV and the other could bring a fridge and microwave. Since I figured I would have more use for the fridge, I offered to bring it, and the microwave, too. She said she would bring the TV, and even though I knew I wouldn’t use a TV, I didn’t think much of it. Now she’s contacted me, asking if we can split the cost of cable. I don’t want to pay for cable, because I know I’ll hardly use it. I watch TV shows online, and even then I hope to spend most of my time studying or spending time getting to know people outside my dorm, not spending all my time watching TV. I don’t know what to tell her because we agreed she would bring a TV, and what’s the point of a TV without cable? I didn’t really think about this when we agreed to it. I don’t know how to tell her that I won’t pay for it when she probably has already bought the TV and is expecting that we have cable in our room.


Dear Unassertive,

Your poor roommate asked you two questions, and you’re freaking out. Tell her you’re on a budget and didn’t budget for cable. Then, suggest Apple TV or the new Google Chrome Stick that lets you stream YouTube, Netflix and other services from your tablets, smartphone and computer to your TV.

I know this answer is too hard to see because you’re so worried about upsetting her and not getting along. In fact, you’re so worked up that you’ve managed to create a problem where there isn’t one. Let me fix it. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. You don’t even need to be friends. You just have to get along. That means being honest, being authentic and telling her that you want to get along. Start by telling her the truth.


Dear Harlan,

I recently broke up with my girlfriend of 21/2 years. I felt the relationship slipping and decided to end it before I committed myself to something I wasn’t sure of. I thought about trying to work on the relationship, but during the period of letting her cool off (because she was understandably angry), she began dating someone close to me. I’ve talked to her about it and told her that I want her back, but she thinks I’m saying that just because she’s dating again. I betrayed her trust by breaking up with her, but how can I show her that I mean what I say when she won’t let me get close again?

Fighting for Trust

Dear Fighting,

Sounds like you’re trying to get her back because you’re jealous and want her back. Other than missing her and being jealous, what’s changed? She needs to know. Better yet, you need to know. If you don’t know, then don’t expect her to run back to you just to get hurt again. I know it’s painful, but you broke up with her for a good reason. What’s your good reason for getting her back? Until you can express it, she’s not coming back.

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