Every time something doesn't go right for my roommate, he whines and dives headlong into self-pity. I want to tell him to buck up and put on his big-boy pants. I'm so tired of listening to his poor-me stories I'm ready to jump out of the window! What should I do about this crybaby?
Buy yourself a bottle of aspirin and a pair of noise-canceling headphones. As soon as your roommate starts bemoaning his pathetic lot in life, pop a few pills and turn up the tunes. That's the shortest route to dealing with his weep-fest. If you want to really help him, you may have to have a sit-down — which might result in a few hurt feelings. But in the end, your honest words could spark his inner man. Just tell him self-pity is usually a result of not believing you're in control of situations. If he goes on thinking life just happens to people — regardless of their actions or reactions — then he will continue this pattern of hopeless despair. He needs to take responsibility for his life and, yes, also go shopping for big-boy pants.
I'm 42 and I share a home with my mother. We pay equally for rent, but people still think it's weird I live with my mom. We get along fairly well and I can trust she won't steal from me or bring over weirdos. Why do people have such a hard time accepting people can live with their moms or dads as roommates?
The common belief is that after a certain age, the bird willingly (and in most cases, eagerly) flies away from the nest to pursue its path. Staying in mama bird's nest is something most people have a hard time understanding, because kids spend 18 years longing to get away from it. There's nothing wrong with your living arrangement — it's not as if you're mooching off mom. The fact that you have a healthy, mature relationship and get along well enough to cohabitate says a lot about you and should not be poorly judged.
— Natalie Campisi Tarpley is a Tampa freelance writer. Got a roommate dilemma? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.