Talk to Tabitha volume one: Retakes, society blues, weird housemates and bad friends
With great power comes great responsibility
Thank you so much to everybody who wrote in! If your question is not included in this round of responses, look out for the next one. Any advice I’ve written comes with the best of intentions, but it’s at readers discretion to follow if it feels right. In this first ever round we’re talking retakes, society blues, weird housemates and bad friends who need to go bye-bye. Hold tight for next time where I’ll answer all your relationship queries.
Retaking a year at uni
“I am having to retake a year at uni. Whilst I know it’s the best thing for me, I am worried about being left behind while all my friends graduate. I’m also worried what people will think of me. – Sarah”
Though a lady never reveals her age, I will say that I was born in the 90’s and I’m only just starting third year now. It is really tough to watch your friends move on without you, but think of how many fun weekends you can have visiting them when you need a break from uni! If they’re moving to new cities that you have your eye on for the future, think of your friends as just scoping out all the cool bars and things to do for you once you get there! In my experience, the age difference at uni doesn’t really change anything; we’re all young adults moving through life at our own pace. Many of my friends have expressed that they miss uni and wish they could go back. Enjoy the time you have left and if anyone cares that your academic timeline doesn’t match their expectations of you, then they shouldn’t be in your life in the first place.
P.S. Listen to ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ by Quindon Tarver
Space invader housemate
“Hi, one girl I live with just does not know what personal space means. She barges into my room constantly without knocking and doesn’t know when to leave. Don’t get me wrong, we’re good friends but sometimes I just feel like I have no privacy! I’m kind of introverted and need time alone, she walks in on me getting changed, one time she even walked in on me with my boyfriend! I’ve tried speaking to her, but she just says “What? That’s what best friends do!” Or something like that. Any advice on how to put more of a boundary in place? Thanks Tabitha x -Troubled Teen”
Why am I almost certain that your housemate is an only child? A frank discussion about boundaries can often take multiple goes around to set firmly, as unfortunately the boundary crosser has no comprehension of the concept. If I were you, I’d do some arts and crafts and make (or buy) a sign for your door that indicates when you need some space and when you’re accepting visitors. If the sign is ignored, you then at least have a more quantifiable indication that a boundary has been overstepped. You could clarify that you’d prefer to spend time together in a communal space, like the living room or eating dinner together. Failing all of the above, I strongly suggest writing to your landlord and asking permission to fit a lock on your bedroom door as a matter of urgency, for the sake of your love life!
Lots of (boundary respecting) Love,
How many times is too many times to be blocked?
I have a friend who has blocked and unblocked me multiple times. We have a … complicated history but went through quite a lot together. Over the course of about 6 months I have repeatedly been blocked and unblocked, even on WhatsApp. I don’t think I’ve ever messaged them on WhatsApp. While the first time it was the result of an argument, the most recent came out of the blue and resulted in me sending a very passive aggressive message with some not so nice things said. Maybe I did something every time I was blocked and I’m the problem but I wouldn’t know because they never told me. What do I do? – Frustrated”
I think it’s high time this person was Marie Kondo’d out of your life. Does this juvenile behaviour currently align with your needs and wants? Future blockings and unblockings ad nauseum seem to be an inevitability; is that what you want to be dealing with going forward? Though you’ve said some ‘not so nice things’, you have no responsibility to continue the friendship to make up for that, or to resuscitate this bond because you were once there for each other. Reach out to them in a way that does not create space for a conversation to continue; perhaps an email or a letter. Apologise for what you’ve said and for how ending this friendship might hurt them, then thank them for the memories and exercise your right to move on. Reflect on why this behaviour might have triggered such an emotional response from you, clearly bringing out a side of yourself you don’t like. We all acquiesce to a not very grown-up part of ourselves from time to time, but immaturity seems to be this persons resting state.
Blockings can be blessings,
Societies and shyness
“I’m quite shy but want to be a bit more involved with societies at uni. I’m not very sporty and I’m worried that I’ve missed the boat to join new societies now that freshers is over. Any advice on how to be more involved! – Jane Doe”
The boat has most definitely not set sail yet! Most societies have a contact email or social media page that’ll be listed on the UonSU A-Z index. You can reach out and express an interest in joining at any point in the year! Ask if you can come along as a taster and see if you like it before you buy a membership. Society memberships can cost up to £20 and if they run classes, the usually charge £3-5. There’s plenty of non-sporty societies, CakeSoc is a super wholesome one that’s great for introverts! But if you want to be a part of a sports team but are worried about not exactly being an Olympian, there are tonnes of IMS (Intra-Mural Sport) teams that play just for fun. You’ve also got to remember that uni life gets hectic and not everyone will have attended every session of their respective society. YogaSoc is my main shout because being a Yogi is all about meeting your body where it is at and building skills from there. Your starting ability might be the place someone else is at after months of sessions. You’ll blend right in.
Annoying and intense housemate
“Hi, I have never lived with this person before and have found that they are really intense and talks constantly. It’s giving me the ick and I find myself going up to my room or not leaving my room whenever they are there. What do I do as I don’t want to be rude? -Hugh”
Oh dear, I’ve been there mate. When I was in second year every evening turned into a social-political debate, while I was just trying to watch telly in peace. I totally retreated to my room and found even bumping into them in the kitchen unbearable. My main piece of advice that really worked for me to try to find common ground with this person; a shared topic of interest that you can bring up and redirect the convo to whenever necessary. Initiating a chill activity, like a card game or popping some popcorn to share as a group can occupy the annoyance’s mind/mouth long enough for someone else to take the mic. This will sound odd; perhaps being the annoyingly intense person might be just as exhausting as being on the receiving end of them. They sound like they really need an outlet. Though you can’t frogmarch them to a therapist’s office yourself, you can indicate that perhaps you’re not the right person for them to be sharing this stuff with. Tell them that you’re their friend, not their mental and emotional recycling bin.
Be blunt but kind,