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Dear Flora: Boys' Weekend and Nosy Neighbors

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Dear Flora,

Ever since we left college, my old roommates and I have been returning to our old stomping grounds once a year. It has gone from beer-fueled ragers to renting a nice Airbnb to reconnect with each other, play video games, and just have a great boy’s' weekend. This tradition has gone off every year without a hitch for the past almost decade, until this year.

I booked the air BnB and everything months in advance for a great guy’s weekend, and was excited about the trip until about a week ago. One of my old roommates has gotten married, and decided to take his new wife on the trip without consulting either me or our other old roommate. This is meant to be a boys' trip to reconnect, and I am very put out that he’s invited her. The Airbnb is only booked for three people, and all of our other plans for the weekend are very much meant for just the three of us. How do I convince my friend that he and his wife don’t have to do everything together?

-Boys' Weekend Interloper


Dear BWI,

It's totally normal to feel jilted at the prospect of your roommate bringing along an uninvited guest, especially when he didn't ask in advance if it would be ok. Before discussing what you can do to address the problem, I think you need to take stock of what's important to you about this weekend getaway with the boys, and why you feel upset that the dynamic is set to be changed.

Possibly, you're the most annoyed at not being consulted before your buddy invited his new wife. As you say, the Airbnb is only booked for the three amigos-- no plus ones. However, I feel inclined to tell you that Airbnb does allow changes in the itinerary, including the number of guests. Less easy to change, though, are the plans that you had in mind for you and your roommates, which is the other thing that is likely bugging you. You mention that you want to "reconnect with each other, play video games, and just have a great boy’s' weekend," and your newly-wedded friend seems to think that his wife will fit the dynamic.

It would make sense to express your concerns about the new woman in his life fitting in with your normal boys' weekend activities, but try to do it in a way that honors his big life change. Remember: she is a vital part of his life now, and you may be facing a situation where he feels he has to choose between hanging with the guys and hanging with her, and this is his compromise. Consider that this may happen again in coming years, as you and your friends get older and may choose to find partners or start families. When you talk to your friend, tell him that you want him to be happy, but that you'd really like to have a weekend just for the boys, if that's possible, and listen to his concerns, as well.

Good luck!


Dear Flora,

Every morning I make a smoothie and I have been doing so in my apartment for the past 5 years. Recently, a new woman moved in down the hall (we share no walls; there is a hallway separating us) and is losing her ever-loving mind because I make smoothies in the morning. She sees fit to stop me when I’m leaving my apartment every morning to tell me I need to stop using my blender in the mornings. Now I am a reasonable person, and I wanted to check how loud my blender could possibly be in her apartment. Maybe my neighbors have just been putting up with me for 5 years! I had my sister run the blender while I was in the hallway, and it is a barely audible hum, if she can hear it in her apartment, she has super hearing. How do I get her to stop harassing me about it?

-Blender Blunder


Dear BB,

What a considerate neighbor you are, testing out the sound of your blender from down the hall, so as not to cause a disturbance in your building! Not everyone would go to that length to make sure that they're not being loud. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do except continue to be a good neighbor and keep the noise to a minimum.

It does occur to me that there may be some sort of rattling or power usage issue that she hasn't mentioned, but if it's strictly a sound complaint, let her know about your experiment. Maybe she's mistaking your blender for another concurrent sound in the building, or a different sound in your apartment, like a hair dryer. In any case, let your landlord know what's up, and if possible, show them your experiment to prove that you're not doing anything out of the ordinary.

As far as getting your neighbor to stop harassing you, let the landlord know her complaints (and the frequency of those complaints), and try to ignore the comments as best you can. We can't control others' actions, only our reactions to them.

Good luck!

https://forms.gle/RaWmp9WQLpzRBxiE8,

Thanks for sending in your questions, folks! Keep sending them to me, and I'll see you next time!

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