AdviceHelp Me Rhonda

Should I Pursue My Roommate’s Ex?

All’s Fair

My roommate started dating a guy about eight weeks ago. They just broke up, and it was pretty low-key, no drama or bad feelings. I actually knew this guy a little bit before they started dating, because we have some mutual friends. Soooo… a few days after they broke up, I ran into him out, and we were kind of flirting a little bit. We were both with other friends, and things didn’t really go anywhere, but now I’ve been thinking about him and hoping to run into him again.

When I was in high school (a long time ago), a friend of mine started dating a guy she knew I liked. Even though he and I never dated, it really sucked that she went for him, and he liked her. I don’t want to do that to my roommate, but does that mean I can’t get to know this guy I like?


You’re right to proceed with care here, Interested. A friend’s ex is a tricky thing, and if that friend is also a roommate, the tension gets raised to a new order of magnitude. This is a case where you need to weigh total good versus total harm.

The potential for harm here is, in my opinion, pretty great. As you note, it can be painful when a romantic partner ends up with a friend. Your roommate will be on the receiving end of that unpleasant blow. The difficulty will be compounded, because she’ll see him coming over to your place to see you. And before you tell me that you’ll just spend time at his place, it will be impossible for her not to notice you going out a lot, staying over there, etc. And each time that happens, it will be a little reminder to her that he’s moved on, with you.

The potential good here, as I see it, is pretty limited. He is someone you’ve flirted with. One time. And nothing came of it. That doesn’t seem a compelling enough attraction to warrant causing unrest with your roommate.

In all fairness, his relationship with your roommate was pretty short-lived. My advice is to back off now. Don’t pursue this even, if you do happen to run into him again. A year from now, if your paths cross, go for it. She doesn’t have a lifetime-holding deal on him. But it’s still just a little too soon.

Office Slacker

About a year ago, I started a job in a new office. There’s one woman in here whom I worked with years ago at another place. Because of this, she thinks we’re friends. It’s not that I don’t like her, but I don’t think she’s particularly good at her job or very hardworking. I’m not her supervisor, so my opinion about her work doesn’t really matter, but from time to time, she does try to talk to me about other people in our office. There’s one guy in particular that she doesn’t like, and she sometimes talks to me about how he comes in late, leaves early, doesn’t work hard and so on. But those are all the things SHE does! I don’t know how anyone could have such little self-awareness, but she does! I guess she talks to me this way because she thinks we’re friends. Is there any way to either get her to recognize how ridiculous she sounds or to just get her to stop talking to me about this?



The office slacker. A perennial problem. And yours is compounded, because she’s using her free time (the free time she creates for herself by not working) to complain to you about other people. I suggest a two-pronged approach.

First, try to remember that as tempting as it is to label her (even to yourself) as not hardworking, you don’t really know exactly how hard she works, or what expectations were communicated to her about her job. She may be doing exactly what she’s supposed to, or working longer hours from home.

Second part of the approach is to say nothing about the co-worker she complains about. I suggest periodic nodding and non-committal mmhmms to get you through her complaining. Office gossip is only safe when done with family members or friends who don’t work with you.