Don’t You Want Me, Baby?

Dear Suri, I like this girl, and I’m pretty sure she likes me. We’ve been out a bunch of times and really had fun together. Lately, though, she seems like she’s trying to ignore me. It seems like this started after I told her I like her.

I have no idea what I did wrong, and I would fix it if I knew. And I didn’t just say that to sleep with her like my friends think. I really do care about her.

The problem, though, is that it’s like the interaction just completely stopped! I mean, friends communicate. They tell each other what’s happening in each others’ lives, share in the good times, and offer/accept support during times of stress or sadness.

In our case, though, we haven’t spoken for weeks now, she doesn’t respond to my messages, and when I call, she seems annoyed.

So, I’ve been leaving her alone. But I hope I won’t have to do that forever. — Alton L.


Dear Alton, Kudos to you for expressing your feelings! You must feel like a weight has been removed from your shoulders.

In many cases, however, doing so also forces others to assess their own sentiments. This process is unique to each of us, and the time it takes to realize a decision varies greatly. In some cases, a decision is never reached.

From what you have described, however, it appears the ‘hard part’ is over with. It may be wise, then, to remain patient for now, and allow your friend to evaluate her own emotions on the subject.

In the meantime, take care not be become discouraged and, instead, carry on with your current approach. I believe a resolution to the matter is closer than you think. ~ Suri

Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya
Advice Editor
Residential Life Magazine

Most Wonderful Time…

Dear Suri, To give employees time to celebrate the holidays with their families, and because there’s never really anything going at that time anyway, my employer gives everyone the last week of the year off (with pay!). It’s a huge bonus, and we all feel very lucky to work here.

One of the most fun things to do is to catch up with everyone when they get back: what people did on vacation, where they went, what gifts they got and gave… all that stuff.

Well, this one guy seems to be different after break. He used to be all jovial: cracking jokes, scheduling group lunches, and just being an all-around cool guy. I never saw him without a smile last year.

So far this year, though, he keeps his head down, doesn’t talk to anyone, and has started to mumble stuff under his breath. I don’t know yet if it’s about any of us, but I hear him swear a lot and say things like “This is so ridiculous!” and “I’m tired of this bullshit.” Someone said they saw him in the break room the other day drawing pictures of guns and bombs and stuff. As far as I know, he’s not an artist.

It might be all in my head. In fact, the more I think about it, this guy is probably no different than he was before, and I’m being silly even trying to make an issue out of it. Maybe I should just let it go? I mean, everybody has bad days (and sometimes weeks), right? — Back n’ Forth in Bogard, MO


Dear Back n’ Forth, Please report this to your company’s human resources department immediately. What you have described is no laughing matter; it is a serious situation. Qualified professionals in your office can assist your co-worker in getting the help he needs, while avoiding a potential case of workplace violence. ~Suri


Shared Office Space Creates Tension

Dear Suri, I work in a “shared office environment,” which only means that everyone shares an office with at least two other people. It is mostly a space issue, but my supervisor also says it was done to boost teamwork. I guess people were relying on e-mail and chat and not actually talking to each other for weeks on end.

I actually don’t mind this setup, and the people I share with are usually pretty good about not listening to loud music, keeping food and perfume smells to a minimum, etc. But now this one lady has started to mess the whole thing up.

She just got a new personal computer, and now insists that everyone lock the door when they leave the office. It is just stupid. I’ve already been locked out three times, and it is just a waste of time and productivity.

Business People Working In Office
We’re all in this together

Labor Intensive

I’m overweight, so I usually empty my pockets when I get to work. The way dress pants are made, they don’t leave a lot of ‘extra room,’ if you know what I mean. It just gets too tight and uncomfortable when I sit down with stuff in my pockets. I’ve started to put my wallet and keys in a drawer and leave them in there until the end of the day. So when this lady pulls this stuff, it means I get locked out. I am tired of it!

Twice Shy

I complained to a co-worker, and he said that she (my office mate) had some stuff stolen a few years back when she had her own office. They took her computer, purse and some other stuff. Some guy posed as a janitor and just swiped stuff from everyone. I guess he made off with a lot, and then was never seen again. But that was years ago, and also when her office was on the first floor. Now we’re on the second floor. It would take balls to come up here and pull that stuff!

I think this lady is being disrespectful. Constantly locking the door is annoying, especially since she has a drawer that locks! Just keep your stuff in there. Don’t force the rest of us to play this game every day! — Locked Out in Loch Haven, Pennsylvania

Dear Locked Out, Rebuilding trust can be a long and difficult process. More than the mere loss of material possessions, theft is a violation of privacy and security. The emotional toll can last for years — even a lifetime.

Remaining sympathetic to your co-worker’s concerns, could you not draft a personal reminder to bring your keys when you leave the office? Good luck. ~Suri

Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya
Advice Editor
Residential Life Magazine

Suri Says: Life Stages

Dear Suri, I don’t have a lot of money lying around, but when my bro from, like, the first grade was getting married last year, I knew I had to get a gift. I mean, I wanted to get a gift. This was gonna be a huge day for him, and I definitely wanted to be there to give him my full support, and also help them out getting a life started, or whatever. We’ve been through some times together, and I wasn’t going to miss this noise!

bride and groom holding a sign that reads 'thank you'
Just say it

I didn’t buy anything special; just picked something on the gift registry and went from there. That’s not even the point, though. It’s been almost four months and I haven’t heard a word from him! No ‘thank you,’ no ‘It was great to see you, man,’ not even a ‘Go to hell,’ which would have been a lot better than them just ignoring me.

It’s been long enough that they’ve already taken their honeymoon and are back home now, so don’t even try to defend them on that one! I think they’re just cheap bastards and they don’t know how even basic courtesy. I know I’m cussing here, and it’s ‘cause I’m getting pissed.

I won’t ever go to any wedding again. And if these guys have a kid, or whatever, I don’t even care. I’ll ignore them like they ignored me. I haven’t talked to this guy in months. Who cares if we ever talk again. You get what you give, and that’s just the way it is. — Suck it

Dear “Suck it,” Words often mask emotions. Your note begins with a nostalgic glimpse into what I’m sure has been an exceptional bond of friendship, but soon gives way to colorful sentiments I’m not entirely convinced you fully believe.

Now is the time to break the silence that has been created, to reach out to your friend and explain the reasons behind your reaction. Far from confrontational, this interaction should be a two-way discussion, focusing on your changing relationship, and how your camaraderie can continue to build moving forward. Good luck to you! ~Suri

Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya | Advice | Residential Life Magazine

(Not So) Sweet Connection

Dear Suri, I’m part of a ‘networking’ group. We meet formally every month to discuss things, go over agenda items, etc. Every few weeks, we also have an informal get-together, where we have fun, meet new people and just enjoy ourselves. Now, the group wants to start a monthly ‘birthday bash,’ and they’re trying to get everyone to sign on to the idea. The thing is, I am just not into it.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or don’t want to have a good time and celebrate their birthdays, and I’m not one of those people who tries to keep their own birthday all quiet.  There are other things happening here.

First of all, I am on a diet. I really need to get a handle on my weight, and I’ve decided to start eating better and exercising more. I know I don’t have any self-control, so I really don’t want to put myself in a situation where there will be cake and sweets. I just know I will fall off the wagon!

Don't let this be a monthly dilemma
Don’t let this be a monthly dilemma

Also, everyone who participates in the birthday bashes would have to bring something, either homemade or store bought. I don’t want to make stuff at home for the same reasons as already stated. I can see myself making an extra portion of whatever I would bring to the party, and then just eating that in front of the TV. I don’t want to buy something, either. I’m not cheap, but taking on an extra monthly expense is not something I want to do right now. I know that might sound bad, but I just don’t feel like it.

But with all that said, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a ‘team player,’ or have people alienate me from the group because of this. I can’t really tell anyone there about my feelings. They might not understand, or might get mad and kick me right out of the group! I just don’t know what to do. — Cheryl T. | Bozeman, Montana


Dear Cheryl, Networking is important to both social and professional advancement, however your involvement in any group that would turn its back on you for such a personal conviction may need to be reinvestigated. This is assuming your notion of alienation would prove correct.

If an explanation is warranted, could you not detail the reasons you have just expressed? If not the expense portion, perhaps focus on your new health regime? Surely no one could fault you for wanting to keep in shape. You may find others are feeling the same way and, perhaps, the idea will be abandoned altogether.

Kudos for your social involvement, as well as your commitment toward personal health. Best of luck to you in both endeavors. ~Suri 


Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtawnya Advice | Residential Life Magazine 


Dear Suri, My wife has decided to ‘go veg’ this year, as part of her New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and stay fit. The trouble is… she doesn’t like vegetables! It’s so stupid. I want to be supportive and all that, but I just think she’s going to have a real tough time with all of this, and then I’ll have to say “I told you so.” Maybe I should tell her that now and get it over with! Ha! — Steve Sakks | Payson, Arizona

Dear Steve, The decision to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle — whether for ethical or health reasons — is often a difficult one to make. People typically devote a great deal of time and effort toward weighing their options, and determining the rewards and risks of such a choice — the latter of which sometimes includes potential fallout from family and friends.

While advice in this regard can be insightful, it is ultimately a choice we all must make for ourselves. Once the decision has been made, however, it is important that the person can depend on loved ones to embrace their cause and support them, rather than belittle their choices or “wait for them to fail.” I wish you and your wife the best of luck in your endeavors, for this year and beyond. ~Suri

Suri Says
by Suri Syrtawnya

On the Chopping Block

Dear Suri, Most everyone at my workplace has their own office, but no one usually closes the door. When that happens, conversations echo through the hallway, and can be clearly heard from every office.

I bring this up, because the other day I heard my boss talking on the phone with a partner from another location. It sounded like they were talking about a possible downsizing. I know this is happening across the country, but I didn’t think it would happen here!

Now I don’t know what to do. The call was around lunchtime, so I’m not sure who else was in their office to overhear it like I did. I don’t want to bring something up if they didn’t hear it!

Still, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s killing me! I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be here, and I just wish someone would give me some answers already. — Nervous in Nashville

Dear Nervous, You are likely projecting to others your fear of facing a layoff. This can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Few people enjoy change, and I’ve yet to meet someone who wouldn’t blink at the possibility of losing their job. However, you must do your best to put at the back of your mind the conversation you overheard.

It is very possible that the concerns you’ve expressed do not reflect the reality of the situation. Until you discover otherwise, why put yourself through (possibly undue) stress? Simply do the very best job you can, but also keep abreast of other opportunities in your field.

You cannot change whatever the outcome of that call may be, but you can change how you react to the news, once it is finally made known to you, and you can certainly control how you choose to conduct yourself in the meantime. Chin up! ~ Suri __________________________________________________________

Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtauwnya | Advice | Residential Life Magazine