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Struggles with an inconsiderate roommate

Dear Harlan: My roommate has started to become more and more inconsiderate this semester. She is almost always Facetiming a friend or her boyfriend and talking to them very loudly, and I can hear their whole conversation. She even does this when I’m trying to fall asleep or trying to study. Sometimes she even blares her music very loudly while I’m studying. I’ve been doing my best to be considerate of her. How should I talk to her about it?

— Done and Done

Dear Done:  Start with lots of compassion. I know it’s hard to be compassionate, but I get the feeling she’s having a hard time being away from friends and family. Your roommate is feeling alone. She misses her friends and the boyfriend she’s Facetiming. She probably doesn’t think about you because she’s trying to get through this. Before you have the conversation, think about what you can do to make this situation easier for you to handle. Try noise-canceling headphones; put up some kind of partition; study in a lounge outside of your room. Talk to her when the music is quiet and she’s not on her phone. Start by asking her how she is doing. Check in with her. Then ask if you can share something that’s been on your mind. Explain that it’s been hard for you to sleep at night. Ask if she can talk quieter or go in the hall. Ask if there is anything you can do to make things more comfortable for her. Make it a conversation, not a confrontation. Start there. See how it goes. If you don’t get a positive response, talk to your RA and get some help. But start with compassion.

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