Life Advice



Introverted Roommate Needs Space To Decompress

Harriette Cole on

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a very talkative and outgoing roommate. I am a complete introvert, and social interaction can be very draining for me. Sometimes I do not want to be bothered at the end of a long day, but my roommate will still knock on my door and start casual conversations with me. I don't want to hurt her feelings, because I really like her. How do I tell her that I want to be left alone in a way that won't offend her? -- Chatty Roommate

DEAR CHATTY ROOMMATE: Establishing house rules can be extremely helpful for roommates. It will be to the benefit of you both if you speak up and let your roommate know who you are, how you like to interact and what makes you happy. Don't feel that sharing this with her is offensive. Instead, it is offering clarity. To live with someone requires excellent communication between the two parties. Otherwise, people will try to figure out on their own why the other is behaving in a particular way. Usually, those considerations are not accurate.

It's good that you know yourself well enough to be able to point out what you like and need on the social interaction front. Tell your roommate that you are an introvert and that alone time is essential for your peace of mind. Specifically, if your door is closed, please do not enter. Knock only if it is urgent. Because she needs interaction, it would be good to let her know when you two can talk. This will help limit her pouncing on you with chatter the moment you open your door. Perhaps every day for 15 minutes at a particular time you two have coffee and catch up. Work it out together.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My colleague has a terrible stuttering issue but insists on running all of our meetings. Her speech issues will often result in long and unproductive meetings where we can't cover much ground. She doesn't like being interrupted and will still attempt to make her point even when you cut her off. I think it would be helpful if she stopped taking the lead in these meetings. I know that she cannot help her speech issues, but it would be for the good of our company. Would it be a good idea to suggest this to her? -- Speech Issue

DEAR SPEECH ISSUE: On one hand, it is excellent that your colleague who stutters is determined to be a full participant at the job. Too often, people who stutter shy away from speaking publicly. However, the anxiety that can naturally come with public speaking can trigger more stuttering for a person with that challenge.

For anyone who stutters, it is recommended that you engage the breath to calm yourself down, be fully prepared and speak slowly to help control your communication. For more ideas:


For the team, why not rotate the presenters so that everybody gets a chance? In this way, each team member gets to practice presenting before the group. Chances are, others will benefit from being in the hot seat, and the burden will be taken away from one person having to do it each time.


(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Copyright 2022, Harriette Cole



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