Ask Alice

By Alice Anigacz

Question: My roommate is a cool guy, but he is so socially awkward. What can I do to help him be more open and make some friends?
The first thing you want to do in this situation is make sure that you have your roommate’s approval to introduce him to society. There is no point in straining yourself trying to make this “cool guy” happy if he would rather spend his nights sulking in your room, checking his Mac e-mail and blogs every five minutes. To find out if you have the go ahead from him, you may want to look for a positive response to something like, “Hey, dude, want to go hit up that freshman booty tonight?” or, “Do you smoke?”

At this point, you have to make sure that your roommate really is a cool guy, who is simply too socially awkward to approach people on his own. If he’s not getting out there because he is devoting half of his day to playing World of Warcraft, you probably don’t want to take him out with you and make yourself lame by association.
But let’s say all goes well, and you and your roommate are partying it up, when he retreats back into his anti-social self. This may be characterized by such things as standing in a corner, sulking, crying—just being an overall party-pooper. It is now that you want to approach him and give him some reassurance. Put your hand on his shoulder, look gravely into his eyes, and say, “[Insert name], we’ve been roommates for awhile now, and I think you’re a cool guy.” You will know this has worked if he responds with, “Yo, I don’t swing that way,” and proceeds to walk away from you and reassert his masculinity by searching for females. Any other reaction suggests that he may be questioning his sexuality, and it is time for you to be supportive, and let him stay in your room as long as he wants so he can figure things out.

The preceding should be enough to make your roommate want to go out of his own accord. If he seems a bit discouraged by his first trip into the world of his peers, nobody ever said you can’t just bring the party to him. Throw a party in your room. Say it is in his honor. Make every guest talk to him for at least ten minutes. You may want to invite particularly dull people. This should give him enough motivation to want to go back to partying.

You may have to repeat this process a few times, but perhaps consider cutting back on the come-ons, lest he think you are taking him out for other reasons. Which, if you are, and your question was a disguised inquiry as to how to get “closer” to him, good job! But you may want to consider asking questions like that in more discreet publications.