ASK THE WEEKLY: With Colleen Loranger

QUESTION 1: I keep texting/emailing/snapchatting someone I am romantically interested in, and this person reciprocates but very minimally. Never with the same amount of effort or time I put in. I am putting in a ton of thought, but when is it time to stop and give up trying? Should I take a hint or is there hope? I don’t like extending all this effort if I know it will never go anywhere, but it’s hard for me to give up. At this point should I just declare my feelings and see the reaction? Is that too much?

I am impressed by your multi-platform approach to flirting. I too appreciate the art of a cute e-mail. I also understand how you feel. It’s difficult when you feel like you’re the one putting all the effort into a relationship, but I feel like something is missing from your interactions with this person. I noticed the verb “talking” was absent from your list, which begs the question: do you see each other in person? How do they reciprocate then?

I’ve found humans have a much easier time reading body language and facial expression than cryptic “k.” response texts. Also, let’s be honest, not everyone is as good at new media as us. Some of my closest friends are hopeless at replying to texts, even though I am quite certain they love me. That being said, I suspect most people, even those who aren’t that into texting, will be reciprocal in communication at the begining of a flirtation.

All this is speculative, though, which is why I am going to tell you what I think you’ve already realized, which is you have to tell them. This state of wondering and analyzing texts is taking up too much brain space (ahem, not speaking from personal experience at all…) and you both deserve more direct communication. I would begin slowly, ask them to hang out, tell them a specific time. If they somehow never find a time to hang out with you, that’s a pretty good sign. But if they agree, once you hang out, and you’ve established some witty repartee in real life, tell them how you feel. The last step is important – being clear about your feelings is the best way to form deep relationships of any kind. If they aren’t into it, that’s okay. This is one of those growing-up life experiences we all must have. Move on, feel proud about your honesty, and put your skills elsewhere—have you considered a social media internship?

QUESTION 2: How do I tell people who think I am going to live with them next year that I don’t want to? I still care about them as friends… but living together is another story. I don’t want to upset them too much!

Unfortunately, save for picking up a nasty habit to deter them from living with you, there aren’t too many alternatives to telling them about your decision. In my experience, living situations can be one of the most difficult things to navigate with close friends. People are hurt when you don’t want to live with them. It can feel personal, even though it’s more complex than that and is often a matter of leases, zoning laws and lifestyle compatibility.

I’ve been left out of housing plans, and I’ve told others they wouldn’t be able to live with me. But the good news is I’m still friends with all of these people. We’ve managed to move on successfully, and, like many things, it will seem much less important in hindsight. But first thing’s first, tell them as soon as possible. This will allow them ample time to make other arrangements. The longer you wait, the more solidified your plan becomes. I’m guessing you’re writing because they’ve already begun talking about house plans, so it’s best to nip it in the bud before they imagine many fun house activities with you.

Sit your friends down, tell them how much you love and value them, and let them know you won’t be living with them. You could give them a reason, but probably best to keep it vague. Explaining you don’t want to live with someone because they are incredibly messy will probably just lead to hurt feelings. Framing it about you and your needs, rather than their shortcomings, will be the kindest move. All in all, remember you’re doing the right thing by telling them now. Trying to stick it out and live with people you don’t want to will only make you miserable.