My roommate and I have been living together for over three years. We are good friends. She has a family friend who lives abroad and travels to visit my roommate here once or twice a year.
The first time this friend stayed over, I overheard her making fun of me. I later addressed the issue with my roommate, who immediately apologized.
I found her next visit no better. The friend told my roommate and me stories of how she’d order fast food and deliberately eat it in front of “the fatties at her work” who were doing a healthy eating challenge.
While we were in the backyard one day, she said she had tanned so much she was “as dirty as a Mexican.” I was utterly appalled.
She also kept referring to "us white girls" when talking about the three of us. I am in fact multiracial. My background is black, Asian, and white. My family comes from South America.
My roommate has informed me that her friend will be visiting very soon. I don’t feel comfortable with her friend visiting the apartment. Is there any way to tactfully bring this up, or should I beat a hasty retreat and find another place to stay when that friend arrives?
You’ve already arrived at the most logical decision on your own. By moving out, you miss hearing rudeness, racism, and ignorance.
But it’s a shame that neither her family friend, nor you, feel a responsibility to try to enlighten this woman or at least tell her how inappropriate her comments are, and that they’re offensive to you both.
I appreciate the awkwardness of a short-notice situation, because this visitor is your roommate’s family friend.
Yet it’s curious that that she apparently hasn’t even said privately to her that you both are opposed to her ridiculing people through body-shaming, and also her outspoken racism.
Either your roommate feels obligated to be welcoming through their family ties, or her values also don’t align with yours. That can become a serious divide between roommates. I recommend that you try to talk it out, soon.
For an immediate response to the visitor, sure, move out. But for your own self-respect, have a conversation with your roommate and insist that it’s the last time that either of you host someone who’s so obnoxious, that, in this case, you feel that you have to leave your own home, rather than suffer her comments and opinions.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman resisting online dating and dating web sites (December 20):
“While my son (23) found his future wife when she contacted him on Instagram, my daughter (26) hated the idea of online dating.
“She also hates being connected 24/7 and doesn’t like all the text chats that seem to have to take place before meeting someone. She finds the whole process somewhat tedious.
“As if meeting people and dating through in-person connections was all unicorns and rainbows back in the day!
“She tried a few platforms and played around with her profile to attract the right people. Then, a girlfriend found her boyfriend through Bumble, where women make the first contact.
“My daughter’s now dating a lovely young man who owns his own business and enjoys many of the same interests, so they can talk for hours.
“There IS a dating site out there for that woman who wrote to you, and hopefully her future partner as well.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose husband had ruined a family dinner (January 4):
Reader – “She acknowledged his alcoholism and the effect it’s having on their family and friends.
“Al-Anon provides support for friends/families of alcoholics. One of the first things I learned when I reached out for help with my alcoholic ex-husband is that it wasn’t my responsibility to get him to change his behaviour.
“But I began attending weekly Al-Anon meetings to help me find ways to manage my response to the alcoholism. I did this for two and a half years, and learned to establish boundaries, detach with love, and stop taking responsibility for the behaviour of others. It changed my life.”
Ellie - Al-Anon is a 12-Step program co-founded in the early 1950s by Lois Wilson, wife of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, along with her neighbour and close friend, Anne B., whose husband was also an active member of AA.
Tip of the day:
There’s a time in life when circumstances make it crucial to your own self-respect to speak up against shallow mockery of others and divisive racism.