Dear Annie: I am a sophomore in college and have been living with the same roommate for the past two years. I’ve known “Max” since high school, and we were good friends. Toward the end of last semester, however, Max started to do things that really irked me, but I was stressed from finals and thought maybe I was blowing it out of proportion. I figured spending the summer without dealing with him would clear things up, but I was wrong.
Every time we speak, it has to be an argument. Regardless of the topic — sports, politics, calculus — his opinion is the only one that matters. He talks down to me, claiming his classes are tougher than mine and saying how “stupid” I am. Annie, I am a chemical engineering major and have already taken (and aced) all of the classes he is currently in.
Max comes from a well-to-do family and uses that to show how much better he is than everyone else. Any money I have is because I worked my butt off and saved every penny. Since the semester began, I have been so annoyed with him that I’ve decided to move out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this may take a while, as I can only afford a dorm room right now. Any suggestions? — Not Treated as an Equal
Dear Equal: We think Max belittles you because he is insecure about his own intellect and abilities. Sometimes being born into money creates the fear that without it, you’d be nothing. Please talk to your residential advisor or the housing office and ask to be transferred to another dorm room. It may even be possible to move out before the next semester begins. Until then, try to avoid Max as much as possible. Study in the library. Hang out in a friend’s room. Find other space to occupy.
Dear Annie: My mother is one of 10 children. Two years ago, her older sister started a huge fight with a few of the siblings. “Aunt Josie” has been very nasty and also posted inappropriate messages on Facebook. She’s always been coddled because we’ve believed she has some mental health issues. Now, my family has chosen to quit speaking to her.
The problem is that my grandmother is choosing sides. She hasn’t visited our house for months, but is at Aunt Josie’s often. She also recently announced that she would not be attending one grandson’s welcome home party because Aunt Josie isn’t invited. (Mind you, Aunt Josie never invites any of us to her events.)
My grandmother is aware of some of the nasty things my aunt has said. Is it wrong for me to tell my grandmother that she is mistreating the rest of the family? No one else seems to think it’s worth it. — Boston College Girl
Dear Boston: Grandma worries that she is the last family member who still cares about Aunt Josie. This is her child. She takes her side because no one else will. We don’t recommend you pit Grandma against her daughter. Instead, say that you miss her and wish she would spend more time with the family. The rest is up to her.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “Strong but Broken,” who has suffered for 40 years because of cruel bullying by a classmate and her friends.
My recommendation in such cases is to transform the hurt by helping others who have been similarly hurt. Bullying is such a problem in schools today, with some kids even taking their own lives. By simply talking to school groups, church groups and individuals, she could do a world of good, both for those who are being bullied and for those who are doing the bullying.
I have found that often when we give another that which we ourselves need, it opens the doors for our own healing, and I truly wish that for her. — N.C. Counselor
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.