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Ask Nelly – Our New Advice Column for When You Need a Little Help

Welcome to our very first edition of Ask Nelly – the new advice column here at Her Campus at The New School! Nelly is just your friendly neighborhood narwhal who loves giving out some sage advice. In this first edition, Nelly tackles a variety of problems from bad double dates to bad roommates. Enjoy this first edition and if you’re ever in a tough spot, just send your question Nelly’s way at asknellythenarwhal@gmail.com or asknellythenarwhal.tumblr.com

I am having trouble getting along with my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend. Basically, every time we double date, I just dread it. She is fairly rude and never acknowledges me, and tends to flirt with my boyfriend. The whole experience is so annoying that I end up drinking to deal with her. How can I cope with this miserable circumstance?

Best, The Unfortunate Double Dater

Hi, Unfortunate Double Dater. Rest assured, it sounds like this problem, though annoying, is one that with patience and communication you’ll be able to work out. You could start by talking to your boyfriend about the way you feel – he should be your partner in these kinds of situations and if you’re uncomfortable around his friend’s girlfriend, tell him! He’s your boyfriend, he cares about your happiness, and hopefully he doesn’t want you to be uncomfortable or upset and definitely doesn’t want you to have to drink to feel better. You could start the conversation with something like “Hey, I feel like (x) is rude to me every time we go out together and I don’t enjoy it very much.”  If your anxiety is coming from worrying he’ll take it as a slight against his best friend, you could work that into it as well by making sure to say you don’t mean it that way. Also, he can hang out with his best friend without you two tagging along. Just because your boyfriends are best friends doesn’t mean you and that girl need to be too. Sometimes people just don’t click with each other, and that’s part of life. Definitely have a conversation with your boyfriend. He could even talk to his best friend about it, if they’re really close. He’ll probably appreciate your honesty, and if it turns into an argument you should stick up for yourself and your own comfort. You shouldn’t have to deal with someone who’s rude to you just because they’re essentially a friend-of-a-friend. There are some social situations where you have to tread carefully, but this sounds like it’s completely avoidable. Double dates aren’t a prerequisite for a relationship. Be polite, but take care of yourself and stick up for yourself.




How do I start a conversation with my boyfriend about the fact that I think he only “loves” me for sex?

First of all, I want you to know: You deserve to be loved fully and you deserve a relationship with open communication and healthy boundaries. It sounds like the person you’re with right now is not giving you that. You are allowed to just break up with this person if they are affecting your self-worth and reducing your value to sex.

Nayyirah Waheed wrote:

“Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”

I understand that you might love your boyfriend a lot, but if you want to maintain your relationship and happiness simultaneously, you need to open up a conversation. Just using what you said in this ask is probably enough, because if you want the conversation to be productive you have to be as honest as possible. You can also possibly open with “I’m worried you’re only in this relationship for the sexual aspects…” or something to that effect. How he chooses to react is his responsibility, so if he reacts poorly you shouldn’t feel bad for just leaving. Your happiness and health is vastly more important.

Whatever happens, prioritize both your mental and physical health. If it’s available, I recommend you look into seeing a counselor or mental health professional and talking about the effect this relationship has had on you and explore what this experience has meant for your life. Take care, stay safe, and remember that you do not deserve to feel this way and there is so much love out there in the world for you.



I’m having problems with my roommates. They don’t respect my space and I think they’re eating my snacks. What should I do?

Unfortunately, this is a pretty common problem in college. You are not alone! I don’t know much about the dynamic with your roommates, but I suggest clearing out a personal clothes drawer for snacks, toiletries, or anything else you think they might be interfering with, that way you’re the only person who knows it’s there.

If you’re comfortable talking with your roommates about it, ask for a room meeting and calmly explain that you feel unwelcome in your own space, which isn’t fair. Placing the blame on others will create a more hostile environment, but just explaining how you feel should prompt them to change their actions. If you want to do this, but are worried about it ending poorly, you can contact your RA to let them know how you feel beforehand, that way if the roommates complain to them, the RA already has your side of the story. It’s part of the RA’s job to be a mediator, don’t feel bad about asking them to do their job.

My brother and I haven’t spoken to one another in months—mostly because I can’t stand him anymore. We are very different people with very different values. Whenever he calls me up to talk, it’s always about him. He never asks me about my life. I’ve told him that I can no longer be around him, but at the end of the day, he is my family. I just can’t get myself to sit down and talk to him since I feel things won’t change. Where do I go from here?



Dear Trapped,

What a difficult position to be in—loving and hating a family member at the same time; hoping that they will come around, and worrying what your relationship will be (if there is one at all) if they don’t.

Not being able to get along with the one person who has the most shared life experiences with you is incredibly difficult. It doesn’t, of course, always mean that efforts should be made to get along with one’s sibling. If they are a genuinely toxic, abusive, or distressing person, it can be the right thing for one’s own mental health to cease communication as much as possible.

Barring toxicity or abuse, however, it can still be a difficult thing to connect with a frustrating sibling—and there’s no shame in that! Despite having similar experiences, people’s ideas and ideologies can still be very different. It is still possible to have a good relationship with a sibling, but it has to begin with the decision to put in the effort to have that relationship. This can mean listening and being more honest, explaining things you might have assumed were obvious to one another, and putting more effort into the way you relate to each other.

It has to start, though, with someone reaching out. And it is a two-way street, some things don’t change, or aren’t ready to change yet. It might be the case that you reach out to your brother and he doesn’t want to put in the effort.

On the flip side, however, reaching out could be the push your relationship needs to improve. It’s not always easy from there, but it does mean that both of you are committed to changing the way you relate to each other. And no surprise is off the table, maybe he’s also been dissatisfied with your relationship, but has been unsure about how to mention it to you.





How do you tell your friends that you don’t have the money to go out with them?


Dear Anonymous,

Conversations about money are never fun to have, particularly when one person has more than the other. However, sometimes the situation requires it and when it does, in my experience, the best way to go about it is to bite the bullet and be honest.

A good way to start the conversation could be something along the lines of, “Hey, listen—I know we have fun when we go out, but I’m not making enough money to do this kind of thing all the time. Maybe sometime we could hang out and watch a movie instead of going out? I really enjoy your company, but I can’t afford to keep hanging out the way we are right now.”

As cliché as it may sound, I have found that good friends will listen to your concerns, and even offer to pay for you in some cases where they really want your company. And if you are unsure about their reactions, or feel unprepared to speak about the issue, it’s always okay to say that you’re busy or that you don’t feel like going out.

I have found that sometimes, even the most understanding friends can forget about money issues, and it may be up to you to remind them when they suggest an expensive outing. But people who genuinely enjoy your company will do their best to spend time with you, no matter what form it takes and will do their best to understand.




Nelly the Narwhal

New School '40

Nelly is just your friendly neighbourhood narwhal that loves giving advice! If you ever want to ask Nelly for some advice just head to https://asknellythenarwhal.tumblr.com or e-mail asknellythenarwhal@gmail.com.
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