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March 25, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Fixing Your Life [Because Ours Are Written Off]

Dear Janet and Hector,

I have a real problem! I’m living this year with some friends from my first-year hall, and while I expected it to be a whole lot of fun, it has led to lots of stress! We all love to party, but it seems like I’m the only one who feels the need to study sometimes. Even when there’s no party, there will be someone watching TV really loud which is just as annoying. What can I do?

Please help,
Stiff Jim.


Don’t you “I have a real problem” me! I will make up my own mind as to when problems are real. That said, as the one who puts in more man-hours for their uni work than the rest, you run the risk of being a fun sponge. Welcome to the tightrope.

The difficulty lies in what I presume is the ad hoc nature of your pals’ social habits. They sound super chill. (What must it be like to be ‘chill’? When people tell me to ‘take a night off’ I want to hit them in their blasé underachieving face.) Talk to your flatmates about it calmly and rationally, but don’t use signposting or too many hand gestures: save this kind of pompously threatening behaviour for dates. You could float the notion with your flatmates—while avoiding words like ‘notion’—that you’re cool with them having lots of friends, but you have shit to be getting on with and it’d be great if they could be a little quieter/have people over once or twice fewer a week/give you a text in the afternoon if they plan on doing something that night, so that you can stay later at uni or go somewhere else. Establish that Fridays and Saturdays are a free-for-all—it will look like you’re ‘compromising’. With any luck, as your ‘friends’, they will understand. Just don’t harp on at them about how if they went to sleep earlier and drank less they’d have more money and do better at university: they’ll be all like “quit your paternalism”, and “stop beating me around the head with logic”, and “I don’t have to pay this back, our assets are in a farm.”

As regards loud television watching, the only excuse for it is if the watcher is someone who has to leave the volume set on a multiple of ten or something. I can think of no other reason.

Ultimately, living in a ‘party flat’ is not for everyone. It might not be for you. I’m sure these people are great, but consider moving in next year with friends who have similar study habits to you. Being able to leave the party is a fabulous luxury.



Hey Jimbo,

The way I see it, you guys don’t have enough in common to live the same lifestyle, and yet you have enough in common (and enough shared experience) to expect that you all want the same things. That’s my theory as to why you should never live with anyone you even remotely like. Then again, living with people you don’t get on with is an even bigger mistake.

Target the person with a room as far away from the lounge as possible for sexual conquest so that you can crash there whenever possible. I’m not  necessarily saying you should always bang your way out of trouble, but sometimes that’s an option in the right circumstances. Not in the wrong ones, though; that’s only going to lead to bigger problems.

Let me clarify. Sex is great, but in a general sense it’s a Big Deal. It can get really messed up when it interacts with various human factors, among other reasons because it’s so emotionally charged. It shouldn’t be feared, but it needs to be respected. Some people don’t want to do it, and that’s cool too. The act of sex is neither an inherently ‘good’ thing, nor an inherently ‘bad’ thing. It’s just a strong thing. So long as we treat it right, and don’t force our ideologies on people, we should all be pretty comfortable with it, right? Problem solved. That was easy.

The great thing about advice is that you get to choose which bits to follow. The not-so-great thing about it is that it’s usually so abstract so as to have no relevance to the real world, and can do more harm than good. Maybe we’ll have to exercise our best judgment and hope for the best.

I hope that answered your question. Well, I know it didn’t, but Janet had some good points. Also, compromise is really good. Don’t join debsoc. Umbrellas are wasted in Wellington.

I give up.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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