The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female university student in my 20s, and I’m frustrated my friends are using my apartment as a hangout.
I first lived in a dormitory after starting university. After a while, however, I moved to a rented apartment because I had to share a room with three others in the dorm, which made the space cramped and lacking in privacy, and there was a curfew. The apartment, however, is so close to campus that my friends often stop by, taking a break there instead of going to a cafe.
For example, when their classes are suddenly canceled, they come to my place to kill time until their next one. Some are polite enough to bring some snacks with them, but others have the nerve to bring nothing and even ask me to give them some food. I should have chosen a place farther away from the campus.
As a solution, I’m considering either pretending to be out or trying not to be at home as much as possible. At the same time, however, I’m sure I’ll be lonely if they all stop dropping by. Is there a clever way to ask them not to come so frequently?
E, Ibaraki Prefecture
Dear Ms. E:
People won’t visit a misanthropist, no matter how easy it is to get to their place. If your home is used as a hangout, it means you are a nice and inviting person. You can’t change this, and should not.
The point is how to keep your distance from others, or specifically, how to escape from your friends without avoiding them too much. You’ve come up with two ways — pretending to be out and actually not being at home.
If you pretend to be out, it will be embarrassing should you be discovered. You will also lose your friends’ trust because it’s fundamentally a deceptive deed. So this is not a particularly good idea.
On the other hand, if you choose to not be at home, it means you should find other places to spend time. It will make you more active, so I think this is your best option. Additionally, if your friends find you are frequently out, some of them may feel discouraged to visit you.
Another point to consider is that you want to have visitors from time to time. I suggest you proactively pick and invite friends to your place.
If you use this approach, you can decide when to receive these people on your own, unlike having uninvited visitors. Needless to say, this method won’t make you feel lonely.
In any case, you should make good use of your popularity.
Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist