One guy is ruining my whole dorm life

My friends are all hanging out with him but he treats me like dirt

Published March 5, 2012 1:00AM (EST)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Dear Cary,

I live in a dorm on a floor that has many great people on it, some of whom are best friends of mine. I have developed strong relationships with these people that are extremely important to me. However, there is a boy who I find rather obnoxious. He  seems to have a distaste for me. I have tried being warm and friendly to him, saying hello, and even going out to do things with him, but after a few months I have given up on his bad attitude and decided to accept that we will never be friends.

I feel truly uncomfortable and unaccepted in his presence and cannot deal with the way he patronizes me in conversation and blatantly excludes me from certain activities. I often leave the room when he comes in and try to avoid situations that include him. Unfortunately, he has recently become a huge part of the social life on our floor and has befriended many of my best friends in big ways. They have been spending a great deal of time with him, genuinely enjoy his company, and are excited about their new friendships with him. Because I can't be around him, I miss out on so many experiences with my floor and can feel my friends slipping away.

I feel like he is taking over a life that I have built for myself here. Furthermore, I feel insecure and terrible about the fact that I am the only person he has such a hard time being nice to. To everyone else he is open and kind, but I get the short end of the stick. I want desperately to be able to maintain my friendships and enjoy college life, and it feels like he is standing in my way and changing the atmosphere on my floor in a way that is only negative to me. He also has been bringing his friend around a lot who seems to equally dislike me. I don't understand and I'm angry and annoyed at this person for deconstructing my social life. The worst part is, I don't think he even notices or cares how miserable he makes me. It feels as though he has this power to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable by doing very little. I feel so trapped. If I keep avoiding him and hating him, I exclude myself. But if I choose to hang out around him, he makes me feel like crap. How can I deal with this? Why does he drive me so nuts? Please help, Cary.

Stuck Under His Thumb

Dear Stuck,

I suggest you use your Mental Photoshop to erase this man from the picture, the way the Soviets used to do.

When you are in a group, do not look at him or speak to him. Speak to others. Concentrate on your friends. Don't make a big show of it. Just act as if he isn't there. Bring your field of awareness into yourself and your friends, the people you like and are drawn to. You don't have to leave. Be there but do not speak to him or look at him. Focus only on your friends. Remove him from the picture.

Here are some examples of how to do this.

Eliminating people from the picture.

11 Famous Doctored Photos of Dictators.

Mental Photoshop as a travelogue medium.

Now, eliminating him completely from your awareness may be hard at first -- like what happens when someone says, "Don't think about the elephant." But if you keep at it, you may begin to enjoy it.

If, however, after a month or so you find you cannot eliminate him from your conscious world then it is remotely possible that you actually have some kind of crush on him. This is a clichéd thing in the movies but it happens in real life, too. It wouldn't be the first time that a person was attracted to somebody she couldn't stand. Sometimes it turns out that we don't care about the person himself but he represents something. So it gets complicated.

But start with just eliminating him from all your pictures. That's the simplest solution.

Remember: You are Stalin. Your dorm is the Soviet Union. And he is someone who unfortunately did not live up to expectations.

By Cary Tennis

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