Disappearing phone messages require discussion

Libby Hill

Libby Hill

Dear Libby,

I live with a couple other people who are generally very good roommates. They clean up after themselves in the kitchen, take their turn on taking out the garbage, and even vacuum the living room every now and then.The thing is, they’re horrible about giving me my phone messages. I don’t know how many times people have told me later that they were trying to get a hold of me and left messages with my roommates that I never got.Some of the messages aren’t that important, but it is starting to affect my social life when I don’t know what my friends are up to and stuff.

Other times, the messages are really important. I almost missed a meeting with my advisor because he called to change the time and my roommates never told me.

I really can’t afford to get a cell phone or a separate line, but I don’t know how long I can go on like this.

We do have an answering machine, and only occasionally do my messages get deleted before I hear them. The real problem is simply the times when I’m not home, but someone else is. That’s when I really need help.

Do you have any suggestions, Libby? I’d like to keep up a good relationship and live with these people through next semester.

–Busy Signal

Dear Busy,

Well Busy, it seems as though you must not be a regular reader of my column (which is fine) otherwise you would already know exactly what I’m going to advise you to do.

Technically Busy, you have a couple of options. The sensible, logical solution to your problem is to sit down with your roommates and talk about how it is extremely important to you that they take thorough messages and make sure that they get to you in a timely matter. It’s entirely possible that your roommates are just absent-minded and not trying to be malicious whatsoever.

It’s also possible that taking down messages is an inconvenient task in your apartment. To avoid this, make sure that there are always plenty of pens and pieces of scrap paper near all the phones in your place.That, Busy, is what we’re going to call Plan #1.

Plan #2 is a bit more crude, I’m afraid.

If Plan #1 does not prove an effective solution to your problem, than I feel that it is perfectly appropriate for you to give your inconsiderate roomies a taste of their own medicine.

No longer shall you take down considerate messages and deliver them promptly to your roommates. Throw off the shackles of civility and feel free to flagrantly mimic your roommate’s behavior.

Mimicry is always the answer.

Or maybe not, but it’s worth a shot. Good luck and Happy Christmas.

Note to readers: I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy holidays and also remind all of you to horde up all of your holiday horror stories for me for second semester.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions all throughout the break or just write me when you get back to school.

Stay safe, study hard and make sure you enjoy the Christmas break to the fullest extenet, as second semester is sure to be a real bitch.


The amazingly helpful Libby Hill can be reached at [email protected].