Ask Moe and Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,
My friends and I are pretty laid-back about having our food out in our common room. It’s just more convenient that way. However, we’ve been recently noticing that a lot of food has gone missing. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal – just some sodas and ramen here and there – but we’ve started missing whole bags of tortilla chips and even our jar of salsa. There is a guy from the neighboring suite who comes into our common room to eat our food occasionally, and we think he may be the food pilferer. But without substantial evidence, we feel weird confronting him about it.

Frazzled Foodie

Dear Foodie,
I think you and your friends should build a human-sized mousetrap and place a big bowl of nachos in the middle. I’m pretty sure he’ll take the bait. But just in case he doesn’t, you can abandon the trap’s practical intended function for a more symbolic one, by hanging a sign on the trap that says, “these nachos are reserved for [insert name of perpetrator], who loves food that doesn’t belong to him.”

Moe

Dear Foodie,
You have two options. The first is to confront this kid: throw out the question casually. If he admits to it and apologizes, not realizing the harm, then things should be taken care of. If he’s a jerk about it, then you’ve uncovered him as a jerk and now you know to avoid him. Of course it can backfire – with him denying it and getting angry. You’ll have to judge his personality. If, in the end, you feel it isn’t worth the risk, then you guys will have to keep your food hidden and take it out as needed – this should at least keep things a little cleaner.

Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,
My best friend has had this unrealistic crush on a guy since the beginning of the year. Even now, she still talks about him. I tried to make the crush into a reality, so I actually started talking to the guy because he is in one of my classes. As a result, we’ve started doing our homework together and studying before tests, and I think we have become good friends. The problem is that I now have feelings for him, and I think he may reciprocate as well. I just don’t know if pursuing him would be a bad idea given my friend’s persistent crush.

Friend/Foe

Dear Friend,
You need to get your friend to consider her chances a bit more realistically. If you know she is going to get shut down, there is no risk (other than that of her own misfortune) if you go way out of your way to try to set the two up. Looks like failure is just about guaranteed, and the bigger the setup, the more thoroughly devastated she will be by the rejection. Once she is persuaded about the futility of the situation, you can go in for the kill and claim the dude as your own.

Moe

Dear Friend,
It really depends how unrealistic this crush is and how much of a crush it is. The general contours of the situation would, in my opinion, allow you to pursue this guy. There is no sense in keeping two people unhappy to maintain an unhealthy crush. Your friend needs to move on, and you need to do what’s best for you, which seems to be sticking with the guy. But you have to let your friend know what’s going on. You absolutely cannot flirt with him while you’re telling her that you’re talking her up.

Jim

Dear Moe and Jim,
I have a friend who I often hang out with on the weekends. We’re definitely not good friends, but we are familiar enough with each other – familiar enough for her to always borrow money from me. At first, I didn’t mind her not pitching in for drinks or pizza, but I’ve noticed that she always conveniently forgets her wallet. She always makes a huge scene about how upset she is that she forgot her money and promises that she will pay me back immediately. I usually just give in and pay for her anyway since I don’t know what else to say, but I haven’t seen any of the money she owes me and I am really starting to get annoyed.

Unwilling Lender

Dear Lender,
The reason why people like your friend shamelessly continue to do such things is because nobody has ever had the courage to humiliate them in public for it. Next time you guys are all out getting pizza or whatever, make a big announcement that your shady friend has offered to treat everyone in light of her past record. Once she has to explain to everyone how far from the truth this actually is, I doubt she will try to pull it again, nor will your other friends stand for it if she tries to.

Moe

Dear Lender,
Stop paying for her. There isn’t much else to it. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, or even confront her. When the time comes to pay say that you don’t have enough money. Either she’ll have to go someplace else for her cut or she’ll have to bring her own money. You don’t want to endorse her schemes. No one forgets her wallet every night, especially at school where you need your ID card at all times – which means she’s most likely just cheap.

Jim