He Said, She Said
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
Question: My roommate and I started out the year on a really good note. I enjoy cleaning and cooking so I was always happy to take care of that, but now I feel like she is taking advantage of the fact that I have always taken care of those things. She leaves a mess and expects I will take care of it. How can I confront her about this?
If you do not confront her, you will face a constant buildup of anger. I usually regret not confronting someone I may have an issue with because I never attain closure. Understandably, you may not want to jeopardize your living situation, but the benefit of resolving the issue definitely outweighs the risk of hurting a roommate relationship. It is necessary to approach your roommate, but the manner in which you do it is key. Plan out beforehand the issues you will want to address and make sure they are legitimate. Do not let the discussion turn into a talk about all of your roommate’s bothersome personality quirks—stick to the one main topic of her reliance on you for cleaning and cooking.
It is best to approach your roommate in a casual setting—maybe while you two are watching TV or engaging in some other leisure activity. Begin the discussion by talking about why you are feeling upset and uncomfortable without coming off as aggressive. She will definitely understand the point you are trying to get across if you speak calmly about the situation. You could even blame your academic classes as the main source of your stress and that you are too busy to keep up with the chores for both of you. Ask her about what she feels comfortable doing around your apartment and try to come up with a list of duties you can split evenly. Confronting your roommate can seem like a stressful task, but as long as you remember to keep your cool and do not stray from the topic of contention, the result should be positive.
Roommates are first and foremost a living partner. I think forgetting this key fact is what gets people into tricky situations where they feel as though they can’t talk to their roommates honestly. I suggest you have a conversation with her and let her know exactly how you feel. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be confrontational, just assertive. Tell her all the things you enjoy about her, too. Maybe you two have fun studying together at Panera or going out into Boston for a bit of fro-yo. The conversation doesn’t have to focus on the negative aspects, it can be a mix of both, but make sure you do address her behaviors that bother you.
You can also try dropping hints now and then if you don’t want to have a sit-down conversation. Instead of cleaning up all of her mess, why not leave it for a little while? See what happens when you don’t clean up after her. It could be that she will start taking care of things herself. Babying her won’t magically make her responsible, you need to take some responsibility for the situation, too. If you’re both in the room together and you feel the kitchen is getting grimy, suggest you two work together to clean things up.
Remember, respect and courtesy are the backbone of maintaining good roommate relations. Don’t worry too much about hurting her feelings, but rather focus on being honest so that you can both be happier in your living environment. Letting your annoyance and anger fester will not only cause you grief, but your roommate will pick up on it too. I hope you can work things out with your roommate so you can have a great year together!