Ask UfYH: Roommates, Redux

Q: I live with a woman who, to put it nicely, is the roommate from hell. Her stuff is all over the place, she hogs the laundry machines, her dishes stay in the sink for weeks, and she never does her half of the regular chores (taking out the trash, vacuuming, etc.). I’ve left her a million notes asking her to do things, and she just ignores them, and then decides to do things on her own time and gets mad at me for not helping! What do I do?

A: Stop leaving notes.

So, yeah. Your roommate sucks. But there is not a person alive who will respond positively to passive-aggressive behavior like leaving a million notes. After a certain point, most people will start acting in direct opposition to the notes out of frustration, anger, or feeling insulted.

Have you had a face-to-face conversation with her about the situation? What was the result of that conversation? If you haven’t had that conversation yet, that needs to be your first course of action. If you’ve had it and nothing has changed, it’s time to have it again.

The difficult, shitty reality of living with roommates is that it sucks because you’re sharing space with people whose standards and habits most often do not align with your own. The way to avoid this, ideally, is by hashing all of this stuff out before moving in (or immediately after) and set up a plan that includes what happens when one person doesn’t follow the plan.

Failing that, communication is your only hope. And I mean direct, clear, non-confrontational communication, not notes. Notes never work. Passive-aggressive behavior in general never works. Hopefully, open communication will help improve the situation. If not, start looking for a new place. And this time, have a plan from the beginning to help you avoid this kind of situation in the future.

Previous Ask UfYH columns about roommates:

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[E] Rachel

I punctuate sentences with Oxford commas, and I punctuate disagreements with changesocks. Proud curmudgeon. Get off my lawn.

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