How to Say No to a Needy Roommate

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You’re finally free of Mom and Dad, allowing you to experience the woes of adulting alone. Paying bills, working, putting fun aside for important things…it’s a lot, but it’s all part of adulting. Also part of adulting is knowing you can’t do it alone, and you need help paying the rent. A strange roommate is better than living with your parents, but sometimes roommates become too needy and presumptuous. Saying no to them can be hard, but it’s a must, and there are ways.

Boundaries exist for a reason…

Say it with me: boundaries. There are those among us who find comfort in privacy. I’m not talking about paranoid old people who watch you from between the cracks in their blinds. I mean, people like you, reading this article who value their space. Boundaries exist for a reason, and you must set them. For this reason, it is important to express your expectations prior to moving in or as soon as possible. The longer you allow your roommate to overstep, the harder it will be to confront them and have them take your concerns seriously. Tell them your likes and dislikes, your choice of music, your bedtime, what you like to do in your spare time and so forth. This is called getting to know them. It will help in the future.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to have a sit-down with your roommate. Tell your roommate what’s bothering you. For instance, maybe they borrow your things, like clothes or your last slice of pizza from the fridge, without permission and that grinds your gears. It’s not petty of you to expect your ice-cold soda to be in the fridge waiting on your parched mouth. It’s not petty of you to be upset when it isn’t. Don’t let your roommate play reverse psychology and have you question the legitimacy of your complaints. Say what’s on your mind and stick to it.

A thief would rob you homeless.

Moreover, if you have a roommate who’s too presumptuous, you’ve probably been shocked to find that person had been in your room without permission while you were gone. You probably causally inquired as to why that person had been in your bedroom and they made an excuse you didn’t buy. Well, it’s time for you to get a bedroom lock. I know you shouldn’t have to chain your things up in your own home, but you must protect your valuables. A potential thief would rob you homeless. True, a padlock won’t stop a determined thief, but it could stop your presumptuous roommate from overstepping their bounds.

…you need your space…

Additionally, you should invest in renter’s insurance. For prices as low as $6 a month, you can insure and protect all your valuables. Imagine your irresponsible roommate throwing a house party and your favorite earrings or game console goes missing. You could be out of thousands. With a good insurance policy, you’ll just be out of a deductible. This requires adulting though. For certain property be covered, in most cases, you’ll need receipts. So, you should always keep copies of receipts. This should be easy, considering many people order online and stores send digital receipts, and everyone has a smartphone. These days, you can snap a picture of a receipt and your phone will automatically label it as such and store it to a particular folder.

Having a roommate can be a blessing, or it can be a nightmare. It depends mostly on the type of person you’re living with and the boundaries you’ve established. Maybe the roommate is cool, but you need your space, instead of having them hang out with you all day. Or you want them to stay out of your stuff. Telling them this can be uncomfortable, but it’s their sanity or yours. Choose wisely. Be calm and respectful but stern. Tell them how you feel. The sooner you address the issue, the easier it will be to resolve.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Published by Professor J

Professor J is an author, poet and screenwriter.

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