dealing with a roommate/ assertiveness 2.0
December 4, 2013 11:32 AM Subscribe
I like my roommate, but I don't like some of the things she does. I suck at being assertive. We've only been living together for a short while so I'd like to set some boundaries while it's still early.
posted by DayTripper to Human Relations (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Roommate and I met coincidentally a couple of months ago. We're about the same age, have a bunch of common interests, and each have our own social circles but are still able to hang out with each other and watch TV/go out/etc.
The first issue is messiness (original, I know). It's been over a month and she still has a couple of unpacked boxes/miscellaneous things in garbage bags taking up space in the living room. I can't STAND clutter, and it's really been more than enough time. The main problem here is that she developed a back problem a couple of weeks ago, so she can't really bend or lift things right now. This makes it a tender topic. Fine with me-- I offered to unpack some of her boxes in her presence, throwing out most of the stuff and putting the rest in a corner of her room (which is also disgusting, but a nonissue because it's her own personal space). It's just this last bit of stuff that we can't seem to get rid of. When I mention it, she gets defensive. FWIW, unpacking was an issue prior to back problem.
This next one is driving me completely crazy- groceries. My parents live closeby and so they've been helping out by buying some standard household items from Costco for us. In their culture (they immigrated here), hospitality is emphasized above most other things, and it is considered extremely rude not to share things like food, or to ask for money from someone, even if it is owed. I'm having a very hard time finding a good balance. On the one hand, I don't like to make a fuss over money, but on the other hand, I (and my family!) are being taken advantage of.
I am a very picky eater, so while she eats my food I have no desire to eat anything of hers because I don't even like any of it. Also, I shop at organic (read: expensive) places for produce so I'd rather just know what I have, how much it was, and how long it has to last me. I am trying to put a budget in place for myself. Once she asked about sharing food, and said I'm more than welcome to eat hers. I was unprepared so all I said was that certain things like cereal are fine, but that I'd like to keep produce separate. I also really want her to stop drinking my seltzer from Costco (I feel like b/c it's in bulk and my parents buy it for me, it's harder to address). I think keeping separate groceries/drinks altogether would be my best bet to avoid any gray areas.
She never does dishes. EVER.
She obsesses over my eating habits. I eat somewhat unhealthily but I'm not physically out of shape at all. It's my concern how and what I choose to eat. She'll scold me for eating "shit" all the time, meanwhile she eats that same "shit" (like pizza) when I buy it b/c she never has any goodies of her own. The first week we lived together and she saw me eating something junk-y, she told me I was going to get fat. I just wish she would mind her own business. I never meddle in her eating/sleeping/life habits, and I wish she would show me the same courtesy.
This post probably sounds a lot more resentful than I meant it, but that's because it's all been building up and I suck at confrontation and always have. I have a serious issue with expressing my needs and wants to people. I think this could be a great opportunity for growth and maturity if I handle it tactfully.
I should state again that I DO like her, and I don't want this to be some dramatic ordeal with ultimatums and whatever. She's a sweet girl, but living with someone is just always hard.
Please give me advice on addressing these topics directly but non-aggressively, and what steps/actions I can take to maintain the boundaries if and when I put them in place.
Thanks in advance!