Am I allowed to be annoyed? (snowflake alert)
March 13, 2019 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Roommate locked me out. I'm sure not intentionally. I got annoyed, and she insists that it wasn't her fault.

I know this is really petty, but it's driving me nuts, and I would just appreciate a perspective outside of my head!

I live in an apartment with two entrances; doors A and B. I never use door A, ever. My roommate uses both. Both doors have one of those latch bars that you can only engage from the inside.

Tonight when I came home through door B as I always do, I found the door latched from inside. This is a second time in the past month, so I was rather annoyed, and knocked on the door and asked my roommate to let me in.

She opened the door, and asked incredulously how it happened. So I snapped back and said "well, you locked me out." She said that she used door A today and couldn't have done so. So I said perhaps her friend (who was staying here last night, who was the only person in the apartment after roommate and I both left for work) locked me out. The last time I was locked out, incidentally, was when her visitor had latched the door, unaware of my comings and goings.

Roommate got annoyed that I was annoyed. I said look it's really unpleasant to be locked out of your own home. She then got upset that there was no way she could have known or done that, and "it wasn't her fault."

So my questions:

Ok, I probably sounded angrier than I think I was, so I could have handled my frustration better.


1) Am I wrong in thinking that she's responsible for her houseguest, and for telling her houseguest not to latch door B because I wasn't home yet?

2) I think it's probably an honest mistake. Maybe she latched it out of habbit and didn't remember. It's fine. What compounded the annoyance for me was her claiming that "it's not [her] fault" and turning it into a thing about me being annoyed. The only way to latch door B was from the inside! Am I allowed to be annoyed here?
posted by atetrachordofthree to Human Relations (20 answers total)
Do you want to keep on living with this person? If so, get over it. You weren't even kept out of the house!

If you don't, then, sure, litigate it to within an inch of your life.
posted by praemunire at 10:06 PM on March 13, 2019 [38 favorites]

Well either it's her fault, it's your fault, or it's just a thing that happened and there's no way it could possibly have been avoided. I'm pretty sure it's not your fault, and it's not like an act of god or something. So, yes, she's responsible for her guest's behavior, and for communicating to them however it is you manage the locks so you don't normally get locked out. (Credentials: I've lived with 20+ different roommates over the last 25 years. Edit: usually more than one at a time, so the turnover rate isn't like super high)
posted by aubilenon at 10:07 PM on March 13, 2019

p.s. definitely do not intend to bring this up with her pointing fingers or anything. I get that it's just something that happened and will get over it. I just want to think through it, that's all.
posted by atetrachordofthree at 10:12 PM on March 13, 2019

Wait, you came home, the latch was on when it normally would not be, you knocked, your roommate let you in and now you two are annoyed with each other? There has to be something bigger between you two. I guess you can be annoyed. So can she. Do you have a key for both doors?

Thinking this through is overthinking it. Next time one of you have a visitor, tape a note to the inside of the door saying not to use the latch unless you KNOW you are the last person in.
posted by AugustWest at 10:14 PM on March 13, 2019 [22 favorites]

Sure, you can be annoyed that you were inconvenienced, but it doesn't make sense to be annoyed at her. She obviously didn't do it on purpose and it probably wasn't even her, it was probably her houseguest. It's kind of unreasonable to expect her to think of everything her houseguest might possibly do that could be problematic and warn them ahead of time not to do it. And it sounds like being locked out just meant you had to knock and wait a few seconds before being let in. Making a big deal out of that seems like way worse behavior than accidentally latching a door.
posted by Redstart at 10:15 PM on March 13, 2019 [36 favorites]

Eh, while it is her responsibility to let her guest know about door locking procedures, this feels like such an easy and understandable mistake for someone to make. Being locked out is unfortunate but you were let in straight away. Snapping at her was a bit off, and I understand why it made her defensive. You are free to be annoyed about whatever you want. However, how you communicate that is a whole over thing entirely. An apology to her would probably be appropriate.
posted by BeeJiddy at 10:20 PM on March 13, 2019 [34 favorites]

I see why you were annoyed, but agree that you should probably let this one go.

If it helps, maybe try remembering that her forgetfulness in this manner cannot lead to you actually being locked out (unless she's maliciously ignoring you), because if both doors are barred somebody is inside and can let you in?
posted by Metasyntactic at 10:20 PM on March 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

You are always allowed to be annoyed. It definitely sounds like an annoying situation and I would have been really annoyed too. Whether it is strategic to directly express that annoyance to your roommate is another question. What is your ultimate goal - to have your roommate understand the grief they caused you and be contrite (not under your control) or to work with them to make a system where you don't get locked out (somewhat more under your control)? Could you put a big sign next to the latch of Door B that says "DON'T LATCH ME UNLESS atetrachordofthree IS INSIDE" -- or remove the latch entirely?
posted by rogerroger at 10:20 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

You snapped at her when she did nothing wrong. You had to stand outside for 20 sec longer than you would have liked to, and when she let you in, you snapped at her. You didn't give her the benefit of the doubt, which is the least you could have done, especially given that there's been houseguests.

You were in the wrong. Don't snap at people. You may have had a reason to be irritated if you'd been seriously inconvenienced, but you weren't. Depending on how far she had to come to unlatch the door compared to you going around and letting yourself in door A, there is a case to be made for you saying thank you too.

Stick as sign on Door B. Carry a key for Door A. Apologise for being a grumpy bugger.

(I have housemates and similar door issues. Letting someone in who then snaps at me instead of saying thank you, makes me reconsider letting them in at all. And I say this as someone who found herself locked out at midnight last Saturday.)
posted by kjs4 at 10:41 PM on March 13, 2019 [36 favorites]

You guys are right, and I can see it now. I was annoyed at the situation, and had erroneously directed it at her. I will apologize tomorrow. Thank you for checking me.

I am also now realizing that the amount of panick I felt about being locked out--which is to say, a lot-- is probably atypical. I did not realize that's not how everyone experiences lock outs. So I'll work on that.
posted by atetrachordofthree at 11:15 PM on March 13, 2019 [19 favorites]

Yeah, nobody wants to be the local dump for someone else's bad day.
You were ticked off about being locked out of your home. Totally justified. You presented as pissed off. Of course.
But in the conversation the tone became accusatory, whether you intended for it to be or not.
Roomie got defensive. Naturally.

So what's the next step?
You apologize for being a jerk, you didn't intend to hurt your roommate's feelings, and you sort out the home access situation. This is a normal source of irritation when living with anyone, so don't sweat the small stuff.
I get mad when I lock myself out, and then sometimes no one is home to let me in. That sucks.

Depending on how the roommate wants to play it, you either let it go, or do something nice for them (buy dinner, help them plant this year's garden, spend a fun afternoon together somewhere).

Neither of you are bad people. You live in each other's pockets and that gets annoying at times. But at the end of the day, it's worth it to have someone there to greet you with a smile.
Smile back. It could be worse.
posted by TrishaU at 11:23 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, might be worth unpacking your panic reaction?

Like, My husband and I unintentionally do stuff all the time that is similar in nature and we get annoyed at each other about it. Mostly, we just react with, „Sheesh, you locked me out!“
„Oops, sorreeeee.“
„Hmpf. How was your day?“

I feel like if you were aggressive about it (can‘t tell for sure), then that would make her reluctant to apologize. Her not apologizing made you feel like she was not taking you seriously, so you went off on her some more, and you kind of brought out the worst in each other.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:41 AM on March 14, 2019

I am also now realizing that the amount of panick I felt about being locked out--which is to say, a lot-- is probably atypical. I did not realize that's not how everyone experiences lock outs. So I'll work on that.

Do you have keys for both door A and door B? Because I can see how you might panic if there's a chance that you'd not be able to get into the house at all (door B latched from the inside, door A not latched from the inside but you not having a key for it). If you don't have a key for door A, then get one. That way, if door B is ever latched from the inside, you can try door A. If door A is also latched, you know that someone is home to let you in. No reason to panic :)
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:07 AM on March 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

No, I don't think your annoyance was justified. I think that you panicked and snapped at her, which happens, but which also isn't really fair to her. If nobody is in the house, then clearly at least one door will be unlatched -- so just make sure you have keys to both doors and you won't get locked out again, no matter what her houseguests or whoever do.

Just a data point: I always latch and/or deadbolt the doors when I'm at home. That's what I was taught to do growing up, and it's automatic at this point. Maybe it's not a super common habit, depending on where you come from, but at least one of my other friends does it, too, so it can't be all that unusual.

It would make me nervous to have a sign up (even inside the house) saying that a door is always unlocked, but if you're not willing to knock and/or use Door A, then I guess that's a possible solution to never having Door B latched again when you get home. Personally, I think it's better to just carry two keys, though.
posted by rue72 at 5:25 AM on March 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Think about how bad the incident was.
Think about how intense your response was.

If her friend did this, she is, indirectly and technically, at fault for a minor event that was easily and promptly resolved. If your response was out of proportion, maybe you were tired, hungry, have other unresolved annoyances building up about her or something else.
posted by theora55 at 7:13 AM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think it would be easier to tell guests not to latch the door at all. If you or your roommate want it latched you can do it yourselves. Just remove the feeling of responsibility for any guests. That would remove one layer of complication entirely.
posted by blackzinfandel at 8:12 AM on March 14, 2019

One way of approaching this could be to apologize, communicate that you're starting to see that you have a more intense than typical response to being locked out, and make a request--framed as a generous favor in dealing with your admittedly unusual need--that she try to be more aware and communicate more with guests about this (and maybe using the sign described above).
posted by overglow at 8:13 AM on March 14, 2019

The latch is no big deal, but the refusal to acknowledge responsibility for it would be very troubling to me. If a roomate stood and lied to my face about something so apparent I would have to wonder what else they might not be exactly truthful about, and I’d start working towards not living with them.
posted by rodlymight at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

You can tell there are a lot of Door-Lockers in this thread, people who habitually lock doors every time they leave the house or go outside, lock the doors every time they are inside the house, like, the way they do it you'd think locks naturally exploded killing everyone within a 2 mile radius or that an unlocked door sends a signal into the sky to invite home invaders and other crooks. Being locked-out doesn't make me panic, but it can absolutely ruin the trajectory of an evening.

Your annoyance was completely justified, but you have to understand Door-Lockers are extremely set in their ways and you cannot expect or ask them to change, just doesn't and won't happen. Many were simply raised that way, others have had bad experiences and door-locking brings them great comfort as well as provides a practical barrier between them and potential crime. Not only that, they're a majority group in power and it's just an upstream struggle. It does no good to be visibly irritated with them. My SO is a Door-Locker and if I brought it up everyday we'd kill each other. It probably wasn't so good to get mad at your roommate, but it also wasn't such a huge deal to have to dwell on too much and probably don't need to bring it back up. You get angry and annoyed sometimes and snap at someone, but everyone should be able to get over this easily.

The solution I've found is to feel the annoyance, but project it elsewhere, like online comment sections where I can cathartically gripe about the tyranny of Door-Lockers without actually confronting or bringing stress to the Door-Lockers who have infiltrated my life.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:38 AM on March 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Tonight when I came home through door B as I always do, I found the door latched from inside. This is a second time in the past month, so I was rather annoyed, and knocked on the door and asked my roommate to let me in.

She opened the door, and asked incredulously how it happened. So I snapped back and said "well, you locked me out." She said that she used door A today and couldn't have done so.

Okay, you shouldn't have taken out your panic on your roommate, sure, but if she's incredulous about how this could have happened when it just happened last month, something about the way y'all manage the door lock situation is really off. Maybe there's some kind of misunderstanding, disagreement, or passive-aggressiveness on both sides?

Also, why didn't you just use door A, if door B was latched from the inside?
posted by desuetude at 10:29 AM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

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