Am I wrong for stalling my roommate’s holiday?
November 9, 2021 11:50 PM   Subscribe

Asking the forum to get some balanced opinions on a conflict with my roommate. She made last minute Thanksgiving plans and expects me to host her friends. Got some feedback from family that questioned whether I’m just frustrated with her in general.

I am a 26 yo female professional. I got my bachelor’s a year early and went right into graduate school, so I have already been working for 3 years.

I moved in with a girl from my friend group. She is 25, having waited a year to enter med school, dealing with the overwhelming workload. Money seems like a big issue.

She is more extroverted and more sensitive to things out of place, changes of schedule, etc. She is very into environmental causes. I don’t agree with her on everything but I know that you’ve got to let people think how they think, and as long as she doesn’t affect me, I don’t really care. She is opinionated and has made the place pretty uncomfortable.

At her request we made a roommate contract, which says you can’t have a private event like a date in the apartment unless both roommates agree on the day.

She has a boyfriend who seems nice enough. Two weeks ago she told me he was coming over:

“M is coming over for a date on Thursday. We’ll be using the kitchen and dining table. You’d be welcome to join.”

I didn’t feel like third wheeling it, so figured I’d treat myself to dinner downtown. It seemed weird that my roommate really only gave me 2 options - join or leave. Maybe that was the time to bring up that I was annoyed.

Anyway, she made the same request this week (she is having Thanksgiving early due to some med school conflicts), and she also wants to have her sister stay on our couch this weekend. Again, it was more like, I’ve already planned this, and not like, what do you think of this?

I said she had to pick one - you can’t reserve the common space and tell me to tiptoe for 5 days! Either do that for, like, 1 day, or let me ignore you and your friends. Her sister has an aunt she can stay with, and after all these crazy-ass hospital rotations I’ve accommodate for my roommate, I think I deserve a few days off.

So she took it really personally, said I don’t care about her family, and didn’t take it well when I asked her to be considerate when she’s hosting events that involve me. She actually ran out of the room.

I was really hurt, and when she came back inside, I yelled at her pretty soundly, saying that she was being rude, and I wasn’t ruining her event, I was just reacting like a normal person.

Since then I’ve talked to my family about it, and they’ve said having friends over is a right in an apartment. Even though the girl is awful, I should just make room for her plans.

Is this a normal thing to have no limits on when/how many people you have over? What should I do?

TL;DR - I have a controlling roommate whose med school schedule has worn me out. I am hesitant to host Thanksgiving dinner at our place and have her sister stay for 5 days in a row, especially since she never returns the favor. Is this appropriate or me being petty?
posted by halfnhalfling to Human Relations (31 answers total)
Is this a normal thing to have no limits on when/how many people you have over? What should I do?

Yes, having partners come over on dates, friends come cook, siblings spend the weekend, and hosting holiday dinners is a normal right in an apartment. I don’t know where your roommate got the idea about the contract regulating guests but it’s pretty far from the accepted norm. She isn’t having 20 person ragers or having loud friends over at all hours and you live in a private apartment you both rent, not a highschool dorm where boys are forbidden. Both of you don’t seem to be very experienced at adult living situations and you might both benefit from dropping the contract and chilling out about guests.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:21 AM on November 10 [35 favorites]

Best answer: From just the perspective of this question, you’re both doing a poor job of communicating your expectations for sharing a space and are not suitable roommates for each other.

It sounds like she could be more diplomatic in how she’s talking to you about her plans, but it also sounds like your irritation with her lifestyle on the day to day is making you read all her actions in the worst possible light.

I don’t understand how her med school rotation has worn you out. I don’t understand why her having a date in the apartment meant you had to join or leave. I don’t understand what favors you expect her to return to you. Have you asked to have guests over which she denied?

What are your expectations for living with a roommate where you have independent social lives? “I’m having people over” doesn’t generally carry the expectation of “don’t exist”.

A lot of this hinges on how much you use the common areas on a daily basis, and how much furniture/“seniority” you have in the common areas. But generally, unless the apartment is 90% one person’s place where the other is “just” renting a bedroom, the expectation would be for it to be ok for everyone to coexist in common areas without it being a joint activity.

“I’m using the kitchen on X day” is different from “I need exclusive use of the kitchen on X day”. And, yes, when exclusive use is needed, it should be raised as a question not a statement.

Anyway. It’s reasonable for her to want her sister to stay for 5 days, and it’s reasonable for you to want peace and quiet in your (shared) home.

You can ask for a different arrangement (sister only staying 3 nights so you can have a couple days of quiet before your next work week or whatever), but doing so will be burning some of your remaining social capital and goodwill with her.
posted by itesser at 12:31 AM on November 10 [27 favorites]

There's a bunch of stuff to unpack here. But first, are you able to articulate exactly what it is about your roommate's med school schedule that's creating problems for you?
posted by blerghamot at 12:33 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So first, it’s very possible we’re both handling this badly, but I sure am trying to figure this out.

About the issues with med school - of course she’s bearing them more than me but I get some of the backlash. When she works night shifts, or course she sleeps the next day and asks not to be woken up, so I’m limiting my activities, taking off my shoes, not playing music, etc. It affects her mood a lot, lots of crying. She is constantly telling me she doesn’t have time to date and should end it. I’m tired of hearing it. Telling her about my stressors isn’t on the table.

As far as having to join or leave, “I asked, why do you need me to join you? What if I just watched TV?” She said, “I wouldn’t be ok with that because I want us all to be celebrating.”
posted by halfnhalfling at 12:53 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]

It sounds like you hate her and hate living with her. It’s not so much a matter of right and wrong- the two of you are clearly incompatible.

I live with roommates and we have our foibles and areas of friction, but if I was losing my shit this much about one of them to the extent of yelling at them I would definitely be trying to find a new living situation ASAP and looking to make sure any new roommates had more compatible lifestyles (e.g. for you young professionals on 9-5s).

I do think *some* of the “problems” you’re mad about are actually reasonable roommate behaviours though (like, my housemate has her boyfriend round and we all just mutually cohabitate in the living areas without me feeling a part of their thing, it’s fine) so perhaps you might be best off living alone if diplomatically co-existing with people who have lives that they want to live in their homes seems very stressful and difficult for you.
posted by Balthamos at 1:05 AM on November 10 [16 favorites]

She said that about having her boyfriend over? What were they celebrating? I think you're leaving out a lot of relevant details like that last comment - in a standard roommate living situation, most people don't assume that their friends or boyfriend visiting will involve their roommate at all. If she is making explicit requests for you to do anything more than be polite if you run into her sister or boyfriend, then you need to add that to your explanation. If she is not requesting things but you are assuming the requests are there, then make that explicit. One of you is definitely off the rails, and without knowing who is expecting or assuming what, we can't tell who.

Reading your post, there is no indication that she is reserving your common space and asking you to tiptoe around for days. When I had a roommate, if they had someone stay for the weekend, I would expect to spend a bit of time with them if they were interesting, maybe watch TV together, or eat breakfast at the same time, and spend the rest of the time doing whatever I normally did on a weekend, perhaps skipping the bit where I leave a trail of chips between the couch and fridge.
posted by bashing rocks together at 1:13 AM on November 10 [12 favorites]

> What are your expectations for living with a roommate where you have independent social lives? “I’m having people over” doesn’t generally carry the expectation of “don’t exist”.

Yeah, i find this a bit strange too.

There's lots of different ways the dynamic to share a house or an apartment can work. One way is where you're friends, and maybe a lot of your social activities overlap. I had a setup like that for the first few years living with university friends. But most of my years of share housing have not been like that.

Another way is where you're not friends with your housemates, you're both independent and do your own thing -- socially, cooking, etc -- but you communicate with each other if you're planning on doing something a bit out of the ordinary or that might impact the other person. E.g. if we're relatively new housemates, one might say "hey I'm thinking of having partner over on wednesday" and I might reply "no worries, thanks for letting me know -- but don't feel obliged to let me know in future, just go for it".

Maybe you've each got quite different incompatible or unstated expectations about what the deal with the living situation is?

It's completely normal for housemates to have a partner over for the night or friends over for a meal or whatever. But it would be very strange if there was an unstated expectation from one housemate meant that them having friends over meant the other housemate is obliged to either join in the social activity or vacate the premises. It's possible to share a kitchen & living room & house while doing independent things. It's very easy for other housemate to chill out in their own room or the backyard or whatever and trade occasional light banter or grunts with guests while using the common areas to cook a meal or whatever.
posted by are-coral-made at 1:23 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I see, so spoiler - the person off the rails is not me!

My roommate likes to do everything together. Like, she told me from her last living situation, she insisted that they trade off who buys the groceries for everyone each week. She made her roommate eat tofurkey and wouldn’t allow meat. She basically made her ex-roommate a vegetarian. The roommate had a conversation with her so they could shop separately again.

Similar things have happened on my end. She wants me to only use real plates because paper is bad for the environment. I am discouraged from playing music she doesn’t like. She has been hounding me about the thermostat and how the temperature we agreed on isn’t cold enough, and she won’t leave me alone about it. She literally bought me a quilt last week so we can turn off the heater. I don’t really need to have friends over the same way she does. I just need to make my own decisions!

I don’t know her boyfriend well, but it’s because we aren’t given time to talk to each other. She interrupts the conversation and - among other things - brings up the thermostat!

And yes, when her boyfriend comes over she wants all hands on deck so that he feels as welcome as possible. I just feel like a lackey.
posted by halfnhalfling at 1:37 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

If you need permission to move out: move out.
posted by Balthamos at 2:01 AM on November 10 [42 favorites]

perhaps one thing to take away from the situation for future is the concept of the "housemate interview".

e.g. when two adults* are trying to gauge in about 30 minutes if they could manage to share a house together without driving each other mad, its not uncommon to ask each other a few questions along the lines of "how do you like a share house to operate" / "what's a situation that would be a deal breaker -- what's your worst share house story" / "how do you like to operate for grocery shopping and cooking" to try to figure out if you're both compatible in what you want out of the situation. less like a formal interview, more like trying to figure out if there's a decent mutual fit.

* who often have never previously met each other, but maybe it's equally important to do this with people you already know well but have never lived with.
posted by are-coral-made at 2:09 AM on November 10 [9 favorites]

It sounds like she wants a someone who conforms to her social expectations and ideas, and that's how partners kind of work (not really, but you generally pick people you like who have similar values and beliefs to you) while roommates is suppose to be more of a business relationship. It is nice if you both get along and are both eating the same foods or whatnot, but it is definately, definately not a requirement to put on a 5 day participation for your roommates guest or change the way you eat. It's not even a requirement to socialize at all or interact unless it is logistical.

That being said, It is very common for people to argue over temperature, it's one of those things where minor differences can feel really big to people and some people get very uncomfortable really quickly in different temps. It isn't a really solvable issue.

In general roommates should be polite, limit noise (listening to music on headphones is fine, listening to music you both like together is fine, but yeah let her play her only stuff in her room with headphones, and yours in yours with headphones) but if you don't have the spoons to clean plates and use paper not her place to continue on about it. You should coordinate issues about the sleep and such practically, yes it's feasable to understand that she works nightshift and stay aware of that but no she can't forbid you from say cooking a meal or doing dishes or basic daily tasks.

Overall it sounds like you two want very different things out of roommate situations. Find a way to move on when you can. Be clear about your social expectations.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:20 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]

After reading your update: YIKES. All of that is super relevant information and changes the picture completely. Having a partner, friends, or siblings over without negotiating that with your housemates is normal. Doing that while telling your housemate that they “don’t really need” to have their own friends over, need to either participate socially as a hostess whenever they have guests or be banished from common spaces, can’t play music or do everyday tasks during legal working hours rather than the night shift roommate getting a white noise machine, trying to dictate what you eat— all of this is controlling and completely bonkers. In the context of all of that, inviting her sister/bf on unannounced dates or holiday visits would be normal under, well, normal housemate circumstances, but here it seems to be a symptom of the bigger problem- your roommate is making a set of extremely limiting and isolating rules for you and then deciding that those rules don’t apply to her. She’s allowed to have a social life and treat the apartment like a home, and she’s expecting you to act like a boarding house tenant or paid help. You’re right to be at the end of your rope here, and yes you have this mefite’s permission to move out.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 2:30 AM on November 10 [11 favorites]

I would find a way to leave this arrangement as soon as feasibly possible. You are clearly incompatible, and moving out/finding another place without rancor should be your highest priority. Please don't think this is about your respective ages: I've had to deal with the unpleasantness of flatmate friction with 20 more years of experience living with others, and it's always destabilising and upsetting. Use this as an opportunity to learn about your own values, what for you constitutes a dealbreaker and what doesn't, and move on as peacefully as possible. I find it unlikely that there is a path toward stability between you with the details you've shared.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 3:23 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I read this not as that the rooommate says you “don’t need to have friends over,” but that you yourself don’t feel a need to have friends over, so there’s no equal trade-off. If it’s actually the former, then, yes, she’s off the rails. If it’s the latter, sorry, but in my opinion she’s not. These things don’t need to be equal to be fair.

You’re justified in being upset about other areas where she sounds like she’s trying to be controlling, but you’re taking your feelings about being guilt-tripped about paper plates and dumping them on other reasonable requests. The expected roommate response to a houseguest is, “that’s fine, but while she’s here I’m going to use the common areas as I normally do.”

When she bugs you about separate issues paper plates, either roll your eyes and ignore her or outright tell her that it’s not her business and you don’t want to hear about it again. Same with the thermostat, “We have the contract so we don’t have to argue about things like this. Please don’t bring it up again.”
posted by Kriesa at 3:30 AM on November 10 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: So, sample conversation:

Yes, it’s reasonable for your sister to stay here.

Yes, your friends can come over but I’m gonna be watching The Expanse. Have fun.

Can we talk about some things I need? I need to be able to do what I prefer - paper plates, daytime activities, etc. - and for you to let me do it without going on about it.
posted by halfnhalfling at 3:45 AM on November 10 [11 favorites]

That is an excellent sample conversation, OP.
posted by Kriesa at 4:04 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

I agree you should try to find a new roommate, but that is not always feasible....

She sounds pushy and annoying. What sticks out to me is the phrasing of her making people do things. Just because she wants you to join the group or whatever she is hosting, it doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t need her to permission to ignore her friends or want to be alone. (It would be rude on your part, but you are free to ignore anyone you want to).

I think you need to start communicating and enforcing boundaries. Calmly explain that you want to be asked for agreement rather than told about plans that affect you. Explain that if she is having people over (even if they are your friends as well), you have the right to not socialize. These need to be expressed for your benefit. Rude and pushy people are often that way because no one tells them to back off.

Other thoughts:

--I don’t think it is excessive to keep music low and not clomp around when someone is sleeping, but you should be able to enjoy your home. That would require communication and compromise based on various things such as the apartment layout. You mention a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room. It sounds like (ha ha) there is enough space so this could be manageable.

--For her personality—be cordial, but proactively avoid engaging.

--Usually there is mutual agreement regarding someone sleeping on the couch. And you certainly should not be expected to "tip toe" for the duration of the visit. For day to day visitors, I’d say most people don’t limit that, but you are under no obligation to join a party you don’t want to.

--For the paper plates, tell her you are not interested in her thoughts.

--You say the visitor issue is one sided—but is there something you’d like to balance things? Not to get back or show her, but to feel less taken advantage of? Such as: we’ll do x here for Thanksgiving, but at Xmas week we are doing/ not doing x….your sister can stay for the week, but no overnight visitors for the rest of the year...etc..

Good luck
posted by rhonzo at 4:25 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

That's a good start but I think you need to add on, "And if we can't come to some kind of compromise we're both happy with, maybe this is not the right living situation for you and me and we should think about how we're going to wind this down."

Because honestly I think this is always going to be an uncomfortable living situation for at least one of you - it's not clear whether you both moved in to a new apartment together or whether you moved in to her apartment, but regardless I think you should be open to finding a new living situation. You two have incompatible living styles and roommate expectations and this roommate relationship should definitely not last past the end of your current lease and maybe should end before that if it can be done without undue stress.
posted by mskyle at 4:25 AM on November 10 [11 favorites]

Your roommate needs to live by herself. I would help her facilitate that. Soon.
posted by Jubey at 4:51 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]

I'm wondering if COVID is figuring in here somewhere and you're not mentioning it. In pre-COVID roommate situations, having people over, having friends stay on the couch, etc. was much easier to negotiate. During COVID, I would have a lot more concerns about things like vaccination status and testing, especially since her working at a hospital already means she is much more likely to be exposed.

Even if y'all aren't worried about COVID, the stress of the pandemic is affecting everyone, and I can't help but wonder if that is exasperating your frustrations with each other.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:04 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]

She is opinionated and has made the place pretty uncomfortable.
This sticks out for me.
As others have said, you don't seem compatible as room mates. From your updates i think it is not likely you will ever be. Time to move on. Look for another place.
I think this is not about which one of you is right but rather about finding a mutually compatible roommate.
posted by 15L06 at 6:55 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

"At her request we made a roommate contract, which says you can’t have a private event like a date in the apartment unless both roommates agree on the day."

No. At her request the two of you made a roommate contract so she can regulate your behavior, and you have submitted to this unequal regime.

It's bullshit. You have two options: confront her and tell her she needs to chill the fuck out, or move out. In the meantime, if you want to do your own thing in ways that might set her off, knowing that this will create a confrontation, you have this Internet stranger's permission to do so. But it's better to be explicit.
posted by adamrice at 8:29 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

I can't even follow all the particulars, because it's all just so odd.

Two unrelated adults in a shared living environment aren't required to participate in each other's social activities or dicker over what plates they eat off of.

They're just supposed to share costs and coexist.

She's not your wife, she's not your mom, she's some random person who pays half the gas bill.

This is weird, and it's not worth pecking it to death.

Move if you can move.
posted by champers at 11:01 AM on November 10 [19 favorites]

It's normal to have people over, sure. Overnight guests are also fine, but staying more than a night or two generally requires advance notice and an okay from the other person. You definitely do not have to chose between either participating fully in her social plans or leaving; you can just say hi to be polite and then do whatever you want. I have never, ever heard of anyone expecting their roommate to be "all hands on deck welcoming" while they were having their boyfriend over for dinner, that's quite odd.

When she's sleeping, you shouldn't play loud music or host a book club or put together IKEA furniture, but you can...exist and move around normally. If the sound of footsteps in the apartment is too much, she can add earplugs or a white noise machine to her sleep routine.

You both already agreed to a thermostat temperature, so no, she's not allowed to turn the heat off.

You can use paper plates if you prefer. Agree on principle that reducing paper waste is important for the environment, say that you respect her use of real plates, and say that you'll consider switching but for now you're going to use paper and that's that. A nice and reasonable trade-off could be that you are in charge of taking out the kitchen trash since you generally will be generating more of it, and then she doesn't have to look at a thing that upsets her.

Instead of feeling worn down and resentful about complying with her unrealistic expectations of roommate living, just politely say "no" and carry on behaving according to a more reasonable standard of respectful cohabitation behavior. If she makes a scene, politely retreat to your room, close the door, and put on earphones while you listen to the music of your choice.
posted by desuetude at 1:15 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]

So, I think there are two separate issues going on here.


There's a disconnect in the way that guest arrangements are being held. It sounds like you both agreed that "we need to both agree to the date if there is a guest event in the house." And that's al well and good - but it sounds like YOU walked away from that thinking that she would check on a date with you BEFORE inviting so-and-so, and SHE walked away from that thinking that all she would need to do is give you a heads-up that "Hey, so-and-so will be staying over on such and such a date." So that sounds like something you should re-discuss - the fact that you want to be ASKED about such guest events, instead of just being told "so, this is happening". And, in fact, you have the contract a little bit on your side here.



I think you are also having a disconnect about what the other roommate's "hosting duties" are if there's a guest in the house. You speak about having to "tiptoe around" when she has a guest over, and you also said that you felt like you had only two choices when her boyfriend came by - join or leave. But....who said that you only have two choices? Why not take the third option of "great, I'll be social when I walk through the room, but then I'll be in my room chilling with a bingewatch of BRIDGERTON" or whatever?

I mean, I get it that having people that are your roommate's guests hanging around and competing for shower time can be a little awkward, sounds like you're thinking that SHE'S expecting you to join in on all the Exploding Kittens games or pizza-making parties or whatever, and I'm not as convinced she is. I mean, if she IS then discuss that as a separate issue that her friends are nice and all but you may wanna take a rain check isntead of being expected to join in. But....I sense that you are reading some of that into what's actually going on.

So- if you do want to keep this person as your roommate, I would have a frank talk about both of those separate issues - the communication-of-dates issue ("you know, we DID agree that we would both have to agree on the dates if you wanted a guest over, but then you've already made the arrangements with them BEFORE I find out about it so I feel like i'm not allowed to say 'no'"), and the what-should-you-do-when-she-hosts issue ("I don't always feel like I can be 'on' around people I don't know that well and am not always able to join in, do you actually expect that of me or is it okay if I just go chill in my room sometimes when you have guests?").

Because both of your positions on those points totally valid. And - you can find a roommate who agrees with you and thinks similarly to you on those points; hell, my current roommate and I are like this all the time, even without a formal contract in writing. We just talked about it when he came to check out the place and we were on the same page and we were all "okay, great, that's all set." So if you don't want this person as your roommate any more after all, it is possible to find someone who does see things your way a little more closely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on November 10

I agree that it sounds like you aren't suited for each other and would be best served by finding a different place to live (her or you). But in the meantime...

I'd ask her to sit down and revisit the roommate contract. Because yeah, one problem is that you clearly have different approaches to living with a roommate. She seems like the sort of person who wants a very communal living situation (sharing groceries, hanging out, etc.) whereas you clearly prefer a more "we do our own thing" living situation. Neither is wrong, but her insistence that her way is the only way to do things is off-base. In the future, this is something you want to ask people about before you move in together - the line I used to use was "I always enjoy it if a friendship naturally develops with a housemate, but I'm not interested in anything being forced and I'm happy to do my own thing."

Regarding her schedule: Unless she hid the fact she was going to be working night shifts, you're wrong to begrudge her this. Whenever I've lived with people, I've always made a point to be quiet when they needed to sleep, regardless of when that is.

As for the sister - are your rooms so small that the sister can't stay in her bedroom? Or can you request that the sister clean up the living room every morning so it can function as a living room by day? Could she split her time with you all and with her Aunt? Five days is a long stay, but I'd try to find some compromise rather than completely vetoing it.
posted by coffeecat at 1:52 PM on November 10

I am really not clear on whether your roommate is actually controlling or whether you just hate her so much that everything she does seems like an imposition. The way you preface your question by noting that you're older and "professional" and started working EARLY while she's younger and only in school and didn't even do that on time, suggests that you're coming at this from a slightly bizarre angle where like, you're The One Who Knows How Life Goes.

She definitely sounds like the wrong roommate for you, but also like she has done absolutely nothing beyond the pale. If anything, it seems like you both viewed the "roommate contract"* a little differently. I'd have read it the same way you did, but I also understand her interpretation.

Ultimately it seems like you need a roommate situation with someone who is equally introverted and not interested in having guests, and who shares your overall schedule. Chalk it up to lessons learned about yourself and choose more wisely next time.

*Which I'm surprised to find people saying is super weird to have, actually; a LOT of roommate advice says to draw up expectations in writing at the start, to avoid resentment and miscommunication down the line.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:38 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]

Generic rule of thumb for couch-surfing guests is that for a night or two it's okay, but more than that is: "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." (Ben Franklin)

Otherwise, the conflicts with your room-mate could maybe be negotiated, but it sounds like you just don't get along, and you'll need to find a different living arrangement sooner or later.
posted by ovvl at 3:31 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]

I think actually there’s a common thread that runs through these things. She’s younger, really into environmental issues, and wants you to do everything communally and essentially to act like close communal friends when she has a guest over. This is, in my view, because this isn’t her preferred arrangement either - she wants a more politically simpatico, communal living setup, and may be embarrassed to just be sharing space with someone she disagrees with for the sake of rent.

Because in a communal situation, it would be more normal to all celebrate holidays together, and to act like family around bringing a date home, etc. In a family situation, for example, if I had a family member sleeping late because of day shifts I would tiptoe around. But that’s just not how you are doing things. You’re not family, you are roommates. Your lack of environmental what have you doesn’t reflect on her if you are strangers, but she may feel it is if you’re supposed to be communal, just like she felt that way about her last roommate’s meat eating.

I join the chorus of suggesting you have a long conversation about this or find a new roommate.
posted by corb at 4:15 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]

I don’t know what the formal/legal lease setup is, but I read this as: She thinks it’s her place that you happen to have moved into, such that she’s the ‘primary’ householder who sets the rules and norms. You think you’re equal flatmates. Doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, it’s not going to work.

Anecdotally: I once lived with a flatmate who moved into the spare bedroom of a house I’d been renting for years (sole leaseholder, I’d paid deposit & furnished it, etc.). About 2 weeks after she moved in, I was on my laptop in my bedroom and she was hanging out in the living room when I received an email from her inviting me to a large ‘housewarming’ party at my own house that Saturday night, with her as the host. I can’t say who was right or wrong, probably I was a jerk in some ways too, but it escalated from there because our respective ideas of normal flatmate behaviour and use of communal areas when hosting were so far apart.

Save yourself a load of angst and move out.
posted by Salamander at 11:38 PM on November 10

I wonder if there's some ask v guess culture going on here? Even with all the additional comments, it's still hard to figure out what's happening. When you say she discourages you from playing music she doesn't like, do you mean she once said "I don't like Taylor Swift," and you interpreted that to mean that you should never play it? Or did she say "You >must never play Talor Swift in our apartment!" If you're listening to music in the kitchen when she comes home, does she tell you to turn it off? Or are you self-conscious about it in case she doesn't like it? When she's sleeping, do you avoid playing quiet music in your room, or do you avoid blasting it in the living room? I wonder if you have such different communication styles that when one of you says something, the other person understands it quite differently?
posted by equipoise at 7:30 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]

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