Potential roommate issues. Am I out of line here?
August 18, 2008 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning on moving to DC with a guy I've been friends with since junior year of college (3 years ago). I graduated and immediately accepted a position and have worked in said position for one year and am now moving on to another one. For that same year, he sat around at home and was too lazy to find an engineering job and worked a few $10 an hour construction jobs. I'm having mixed feelings about getting a place with this guy.

We both want to live in similar areas and rent is expensive, so it just makes sense. He's not a bad guy at all. He's my friend after all. However, I feel that he might end up leeching off of me. Everything he owns fit in the trunk of his car and he has lived at home since college and I have had a nicer-than-average apartment filled with nicer-than-average stuff. I've matured a lot since college and have entered the real world and he has just sat around at home and gotten drunk. Should I be worrying about the fact that I feel like I'm going to be supplying everything from the couch, to the TV, to the kitchenware in this apartment? I already own everything needed for apartment living and he owns nothing. Once we move in, he'll end up not having to buy a damn thing. Is my thinking out of line here? He's not a bad guy but he's so damn lazy (see first paragraph) that I feel like I'll be the one buying/supplying everything and pulling his ass along (which, in my opinion, isn't fair). Any advice to prevent this or prevent this type of thinking on my part? Thanks in advance.
posted by decrescendo to Society & Culture (52 answers total)
 
Sounds like you'll be doing the cleaning also. That's probably something to consider.
posted by fusinski at 12:15 PM on August 18, 2008


Yes, you will be the one buying & supplying everything. If you really are this guy's friend, get your own place before you begin to resent & hate him. Because if nothing changes that's what's going to happen.
posted by GuyZero at 12:15 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're not out of line, you're looking out for not only yourself but also your friendship.

You also have an opportunity: pull your buddy aside and say, "Look. You know you're my main bro-mance, but dude, I don't think I can depend on you, and here's why..." Then say to him what you've written here.

It'll be a wake up call for him. Hopefully he can get his act together and then if you have this chance to room again you'll feel a lot better about it. Likewise he may say, "Dude, I know - I'm getting my act together, here's what I've done, here is how I'm managing my money responsibly, here's my new job..." You might be surprised if you just talk to him about this.
posted by wfrgms at 12:20 PM on August 18, 2008


Any advice to prevent this or prevent this type of thinking on my part?

Meditation?

I think you have a few separate problems. First, it looks like you resent that you'll be basically furnishing this apartment. If you can't get over this feeling of resentment, then you should just call it off now - it will color every moment of your co-habitation.

Second, it seems that you resent that he is "lazy". So if you think you'll resent the fact that he spends his nights watching Adult Swim vs. bringing home work from the office, call it off now.

Third, you have to decide which of your stuff you are ok with him using (couch, tv) and those you might not be (cookware, plates, etc.). Go over the "I'm not sharing these" items with him before you move in, so he knows what to expect (and to buy).

Fourth, which you do not mention explicitly, is worrying about him meeting his share of the rent since he is so lazy and all. I'd suggest a rental agreement with the landlord where you are each individually responsible for paying your half the rent. This way you don't get caught in the position of having to cover his share.

Since he is moving in from home, make sure he is aware of the other expenses he will have to meet - water, utilities, cable, food, etc.

Basically, if you can get over being resentful, make sure you lay out everything out front so you don't end up resenting him over something that happens after you move in together.
posted by mikepop at 12:21 PM on August 18, 2008


I have no idea why you're planning on moving in with this guy. He doesn't sound like he's matured at all, and if he brings nothing but rent to the table (and that's a maybe), then get your own place. You'll regret providing everything for someone who is not going to reciprocate or make your life easier.
posted by agregoli at 12:25 PM on August 18, 2008


I can see nothing but misery here. Does he offer you any benefit if he moves in, other than reduced rent?
I don't know if it's ok to bring up deleted threads, but it reminds me a lot of this one.
posted by idiotfactory at 12:25 PM on August 18, 2008


Some people should not live together. It has nothing to do with whether or not you like each other, and has everything to do with how you expect to conduct your lifestyles. You two are not a match in this regard.
posted by sageleaf at 12:26 PM on August 18, 2008


He's a good dude. He's sleeping on my floor right now until we can maybe get a place in DC. But when I first thought of living with him I said "ah shit, his apartment was so messy in college that I couldn't stand it".

We both will have steady, well paying jobs, but he has $19 in his bank account as of last night and I own a plasma screen TV, new couch, etc.

I just feel as though he'll only be paying rent and utilities, and I'll be wanting to buy art or something for the walls. I'm at the stage of my life to buy decorative stuff and he has $19 to his name and is worried about every cent he will spend since he's put off real life so far.
posted by decrescendo at 12:31 PM on August 18, 2008


Another vote for "don't do it".

he brings nothing but rent to the table (and that's a maybe)

Exactly. I personally wouldn't even be that bothered by him using all the furniture etc. But do you have any guarantee he will be getting a proper job / be able to sustain himself? Rent, utility bills etc?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 12:31 PM on August 18, 2008


Exactly. I personally wouldn't even be that bothered by him using all the furniture etc. But do you have any guarantee he will be getting a proper job / be able to sustain himself? Rent, utility bills etc?

We both have degrees in Aerospace Engineering so I think we'll end up being well-off at some point. I just have such a massive head start that it might not be very compatible.
posted by decrescendo at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2008


When there is great inequality between roommates regarding income/common furnishings/etc., there's going to be resentment unless both people can be laid back about it. The roommate who doesn't provide has to be appropriately modest, apologetic, and (most importantly) deferent to the providing roommate. If you bought the couch, the big screen TV, and pay for the cable, then he better move over when you want to watch something. This is the only way to keep a providing roommate from resentful, it requires a lot of security on the leeching roommate's part. Are you both strong enough for that?

I've totally seen this scenario work out OK, but it requires really great, strong, self-aware people to pull it off. You have to decide if you two are part of this amiable roommate elite.
posted by aswego at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2008


Well, YOU will. But he has shown no inclination to improve his life standing, and in fact, is planning on living off of your successes while he continues to not get his act together. Why are you considering this so heavily? Is getting your own place (even if it's smaller than you want at first) really that prohibitive?
posted by agregoli at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2008


I suppose I did not stress that he just started a job last week that currently pays him a salary of $58k. The issue here is not his unemployment or anything. I just don't see how everything-split-in-two this roommate relationship can be since I have a year of real life and many years of maturity on him. He's more of a get hammered and pass out and sleep til 4 pm type and I would rather be up early getting stuff done and cleaning my apartment.
posted by decrescendo at 12:36 PM on August 18, 2008


Is the drinking problematic? Is it something that could turn into a long term problem? If so, serious consequences.
posted by netbros at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2008


You already resent the hell out of him, you will resent him more if he gets to sit on your couch and watch your plasma screen tv without having had to pay for it by living in the 'real world'.
posted by bluejayk at 12:42 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, YOU will. But he has shown no inclination to improve his life standing, and in fact, is planning on living off of your successes while he continues to not get his act together. Why are you considering this so heavily? Is getting your own place (even if it's smaller than you want at first) really that prohibitive?

I'd really love to live in an area where I can walk to a lot of nice places to eat/get a drink. I want to be close to come crazy nightlife too. Rent gets really insane when trying to accomplish this and I really don't want to move from the nice apartment I have now to some windowless basement in order to get what I want.

I suppose I could live a little further away from the desired area just to get my act in a new city together and keep my rent down and live on my own.
posted by decrescendo at 12:42 PM on August 18, 2008


It sounds like you better agree on a cleaning agreement as well before you move in together.

Re: art on the walls, etc. - well, you get to take all that stuff with you when you move to your next place.

He made some different decisions than you, and if he ever decides he wants to buy a plasma tv and art he will have to "catch up" as you say. It seems like he has a steady job, so the rent is covered. You seem to like him/think he is a "good guy" so he brings that as well.

If he continues to sleep late, not save money, or otherwise not change aside from having a better job that lets him make rent will you feel resentful still? If you even suspect the answer is "yes", then call it off.
posted by mikepop at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2008


This can work out, but you need to discuss it with him.
Ever since I've moved to Chicago, I have been the roommate that only had enough belongings to fit into my bedroom.

The livingroom items have always belonged to the other roommate, the plasma tv, the kitchen gear, the wall decorations, etc. This has never been a problem. If I was playing xbox and the roomate wanted to watch a movie, or play xbox himself, I stopped and let him. Since after all - it was his.

Just because he's not bringing anything to the apartment doesn't mean he can't be a good roommate. A roommate does not need to bring his own couch. A roommate does not need to split the cost of an oil panting you want to hang up behind the couch. A roommate just needs to pay the rent and his share of the utlilties and be respectful to you and your things.

Look at it this way - you have everything needed for the apartment, why would he need to bring anything if you already have it? Are you ok with sharing? Talk to him about what he can and cannot use - Hey buddy, these glasses are really important to me, please don't use them. Hey I watch this show at 8pm on Tuesdays, so the TV is mine at that point. Lay ground rules - and if he's respectful, it won't be a problem. There's no reason to have two couches or two tvs just so both roommates are bringing an equal amount of stuff.

You can go ahead and buy art - if he doesn't have anything that means you can decorate how ever you want. Assuming you don't have terrible tastes, he probably won't complain, since he wasn't going to hang anything on that wall anyways. Then if you decide to move on later to your own place, you'll already have decorations for it.

It sounds more like you think he's a loser and you don't want to live with a loser. If he can pay rent and isn't a loud annoying disrespectful roommate, what's the problem? Don't let your judgement of him ruin what could be a potentially great living situation. Maybe you'll even be a positive influence on him.
posted by Arbac at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2008


Any advice to...prevent this type of thinking on my part?

• Recognize that you can remain friends with people who have wildly different incomes and social statuses from you. Concomitantly: recognize that most of the messages we receive about this tell us that this is wrong. I make $8000 a year teaching English abroad; my friends make upwards of $150,000 as lawyers. We still hang out a lot when I'm home. They realize that for me, going out and getting a beer is a way bigger expense proportionally than their weekend in Vegas was last month. They shop at Whole Foods, I shop at the farmer's market and Trader Joe's - but we still have potlucks. Often they are gracious enough to offer a free beer now and again, but I always can pay for my own if I decide to go out with them.

• Accept that for some people, stuff just isn't important at all, and that the quality of their life doesn't have to involve physical possessions of any kind. For example: right now I own just five t-shirts and four pairs of pants. Not as a matter of principle, but I just don't need any more than that as I move around a lot, they're nice enough for everyday life, and I replace them when they get old and tattered. I mean, I have work clothes and I have a suit, too. But I paid for all of those things without incurring debt; indeed, I buy nothing on credit: it's just really deeply important to me to save up for things.

• Make sure he knows that you'll be his friend whatever he decides to do, but that the financial feasibility of both of you moving to DC depends on him getting a better job - unless he can pay his share of the rent and bills with a similar $10-an-hour job. I assume he'd have a job offer before moving? That can help you budget things out and see if this is even possible.

• Recognize that you may never be happy living with anyone other than a romantic partner and your kids later in life, if you have them - that what you're feeling this isn't just about this guy, but would be about anyone you lived with. It's totally OK to not want to share your living space, but you need to frame it in a way that doesn't make it seem like everyone else can't meet your standards or something.

• If you decide not to move in together: Move into two smaller studios close to each other that are collectively larger than a tiny two-bedroom and enjoy the extra space when hanging out. Host parties, make dinner together, and at the end of the day, let him live on milk crates picking flies out of the air while you go home to the Corian countertops and the Wii. You can still remain friends even without sharing a place to live.
posted by mdonley at 12:46 PM on August 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


You just sound like you are hating the idea of living with him, so my advice is: don't. I don't think it would be very hard for you to find a place you love with the parameters you need.
posted by agregoli at 12:49 PM on August 18, 2008


Simply from the language you used in describing the situation, don't do it. You haven't even got a place together(yes, I read that he's currently sleeping on your floor, but that's different), and you're upset about the situation. The only rememdy is to not put yourself in that situation.
posted by owtytrof at 12:49 PM on August 18, 2008


You just sound like you are hating the idea of living with him, so my advice is: don't.

I think this bears repeating. I dont' think you are going to develop the perspective you need in the time you have to make this work long term. There's nothing wrong with believing that you and a close friend are going in different directions and feeling like you need space from that person to grow. You'll probably stay friends longer.
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2008


If you're hesitant about the idea of doing this, don't.

It doesn't sound like it's going to end well, and really it doesn't sound like the apartment the two of you would get together is really going to be a better situation for you than if you just got a (significantly more modest) place yourself.

Backing out of this may be awkward if you've already started to plan things, but I think you need to take a step back and realize that your friendship will probably not survive being roommates, if you go ahead with this.

Depending on your relationship with him, it might be better if you found a face-saving* reason for dropping the plan, rather than just telling him you don't want to live with him. Some people appreciate being told stuff like that flat-out, sometimes it's better to leave judgments about others left unsaid and just do your own thing.

* I mean face-saving for him, by the way, not for you. I.e., leave your feelings about his work ethic, cleanliness, and financial planning out of it, and make it clear that it's a decision you're making for your own reasons.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:03 PM on August 18, 2008


Depending on your relationship with him, it might be better if you found a face-saving* reason for dropping the plan, rather than just telling him you don't want to live with him. Some people appreciate being told stuff like that flat-out, sometimes it's better to leave judgments about others left unsaid and just do your own thing.

Well the fact that I do not officially have my position in DC yet will help the not-living-together argument. He just started his job there 2 weeks ago and I am just 90% sure I'm going to get the position I think I'm going to get. My move could be 6+ weeks away. What's he gonna do? Sleep on my floor for 6 weeks? I surely don't want that and I'm pretty sure he doesn't either.

But this situation helps me say "hey man, I think you should just go on your own way..."
posted by decrescendo at 1:20 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for a financial break in furnishing the apartment, then find a roommate with a salary similar to yours.

I suspect that your friend probably doesn't care about having a nicely furnished apartment, nor about supplying it with anything in particular. In fact, I would guess that accumulating "stuff" barely figures into his personal philosophy. After all, you note that his possessions fit into the trunk of a car. To me it sounds as if you are worried that he won't help provide for you, not that you will be forced to provide for him.

If you would like to share the financial burden of owning and buying "nicer-than-average stuff" with a roommate, then I recommend you select a well-salaried consumer who shares your penchant for Crate & Barrel and leave the old friend to his alcohol.
posted by dead_ at 1:26 PM on August 18, 2008


If you would like to share the financial burden of owning and buying "nicer-than-average stuff" with a roommate, then I recommend you select a well-salaried consumer who shares your penchant for Crate & Barrel and leave the old friend to his alcohol.

I really do not wish to come off sounding materialistic. I just wanted to make sure I noted that we seemed to be at different stages of our lives. That just seemed like a somewhat easy measure of that. I know I didn't have much when I was just moving away for my first job.

I'm just looking for ways to maybe make it more fair for me since I'm the one supplying everything he would end up buying or having a part in buying if we were BOTH just getting our first jobs and living together.
posted by decrescendo at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2008


An area of DC you might want to look at is Columbia Heights. It's really come a long way and is pretty reasonable and also has great day and night life. What's great about is that you'll end up meeting a lot of people your own age (I am 28) who are also in your position. Many, many people come to DC in support of someone else, even if the person who comes in support is the more successful person. I know a couple of people who have ended up kicking out the person they came to support the success of, because that person either could not or would not get it together.

I trust your trust that this guy will get his act together. I think the thing to do is make a benchmark timeline: if by this time, he has done this - that I have already done. The key to do this is to say that when you move to DC that you'll both be starting fresh with a new 12 month lease. So there's 12 months for your friend to change in some ways. But don't force yourself to be the benchmark for his success.

From what I can tell, your friend doesn't need a mentor, he needs a mother. That might be the person you invite to come help you move in. Have her stay a week to take him out and show him what's up.

When you do move in, drop me a line, we'll meet at the Red Derby for beers.
posted by parmanparman at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2008


I'm the one supplying everything he would end up buying

I think you should reexamine this assertion. You make it sound as though he doesn't buy anything, or need much of anything. It follows, then, that you will be spending your money on comforts for yourself, not for him.

So again, I'll suggest that if you are looking to ease the financial commitment of furnishing an apartment with expensive things then you should find a roommate who actually enjoys owning expensive things. Otherwise one of you will have to change your standards.
posted by dead_ at 1:35 PM on August 18, 2008


When you do move in, drop me a line, we'll meet at the Red Derby for beers.

I'll take you up on that for sure. Could use some more friends in the mid-20's in DC.
posted by decrescendo at 1:38 PM on August 18, 2008


From what I can tell, your friend doesn't need a mentor, he needs a mother.

I should have used the mother term to sum up all of this instead of a paragraph.

He's staying here on my floor as I mentioned and I already find myself cleaning up after him when he's leaving empty beer bottles lying around beside half-eaten bowls of food.

Don't get me wrong, I like to party as much as he does, but I am a lot......cleaner about it I guess?
posted by decrescendo at 1:40 PM on August 18, 2008


I've lived with friends who turned out to be terrible roommates a few times before. So I suggest you don't live together. Your gut tends to be right, and you will just build up resentment over these little things like prodding him to buy/clean stuff instead of enjoying your friendship.

This is especially true if you have to sign a long term lease and can't just escape. I liked parmanparman's idea of sort of a trial period, but 12 months is a pretty long time if things really go sour. And from what I've read so far, it sounds like it's gonna go sour . . . sorry. I mean, you already sound slightly bitter :P

But if you think making new plans is sort of leaving him in the lurch I'd try to find something month-to-month. Then if you want to get out just tell him you've made other arrangements, want to live alone, etc etc. In other words, white lies.

I think the general idea is to try to find a way to be friends without the potential roommate baggage, and to give yourself some flexibility if such baggage threatens to form.

Good luck!
posted by melvinwang at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2008


Story that might become reoccurring from this Saturday in DC:

We're at a club together along with some other friends of ours and he gets hammered and kicked out with my knowledge. I can't talk to him on the phone from inside the club and he doesn't text message.

He then takes a cab to somewhere he doesn't know, stumbles borderline blind around DC for the next 3 hours, and then I have to go track him down and lead him back to our hotel.

Shit like this is why I'm not sure how motherly I'm going to have to be if we live together there.
posted by decrescendo at 2:05 PM on August 18, 2008


I've been where you're thinking of going. Just don't do it. you already resent him, and that's only going to get a lot worse. Come up with some excuse why you can't move out there with him yet, talk him into getting his own place, and party together on occasion when you do move out there.

You can always find somewhere temporary while you get to the point you can afford it on your own, or find a roomie who isn't going to see you coming at him with a sharp knife because you.just.can't.stand.it.any.more.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:12 PM on August 18, 2008


I've had my share of roommates in the past, and thought of one thing that came to mind that I don't see mentioned here - it may or may not apply to you.

Not only should you be concerned with him pulling his fair share of the utilities - water, cable, internet, and so on - but that of common goods and food.

Since you have a little more extra cash, there's a good chance you buy goods that are 'better than the cheapest'. How will you feel if/when he goes to make a sandwich and finishes off the fancy deli-counter sandwich meat and gourmet mustard you bought? Assuming he's courteous enough to 'replace it', how will you feel when it's replaced with a package of oscar mayer baloney and store-brand plain mustard? Or perhaps you've splurged and bought the super-deluxe 3-ply toilet paper and when it's his turn to buy toilet paper he opts for the single-ply scottissue?

Again, this assumes that A) you prefer the nicer items and do buy them because you can afford to and B) that the two of you will be sharing responsibility in providing consumable goods.

Sharing the responsibility does make sense, or it did to me at least. Everyone chips in or takes turns, that way we don't have two gallons of milk in the fridge or a bunch of multi-packs of toilet paper.. but as I tend to prefer premium brands/items when I feel it's affordable to me, it became a problem when those items were used up and replaced with cheaper, inferior items. One time it's no big deal, but when it happens consistently it starts to get to you. Either that or you resolve yourself to not buy the things you really want, just to feel like you're not putting in more than your fair share.

I don't know whether that was my fault for being snobby with my choice of purchases or my roommates being cheap - the fact of the matter is that it was another source of irritation in all that goes with having a roommate.
posted by MarkLark at 2:12 PM on August 18, 2008


Not only should you be concerned with him pulling his fair share of the utilities - water, cable, internet, and so on - but that of common goods and food.

Yeah I played that sharing groceries bullshit in college. Hated every minute of it, but maybe it's because some of my roommates were assholes.

My college roommate experience wasn't horrible, but it was annoying enough to turn me off to roommates, now thinking of rooming with this friend of mine has got my head spinning.
posted by decrescendo at 2:21 PM on August 18, 2008


Honestly, if you resent him this much already, it's probably a terrible idea to begin living together for the long term. Every time you come home from work and there's dishes left out in the living room where he was drinking beer watching your plasma (and not using a coaster, natch), you're going to feel taken advantage of. These little things are going to build up until all you're doing is complaining to your other friends about how crazy he's driving you with his messiness and his passive aggressive post-its and constant complaining and nickle-and-diming and unwillingness to share the cooking or cleaning duties and eating your groceries without paying and and and...can you tell I've lived in one of these situations before?

It's totally possible to be friend--great friends, even--with someone and make piss poor living companions. Your reasoning doesn't have to be rational, but your home should be someplace you come back to at the end of a long day and relax in, not silently stew about your roommate. I say use the excuse about different timeframes of employment to find either a studio that's further away from where you want to live, or another roommate who matches better with what you're looking for. There's no shame in wanting the best for yourself, and while this guy might turn out to be totally fine, your gut's telling you something else.
posted by cosmic osmo at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2008


I just have such a massive head start that it might not be very compatible.

I have a year of real life and many years of maturity on him.

I just wanted to make sure I noted that we seemed to be at different stages of our lives.


He's ok with how he is and he may never make as much as you or buy things that you would buy or wake up early to clean the house. I would suggest not living with him, but maintain the friendship and lighten up a little about it. The next year in DC could be a year of professional growth for the both of you and maybe you can learn that you can appreciate people who aren't exactly like you.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:28 PM on August 18, 2008


Keep in mind the logistics of living together are already going to be rough because he's 2 weeks into a job and I have a 90% chance of getting mine.

Since it's a position with my current company I'm not going to immediately leave if it means screwing over my previous position's co-workers. This means it could be much longer than expected until I'm free to move to DC. It's already going to be hard to pull off living together since I don't want him sleeping on my floor for 8 more weeks.
posted by decrescendo at 2:29 PM on August 18, 2008


The next year in DC could be a year of professional growth for the both of you and maybe you can learn that you can appreciate people who aren't exactly like you.

I've been thinking that too. Maybe I wouldn't have wanted to live with myself one year ago before I entered the "real world".
posted by decrescendo at 2:31 PM on August 18, 2008


I wouldn't have wanted to live with myself one year ago before I entered the "real world".

Everyone lives in the real world.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:38 PM on August 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Are you thinking of moving in with someone else or being on your own? If you move in with someone else, and you come with all the stuff needed, you're still in the boat of, "Once we move in, he'll end up not having to buy a damn thing." Otherwise you'll have to get rid of some of your stuff. Just something to think about.

Regardless, I don't think this particular guy is going to be a good roommate for you. Great friends does not equal great roommates. When selecting a roommate, you need someone that you can happily live with, and being friends is just gravy.

(On preview: There is nothing wrong with not wanting to live with him, regardless of how you might have been one year ago. When I was 25, I didn't want to live with 21-year-olds. They were just at a different stage than I was and though I could learn to appreciate them - I realized I didn't want/need to have to do so at that point in my life.)
posted by ml98tu at 2:40 PM on August 18, 2008


You know the answer already. Avoid getting yourself into this situation.
posted by gnutron at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2008


Sounds to me like you're contemplating living with some aerospace-engineer variant of Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.

And, really, the Dude would not abide. You don't like the Creedence and you wish he'd become a Little Lebowski Urban Achiever instead.

This aggression would not stand, man. Find a new roommate.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:44 PM on August 18, 2008


Read what you wrote, both in your post and the responses. Now pretend someone else was asking the question. What would you say?

It doesn't even matter what the objective situation is -- you are already getting sufficiently annoyed at him that every little thing he does will be another example of how lazy and slovenly he is. That won't do wonders for either your friendship or living situation.
posted by bsdfish at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2008


This question assumes that everyone has some magic "real world" switch inside their heads. Once activated, this switch makes you stop being messy, start buying expensive consumer goods, desire to do productive things all the time, and not get drunk & do stupid shit. Unfortunately, there's no such switch. I know people who are over 40, have college degrees, and they still leave piles of stuff on the floor (and they've done so ever since they were old enough to have a floor to leave stuff on).

I suggest that what you are defining as the "joining the real world" is really just "adhering to my beliefs and values about how an adult should live and behave." From roomate experiences, you can't force someone to have the same beliefs and values that you do. If you live together you can enjoy the dissonance (you get to learn, first-hand, about another person's beliefs and attitudes about how an adult should live and behave), or you can try to work out an arrangement that works for both of you, but you can't change someone's core beliefs about how messy is too messy by being the constantly annoyed roomate.
posted by holyrood at 4:35 PM on August 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Done it. Don't do it!
Adulthood comes on at different speeds and adults and juveniles don't tend to live together happily - at least in my experience.
posted by figment at 4:58 PM on August 18, 2008


Your involvement in this thread makes it seem to me like you're looking for rationalizations about why you can't live with this dude. If that's the case, then I'm sure you'll find some great ones. Going into a living situation with this level of apprehension would be insane, in my opinion. Regardless of whether or not your friend enters your version of the real world, you'll be constantly concerned with his progress toward your goals. If you're hoping to help him make some sort of transition, ask yourself if he really wants that kind of help. If not, you're probably gonna be pissed when he continues to live his own life.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:50 PM on August 18, 2008


Find another roommate. Try Craig's List.
posted by orange swan at 6:03 PM on August 18, 2008


For his sake, do not move in with him. When I was reading your question, I thought that you had an almost smug attitude about the situation. No one needs to live with that. If he's a good guy, then he'll find another roommate. You'll find someone that you don't resent and in the long run you'll still be friends.

It's great that you're doing so well professionally, but it's good to remember that different people get their careers rolling at different rates. Part of living in the "real world" is accepting that not everyone has the same ambitions or opportunities as you do.
posted by 26.2 at 7:56 PM on August 18, 2008


Don't move in with him.

I am the poor student living with friends who have real jobs and have fully stocked wardrobes and furniture and shit. I also happen to be the one who is going to go nuts if the others don't start washing the dishes and replacing the cereal when they finish it. It's not about being at a different stage of life, it's about having a different attitude to things. If I ever move in with a friend again, I will warn them beforehand that I am fussy and those dishes WILL BE WASHED and No Leaving Food In the Living Room and etc etc. And they'd better have the same approach, or it'll take about three weeks before I start secretly hating them for leaving that coffee cup on the bookshelf for two days.
posted by jacalata at 9:00 PM on August 18, 2008


From the way you describe him, you don't even like this guy, let alone have any respect for him. Why on earth would you even consider living with him? If you're already this resentful, I can't imagine what the day-to-day stresses of roommate life will bring.

The kindest thing you can do for your friendship is to find separate apartments. Happy house-hunting.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:31 PM on August 18, 2008


DON'T DO IT.

As a datapoint, in May, I moved in with a "good friend" who sounds exactly like the potential roommate you describe. He's a great friend, but a horrible roommate. He does pay his bills, but I have yet to see him do a lick of housework, and when I get home from work, he's usually asleep on my couch (watching my tv, having used my dishes and my laptop, and leaving them strewn about the living room). I could go on. For hours. Don't do it.
posted by rinosaur at 5:48 AM on August 19, 2008


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