How To Tell Your Roommate You Want To Live With Other People
By Amanda Cohen
Confrontation is never easy, especially when it’s with a friend, a colleague, a family member, or a roommate. Having a roommate at some point in your life is, usually, guaranteed: whether that be in a college dorm room, a sorority house, a post-college apartment, or any other living situation you might find yourself in after you move out of your house. However, when things might seem all well and good at first, it is possible, and sometimes even inevitable, that you will be ready to part ways with your roommate (or roommates). The question remains: how do you go about having this conversation with your roommates/roommate? There is not one perfect answer… the answer will vary depending on your situation. Here is some advice on how to have “the conversation” with your roommate/roommates that are mature, assertive, yet fair, and, most importantly, respectful.
I am a firm believer that honesty is the best policy. When telling your roommate that you want to live with other people, explain to him/her why. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might be ready to live with someone new, but here are some ways to express yourself in regards to common reasons why people move out and move in with other people:
- “Our schedules are so different and I am looking to live with someone with a similar sleeping, social, and academic/career schedule as me.”
- “We’ve lived together for so long now and I want to move in with other people just because I think it’s time to do something different.”
- “We are very opposite when it comes to how we like to maintain our apartment and deal with apartment issues. I feel like we would both be better off living with someone who is more similar to us in that regard.”
- “I haven’t been myself recently and I’m worried that it has something to do with my current living situation. I think I need to explore other options to better my mental health.”
These are by no means the only reasons why you might be ready to move in with someone else, but these are situations that I know have come up in actual peoples’ lives. The important takeaways from the four quotations above are: (1) directness, (2) honesty, and (3) respect.
Let’s talk about directness. When dealing with potentially uncomfortable conversations, it is easy to ramble and hide your point underneath a lot of unnecessary phrases and comments. The more direct you are, the more your roommate will understand and you will be less likely to have to repeat the uncomfortable conversation in the future.
Now, honesty. There is no reason to lie to your roommate. The only time a fib is acceptable is if you’ve grown to really dislike your roommate and you want to spare his/her feelings. If your decision to move out is mental-health related and you don’t want to share that with your roommate, all you have to say is that some personal issues that you don’t want to discuss have come up.
Lastly, respect. None of the four above statements were hostile nor accusatory. There is no need for blame, raised voices, or anger when you have this conversation (even if you are really upset with your roommate).
The next thing to cover is what should you do if your roommate gets sad or angry. Comfort your roommate, explain that this decision is what you have to do to maintain your overall wellbeing and that it doesn’t mean that you hate your roommate. Explain to your roommate that he/she has plenty of other roommate and housing options and that you will help him/her find a place to live and a roommate if he/she wants you to. If they start raising their voice, tell him/her that you are going to step away for a bit and let him/her process what you said and that you are willing to have a coherent, non-aggressive conversation about the situation when he/she is ready. Don’t engage in a hostile situation… it’s not worth it. If your roommate doesn’t come around and remains angry and aggressive, let them stay that way because you’ve already said your piece; there is only so much you can do.
I know it might seem scary to have this sort of conversation with someone, but if your current roommate situation is affecting you in a negative way, then you should absolutely move out. When it comes to your health and happiness, you need to take matters into your own hands and do what you need to do. However, make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you have this conversation; make sure you have alternative living plans and that you have a roommate, roommates, or a living space where you can live alone. There is no sense in having this conversation if you aren’t for sure leaving. Good luck, you got this!
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