Make It Stop: My New Roommate Won’t Leave Me Alone!

I just moved to a new city and found a roommate “Ellie” on Craigslist. I made it clear when I moved in that I need my solitude sometimes. I tried to be close with her, but I need home to be my recharge place, not my socializing place (introvert problems). I notice myself getting aggravated whenever she talks to my friends or asks me too many questions. I also get tense sometimes when she just gets home and vents about her day to me, or is in my personal space for too long. That’s not fair or nice to either of us! How do I make my roommate my roommate and let her know I’m not interested in having her be my best pal?

I’m basically the teapot in “Beaty and the Beast” because I’m singing “Tale as Old as Time” at you. This is a classic roommate problem. She wants someone to share bitch sessions over nachos and you want a someone who just pays their bills on time. Obviously, you have different expectations here. It doesn’t sound like you two were on the page from the get-go.

Aside from posting a “KEEP OUT” sign on your door, your short-term options are to either continue to be passive-aggressive or address this issue head-on.

We all know how to give a cold shoulder. You could start closing your bedroom door when you’re home. You could respond to her questions with one word answers. Basically do everything but have a neon sign saying, “I’m not interested in your life so stop pestering me!”

But you don’t want to do that. You want peaceful respect in your home, not childish, immature games.

Yes, you’ve already tried to warn her but it seems like she might need you to be more explicit. When you’re ready, tell Ellie, “I think you’re a terrific roommate and I want to be upfront with you. I struggle with being an introvert so if I keep to myself a lot, know it’s not you, it’s just my personality. I know you like venting when you get home, but it actually stresses me out and makes me anxious. As long as you pay your bills on time and respect my need to withdraw, we’re cool!” And see what she says.

She’s probably picked up on your “stop talking” vibes so she might appreciate you being straightforward with her about this. And it might diffuse whatever tension’s been simmering below the surface. What’s great about roommates is that it keeps your bills down. The crummy part is you have to communicate about these issues which might be out of your comfort zone. But you can do it!

As a longterm solution, try your best to wind the clock down until your lease is up. You won’t live with Ellie forever. This situation is temporary. In the coming months, keep an eye out for a better roommate to live with when your lease is up, or save up so you can get a place by yourself. Use this time to plan your next living situation so you’ll never be in this position again.