AdviceHey, Bonita!

My Roommate Won’t Leave Me Alone

Hey Bonita!

I am having some roommate troubles. My room is on the first floor of the house alongside the common areas (living room, kitchen, etc.), and everyone else’s is upstairs. One of my roommates treats my room as if it’s just an extension of the common area and tries to enter, loudly (and repeatedly) calls my name or knocks on my door when my door is closed and lights are off. It seems obvious to everyone else that I’m either sleeping, enjoying intimate time with my fiancé or studying in private, but she just disregards the facts and seems to intrude almost on purpose (especially when my fiancé is visiting).

When I try to have a conversation about privacy and respecting my space, she immediately assumes the position of the victim and says, “I thought you were my friend and I could ask you for things,” and then literally pouts and actually stomps around the house for WEEKS without talking to me at all. Her boyfriend also reaches out to me, trying to explain her side of things when he wasn’t even there to begin with! The only way to stop the pouting is for me to go upstairs and have a conversation where I feel like I need to apologize just to spare the awkwardness and my other roommates from the weirdness. She also is quick to say, “Yeah, I have been really anxious in the house since our conversation and barely eating,” which, once again, puts me in a weird position because how am I supposed to have adult conversations with her if she acts this way? The whole thing just feels so childish and is exhausting.

Yours truly,

Irritated and Annoyed

Hey Irritated,

Wow, I am annoyed on your behalf. I can’t think of any way to justify this person’s behavior or make the way she treats you acceptable. As a roommate, she is being shamelessly inconsiderate of her housemate and acting as if she’s one of those parents who don’t allow their kids to shut their bedroom doors. Even if she was a homeowner renting out spare rooms, this kind of behavior crosses the line by disregarding another adult’s agency and treating them like a child with no rights. As a friend, this person’s behavior is pure trash. The entitlement is shocking—not only does she demand and abuse your emotional labor with statements about being entitled to your time because you’re friends, but the guilt-tripping is completely uncalled for. You did not tell her to stop eating—that is a choice she’s making, and I have respect for anxiety and trauma responses, but trying to blame that on you is completely uncalled for and rather disturbing. Her boyfriend is not part of this in any way (unless he’s paying rent, which I assume he’s not, so shut up dude) and should not be intervening on her behalf. He is enabling her childishness and guaranteeing that her roommates will resent the hell out of him.

Do not apologize to her. You have nothing to apologize for, and she is the only one in this scenario who needs to make amends. The only thing you need to do is assert your right to your own room and your right to be left alone, to sleep through the night with no interruptions. She is attempting to make this about your commitment to your friendship when this has nothing to do with that, and she’s doing that to avoid copping to the fact that she’s a self-centered and rude roommate, on top of being a bad friend. She sounds like she has esteem and self-image issues, but those are not your problem. 

The next time she knocks, ignore it. And ignore her, too, if she goes into another anger stomp. And ignore her boyfriend if he tries to intervene. I’ll be blunt: Those two sound like young idiots, and you are miles more mature than them. Might be time for a friend inventory.

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