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Hey Holly: Disrespectful Roommates

Hey Holly,

My roommate has no respect for me or my belongings. She is always borrowing my stuff without asking first and when I mention it to her she just brushes it off as it’s no big deal! How do I get her to actually listen to me and ask me before she uses my stuff?


A Frustrated Roommate

Dear Frustrated Roommate,

Choosing a roommate is like playing the lottery, because you never know if you will win the jackpot or…lose your mind.  Living with a roommate can be hard, especially if you are both strangers living under the same roof. Growing up, you likely weren’t raised with the same values, so it’s inevitable that you are going to have conflicts.

I am tempted to tell you to do the same with her belongings to show her how annoying and disrespectful it is. If talking to her isn’t working, maybe this way she would get the picture and understand that you aren’t happy with her behaviour. She can’t just borrow your stuff without asking you. However, I really don’t recommend this “solution” because it will not resolve the problem and only put more fuel into the fire.

The best answer is indeed communication. Tell her that you “need to talk,” that should indicate to her that you are serious. If she says that she isn’t available right this instant, then schedule a time that work for both of you. During that meeting, explain to her why you don’t want her to borrow your stuff without asking. If you don’t mind sharing your things, just tell her that she should ask you before using something of yours. If you aren’t at home, suggest that she sends you a text message before taking your things. However, you have to listen to her side as well. You never know what might come out of her. Also, if you haven’t done it before, I think it would be a good idea to set some house rules, so everyone know where they stand. Try to come up with some rules that you can both live with.

After that, give it time to see if things fall in place. Both of you, especially her, will have to adjust. If she’s not willing to compromise, you could look into getting a lock for your room, that way she wouldn’t be able to take your things without asking. It may be difficult living in a hostile environment where you feel you need to hide your things from your roommate. If all else fails, you might need to find a new roommate that will have respect for you and your belongings.



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