I live in a cheap three-bedroom apartment in New York City. One of my roommates is a very old family friend. We grew up together, had sleepovers, and called each other “BFFs.” I moved away from New York for many years, during which time we lost touch, and when I moved back to the city two years ago, learned that she was between jobs and looking for a place. I had just signed a lease, so asked her to be a roommate, thinking that we could rekindle some of our childhood memories. Unfortunately, she’s turned out to be a really strange person. She’s in the apartment for two days a month max, and whenever I see her and (breezily, I think) ask where she’s been, she caustically responds that it’s none of my business. She pays her rent on time most of the time, but every time she does, she rolls her eyes and acts like she’s doing me a huge favor (I think she’s still unemployed, two years later, and her parents are paying her rent). Anyway, I’m really tired of her negative energy and her absolute lack of contribution to the apartment. I’d like to kick her out, but it’s a little delicate. For one, we’ve known each other since we were six and our parents are still friends. Second, I’m terrible at confrontation. What should I do? P.S. You’ve officially won the Internet by creating and maintaining this blog.
Congratulations on your cheap three bedroom! And condolences regarding your asshat of a roommate. And thank you so much! I am so pleased to have won the Internet. I’d like to thank my parents, my husband, my friends who have been so supportive, and Al Gore!
It’s time to fire this lady, and get her out of your face forever—hooray! Here’s the kicker. You can’t ask her to leave. You just can’t. If this woman were a random craigslister, you might be able to get away with that. But she’s not, and you need to preserve relations—scratch that: you need to make an effort to preserve relations—between your families. You are the one who is unhappy (or at least able to identify that you are unhappy…while she certainly sounds glum, she hasn’t complained), so you are going to have to offer to do the leaving. Start looking for apartments, like, yesterday. If y’all have
another roommate who is less of a piss-ant, take him or her with you! Secure yourselves an affordable double and breathe the sigh of relief that comes with banishing sorry-ass attitudes from your domicile. (This apartment looks great. The design is nothing less than “stunning”! I turned it up after five seconds. You can do even better! You will find apartment love!) Oh my lord, you are going to feel so good—so very relaxed, every single time you unlock your front door and step inside. I can’t wait for you to be rid of your Roommate With Bad Vibes.
Then say to the asshat, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like this living arrangement is working out for me. I’m thinking of moving to Prospect Heights with some friends at the end of the month. Just wanted to give you as much notice as possible.” And then get the hell out of Dodge.
I’m worried, though. I’m worried that you’re going to feel one of two ways: 1) entitled to keep this apartment, which will lead you to Do the Wrong Thing, or 2) overwhelmed by the idea of looking for a whole new cheap apartment when you already have one. But stay strong and don’t give in! Above the doors of my high school were written—in a very peppy font, of course—“Dream! Believe! Achieve!” And that is just what you need to do. Know that leaving the apartment is the right thing to do, and will enable you—and your parents—to feel that the family name has gone unsullied. (Know, too, that this lady may just say, “Whatever, I’m leaving anyway, I hate you,” and you won’t even have to make good on your promise to leave!) Know that you can and will find another apartment. It may be inferior, it may be superior, but I promise it will be both good and bad, overall, and you will, regardless, be so much happier. There is always another apartment.
Now is the time to think of your life as a MasterCard ad:
Man with a van: $500. New colander and nonstick pan to replace those owned by your crappy, crappy roommate: $35. Not flinching every time you hear the deadbolt in the front door slide back: Fucking priceless. There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else…