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judochop's avatar

I need advice regarding a roommate.

Asked by judochop (16001 points ) April 3rd, 2010

My life long friend (more like a brother than a friend) moved in to my house in October. He is some what clean, friendly and easy to live with however he does not help out around the house at all and is sometimes late on rent and bills. He is unemployed and hardly ever leaves the house. He has not once helped in the yard on his own and barely sweeps or dusts. His mother is dying of cancer, he can’t find a job, does not have a girlfriend….I know my brother is down in the dumps. I’ve asked for help several times and I still hardly get anything in return. He has never given a security deposit and none of the bills are in his name. All of the furniture and everything in the house is mine. I have really nice things and I want some security in knowing that they will always be nice things which means taking care of the things on a daily basis. I am tired of living with an extra body in the house. I know he can’t afford to move out. What do I do? This is driving me crazy. Do I suck it up or do I tell him he has to move out?

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29 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Maybe if he got some assistance with his depression he would be a better roommate.

tedibear's avatar

I have to say that I know very little about men’s conversations with each other. Those that I have heard have always seemed very straightforward. In my opinion, I think you’re better off sucking it up and letting him know that you need him to do stuff around the house. It sounds like he may be so blue (jobless and a dying mom certainly giving him reason) that he might not realize he needs to do more.

I know when I’m feeling depressed, the house goes to hell in a handbasket. What I have found is that moving around and doing something helps me break that cycle. He might feel better about himself because he’s being productive.

And then, whatever @dpworkin said, because his advice is usually good!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You’ve got a difficult situation, and I wish you the best of luck in working it out.

I would suggest sitting down with him and being as open and honest as possible about his possible depression and that you need help with the housework. Perhaps you could make a list of chores. Give it a shot.

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jerv's avatar

Roomies can be difficult like that. I know mine is from time to time.

I usually find that just laying it all out is the best policy. Why do you think my roomie does half the cleaning now? He used to do more when he was unemployed in an attempt to earn his keep, but now that he can actually cover his share of the bills, he does less around the house.

nope's avatar

What is your heart telling you to do? What is the outcome you would MOST want? Kicking him out of the house without having a discussion with him seems like a cop out, but we don’t necessarily have the whole story.

Why don’t you do the hard thing first? That would be to sit him down, and tell him you should’ve talked about these things before he moved in, but since you didn’t, you’ll talk about them now. Let him know your expectations & frustrations, and see where it goes.

No motivation is definitely a symptom of depression, if indeed he’s depressed (and it sure sounds like he is). The advice above is good, have him seek help, and try to get him moving around and contributing…it will not only help HIM, but it will help you, too. Good luck!

nikipedia's avatar

What would happen to him if you kicked him out?

judochop's avatar

@CyanoticWasp That is kind of what I am looking for here. You are right. I should not be such a selfish, prick, baby about things however it is making my living less enjoyable and it is not like this just started yesterday.
@nikipedia If I booted him I imagine that he would have to move back to the East Coast or couch surf and that is not going to help him out any and after all is said an d done I do love him, he is family to me.

judochop's avatar

I also do not want to disable him.

dpworkin's avatar

You say he is family to you: I suggest you have a frank talk with him, not about his behavior as a roommate, but about his depression, and that he needs assistance with it.

Just_Justine's avatar

If he is like family then you take the good with the bad, but of course make it known you need a little help around the place. Him being useful will actually help a bit with the depression. Perhaps you not saying anything at all, he thinks its OK.

marinelife's avatar

It sounds as though your friend may be depressed. I would tell him that it is not working out for you, and let him know that he has to find a new place to live. Give him a deadline that allows him plenty of time to get money together.

jazmina88's avatar

There are givers and takers in this world.

I gave to a depressed taker for 2 years and lost alot…..and it caused me much pain.

How much do you love him?? I am compassionate, but you have to look out for yourself too. I keep my emotions in…..til I “blow”. Not pretty at all.

You dont want disable him, but you are enabling him.

Speak to him honestly now. Friends can be real. Help him get on his feet, not land on your couch.

srtlhill's avatar

@ Judochop
if memory serves you have a trip coming up?
It’s not fair to have the extra stress of a man in your house that you can’t depend on, weather you’re there or not.
Tell him what you need and if he doesn’t change you won’t continue to enable his selfish behavior.
I’m not saying be mean I’m saying be honest. This may be the jumpstart he needs.
Good luck and I hope it works out. This is a tough situation.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You have to set your flatmate straight.
Let the person know that they are welcome so long as they help out and pay bills on time.
Otherwise, they are taking advantage of you. If you let it go on like this there is no reason for him to change.

zophu's avatar

Is it really just, deal with him as he is, or kick him out? If he’s really your “brother” then act like it and find a way to set him strait. If you have to threaten to kick him out, fine; but your “nice things” should be nothing to you compared to your brother.

judochop's avatar

@zophu that is really easy to say when it is not “your” nice things. I’ve worked hard and spent good money on my nice things and I do not like to sit idle and watch someone waste away on my nice things. Family or not. It is not like he is getting blood on my sheets from an accidental gunshot. He is dissolving away in self pity.

zophu's avatar

Then, you should kick him out with a blessing and a prayer…? Save yourself from watching him waste away.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. If you don’t need his money to help you maintain the place have a talk with him, start by telling him you understand how hard the job market is and his mom’s cancer but then tell him life goes on though. Tell him even with all that going on there are things that still have to be done. And if he don’t want to do them he can find ways not to interact with them as much as possible and also he should think of an exit strategy. And have a time limit. Then if he feels he can do better and cheaper elsewhere he can go to it. I have had relatives like that and if you don’t nudge them they will never think there is nothing wrong going about as they have and not change.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

If he is not paying his way financially and is not attempting to help out around the place and do what he can do instead of paying his way financially, kick him out. If he isn’t looking for work, kick him out. Even work he might find beneath him, beggars cannot be choosers, if a job asking ‘do you want fries with that?’ is all he can get right now, he needs to take it and help out.

dpworkin's avatar

@rahm_sahriv Wow, I’m glad I don’t rely on you for compassionate care.

jerv's avatar

@rahm_sahriv Around here, even that sort of job isn’t easy to get. It took me over a year to find a job, and I wasn’t picky.

@dpworkin Compassion is a quality that only those who have been poor at least once in their lives have. Many people have never had it rough in their lives though, so it’s easy for them to talk like that.
If they were ever in a position where they actually had to worry about where there next meal would come from (or if they’ll even have one), they would probably be singing a different tune.

YARNLADY's avatar

Try to help him get public assistance, such as food stamps and General Assistance so he can help with the expenses, and hire a housekeeper.

judochop's avatar

@YARNLADY I have already done that. I’ve offered all that I can offer at this point and I really am just trying to find the right words to sit down and talk to him about it all now.
This is past the point of compassion. I have been where he has been before and I have used services to help myself in the past. I am not ignorant to what he is going through. I’ve never had help with anything except a security deposit for a rental when I was 26. At what point does compassion over throw the reality of things is what I keep asking myself now. Do I jeopardize my peace and harmony in my own home that I’ve opened up or do I just turn the other cheek? I know that in my heart the right thing to do is to suck it up however somedays I feel like I am borderline heart attack for how angry I get inside when I clean and pay bills on time and see a grown man that I care about just sit on the couch or stack his dishes up beside the sink.

escapedone7's avatar

Pin him down. Make him write down some goals in life. These goals should be thought up by him and depends entirely on where he is at in life. Tell him you aren’t kicking him out but insist he has a plan for his life with several goals he is consistently working towards. His life plan can’t be living with you forever. Break down what he has to do to be working toward the goals. Occasionally ask for a report, and perhaps even give him a deadline to meet at least one of his goals. Basically you might have to be more like a mom to him than a buddy, and give him a little kick in the britches.

@dpworkin knows his stuff. Getting his depression under control would be at least one very good goal. Another goal might be to take a food safety course or other vocational training that might put him ahead of the game, learning to drive a truck, etc. The goals should be what he wants to do with his life, but then ask what he’s doing to make it happen.

dpworkin's avatar

Jeeze, hasn’t anyone here read anything at all about the nature of depression, ever? If he doesn’t get help with the underlying problem (and it is not difficult to get such help) everything else is just spinning your wheels.

escapedone7's avatar

Yes @dpworkin . I have one brother that needs treatment badly but I’ve found I can’t force anyone to cooperate, go to counseling, or even open their mouth to a counselor, or take medicine they don’t want to take. People only get as much help as they want to get. I don’t know the way around that.

dpworkin's avatar

He won’t improve. If the roommate won’t get help, he will no doubt have to leave.

YARNLADY's avatar

@judochop From what you say, a parting of the ways sounds like the only choice left for you.

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