General Question

SassyPink's avatar

My roommate doesn't clean after herself?

Asked by SassyPink (279points) April 1st, 2014

I currently stayed in a four bedroom suite and share a bathroom with one of my roommates. Let’s called them roommate A,B, and C for the sake of argument. I share a bathroom with roommate C, the roommate that rarely talks to us and that we hardly see around. Unless I ask her to do so otherwise from time to time, she almost never cleans after herself. I live on campus before and I never really have problems like this with my last roommate i.e. where we both compromise and have a weekly bathroom routine. C and I didn’t really have a routine. We both agreed that we would clean up after ourselves and take turns supplying the toilet paper after it finishes. Lately, I seem to be the only one that is supplying my own toilet paper and tried to ask her if she has more available after I ran out a few weeks back (I still currently kept extra rolls in my room).

She also leaves her hair and other personal things all over the sink. She would also leave her dishes in the kitchen sink until me and the other roommate decided to put up a sign.

Before spring break I cleaned the bathroom up and everything else after myself right before I leave. Not too long ago when I return to my suite from spring break and went to use the bathroom, I lift up the toilet cover to discover that she didn’t flush! A grown woman who doesn’t flush after herself before she leaves. (Sadly this would be her second time, the first time I choose to ignore the problem and flush it anyways.) I have to step outside of my own suite to use a public restroom instead. Right now I’m expecting C to return back and flush after her own mess when she notices the stench.

I don’t want to make her feel bad for calling her out or by telling my other roommates about it. A and B on the other hand seem to have better bathroom compromise than C and I. I also don’t want her to get defensive either or resort to an argument if I tried to talk to her. The ironic part too is that she works with student housing and resident assistants, yet she doesn’t know how to take care of her habits on campus.

How should I deal with my roommate at this point?

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19 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

The only way that anything will change is if you directly confront her. Anything else is dancing around the problem, and nothing will change.

You need to develop the spine to speak up. This is a real problem. At like an adult and deal with it.

gailcalled's avatar

If you do nothing, why should she bother changing her behavior? She now has all the power.

If you insist on an adult negociation, which at your age, you should be learning how to do, you decide that you do not care that;

1) she feels bad
2) she gets defensive
3) she becomes argumentative

You don’t try to talk to her; you talk to her. You certainly share the information with A and B.

Congratulations, by the way, on your vastly improved writing skills. That was both readable and clear. Now upgrade your behavior in a similar manner.

marinelife's avatar

Do not worry about her feelings or her reaction. Get the other roommates together and make a bathroom care set of rules and put it in place.

Smitha's avatar

I think you will have to talk to her. You have every right to. Not only is it disgusting, but also a health issue. Just tell her nicely or put up a sign in the bathroom, reminding whoever uses the toilet to flush. One of the two shall work.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I agree with @marinelife about getting the group together. I think you should have a house meeting, addressing a number of living together rules. Cover things like eating each others’ food, finding needed class materials, message board – is one needed?, bathroom duties, etc. Don’t point any fingers, just bring up various issues for all of you to discuss. If she sees agreement between three of you, she can’t feel like you are being mean to her. She will see that she is the one not living up to normal expectations.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think it should be one-on-one between you and her, no need to involve everyone and embarass her. Maybe she doesn’t know any better and you can help teach her to manage her mess appropriately. Try to be sensitive because you really don’t know how other people are raised.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, you must speak up, clearly and directly. Simple….” If you do not keep the bathroom clean you will be kicked out.” That’s it, no emotional arguing, no excuses, keep theings clean or find a new place to live.
If she wants to be mad, that’s her problem.

dxs's avatar

I have pain-in-the-ass roommates, too! If there’s a problem, don’t be passive-aggressive. That won’t help at all. Talk to her about it, but that doesn’t mean act like a jerk. Talk in a nice but serious tone. If she starts getting angry and argues, keep your composure and don’t argue back.

josie's avatar

Throw her out. Why should you suffer a slob? You are a human being being. Human beings do not like filth and disorder. It bothers them, and/or makes them uncomfortable. Critters, and sub humans, do not see what the big deal is. Save yourself. Screw the roommate.

Kraigmo's avatar

If she obeyed the kitchen sink sign (as she should), then perhaps she will obey a sign in the bathroom: “Please leave the sink area clear so we both have access to it when we need it”.

You’ll have to be prepared that she’ll never truly own up to her mess. Just partially so. That’s all you can expect from someone as thoughtless and stupid as she is. Her behavior can be improved with tact, but it will never match your valid expectations.

Seriously though, roommates who trash common areas are trash themselves. It’s a basic observation that anyone who is not an idiot can get: when you share a sink, you don’t leave stuff in it. It’s not ones own storage space.

SassyPink's avatar

@everybody I recently talk to my other roommate regarding the situation and decided to have another serious one-on-one chat with C regarding the bathroom situation soon and her general poor habits. I’m planning on doing what @Coloma, @dxs, @KNOWITALL, @marinelife, @smitha have suggested by finding a better way for the two of us to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, the roommate next to me is still not here today. So I wouldn’t be able to confront her about it at the moment. The other roommate and I are also planning on having a meditation regarding the garbage situation sooner. We are going to make sure that everyone has the chance to take out the trash each week as oppose to leaving all the grunt work to 1–2 roommates.

My apologies if the previous description sound like I was venting a bit btw. I was frustrated at the time and was the only one around. I posted this question up in the middle of the night before I went to bed.

kimchi's avatar

If it bothers you this much, you need to talk to her. You can’t hide this from her for forever. Have her sit down and talk to you, make sure there’s no distractions. Make a list of all the things you notice that bother you and show it to her. There’ll be a big difference once she knows.

SassyPink's avatar

@elbanditoroso After the toilet stunt do you really believe that I’m going to keep my options to myself at this point?

@gailcalled No she doesn’t have all the power. The agreement that we both have at the time since we first moved in is to pick up after ourselves. She actually does clean up after herself from time to time… However most of those circumstances are base on times when she gets told otherwise or when signs are posted. I’m not looking to avoid the conversation with C at all, I’m looking for a more effective solution to deal with her behavior better than to just constantly getting on her case more and start nagging her about her bathroom habits. I’m not her mother. Nor it should not always take ME or someone else to get her to take responsibility for her own actions.

I would not have much of an issue talking to that roommate if she is actually more open to talk with, e.g. the recent conversation between myself and the other roommate. My main issue/concern isn’t whether or not I chose to confront roommate C at all, it is more about how I should confront a reserved roommate about a problem without making her feel uncomfortable, hostile, or resentful. @KNOWITALL may have a valid point there. I don’t know too much about her lifestyle to just make wild assumptions about her behavior. While she is actually a nice person, she always seem to be very busy and keeping things to herself. She hardly talks to the other roommates even when one of us want to strike a small conversation with her.

SassyPink's avatar

@kimchi What really bothers me so much is the recent toilet incident. XD That one is already somewhat the last straw for me since I clean it right before I left. Who knows how long her business has been sitting in there? Could be for the entire week.

I’m going to confront the roommate about her bathroom habits. Let her know how things are getting out of hand and how we’re not really communicating well with each other regarding her behavior. => i.e. Strict weekly schedule for bathroom clean up. My other roommate suggested not to bring up the toilet situation at all to her unless it happens again very recently. (She felt that the roommate wasn’t aware that she allows it to happened on purpose.)

SassyPink's avatar

How I agree with you, @Kraigmo. Her inconsiderateness is a problem. While she is not a horrible roommate, her poor habits are just a little questionable. It not only something that I should deal with regarding bathroom rules, it something the rest of the roommates should also work on too regarding the common area situation. As one of the housing staff member, whose job is probably the reason why she gets to living on campus in the first place, she really should have known better.

LornaLove's avatar

I too think you should chat to her privately. Some people just do not see being tidy or clean as important. You could say that to her in fact. Mention that you realize that people’s approaches are different and ask her if she help you out. That means make it as though you are asking a favor. People do like to be asked for help, it makes them feel a little more important.

You could also put cute signs like Please Flush Me, on the toilet handle to remind her.

You could also buy some cheap basket like items for you both to throw in your brushes and combs. They are pretty and do not consist of work if they look fun.

Leave a spray bottle of cleaning soap for the bathroom sink.

There are some great fun cleaning things around these days, special bath wiping devices that can clean shower walls and baths with one wipe and have cool fun things stuck on them.

There is an area near to me that the community is cleaning up. Apparently crime is high there, so is drug use. I guess the neglected look it had before added to the general sense of we don’t care feeling that community seemed to have for the place. Now, it has beautiful plants, the graffiti has gone and it sparkles. The people there are really happy with the result and it has changed their behavior and outlook on life.

dxs's avatar

@SassyPink Let us know how it goes!

deni's avatar

This is the basic roommate conflict. You need to straight up tell her or things aren’t going to change. Or, throw out her shit if she doesn’t clean it.

sara_bjelanovic's avatar

i think that you should tell her to start cleaning after herself or youll throw her out. give her a week, then see if she needs to go

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