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asmonet's avatar

Roommates: Do you think this is unreasonable?

Asked by asmonet (21380points) January 21st, 2010

I currently live with my brother, who has very, very few friends in the area. He normally relies on me for most socializing. For the last few days we’ve been arguing fairly regularly and in my opinion rather pointlessly.

The situation is this, we have a new large TV in our living room that he bought and I have a new laptop. I also have a computer in my room as well as a small TV. After work for the last three days, which have been unusually stressful I have mentioned I did not feel like talking and I have focused on paying bills, working on getting school things done and trying unsuccessfully to relax mainly because of this situation.

I have while taking care of these things, been in the living room with my laptop. It is the exact same distance as I would be from him if I was in my room, and even in my room he would be out in front of my doorway in a straight line. There seems to be no difference to me. I have stated each day my desire to focus on the things I have in front of me. In the meantime he has been going through boxes from when we moved, asking me every few minutes questions about the house, about items he comes across , and whatever else comes up. I will repeat over and over again my desire to not be interrupted. Eventually, my response or his comes out shorter than intended and an argument ensues.

He maintains that if I want to be left alone the only place that makes sense to him is if I were to go into my room close the door and completely isolate myself. I do not want to do that because I need to work, and not get distracted by my Wii, books, bed, etc.

I have tried repeatedly to explain that my location makes no difference in my opinion. If I make it known what I’m doing, what I’m trying to accomplish and that I need to be left alone and he says that’s fine, I don’t see any reason he can possibly become upset with me for that not being respected.

Are we both being idiots? I’m pretty sure neither of us is helping. But he’s at the point that he’s yelling that he understands my point but refuses to accept it. Then tries to justify it with money I owe him, or that he doesn’t understand my point at all – but that he gets it, or whatever.

I’m fucking sick of it. And I think I may be too close to the situation and too pissed to see it clearly.

Is it unreasonable for me to work on my things in my living room? Is it unreasonable for him to be upset that I want to be left alone? I get distracted easily and I really do not want to try and focus on what I need to in my room with all my fun stuff around. I’m terrible at it and he knows I am.


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18 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Yes, you guys are both being nuts.

He probably craves attention and is lonely, you obviously need space. Why don’t you go down to a coffee shop and work there instead of the living room.

dpworkin's avatar

Could these fights be a proxy for something else that’s really bothering the two of you?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I think… you’re not being unreasonable in your request, and (at least from what I see of your side of this account) your brother maybe has some ‘splaining to do. But, like most family issues, I’ll bet there’s more to this than you’ve presented. That is, “history”.

I’ve been in the same boat for most of the past year. My brother lost his job and I invited him to stay in my extra bedroom while he moved back East and started looking for work. (Fortunately he spends most of his time in NYC with his girlfriend, and has recently gotten a temporary position.)

But my house is filled with his stuff, some of my stuff turns up missing from time to time, and he eats so damn much when he’s here. But he’s family, so I mostly suck it up and put up with it.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It seems reasonable to me for you to expect your brother to respect your need to focus on your work as long as you don’t impose restrictions on what he is doing and would be doing if you were somewhere else.

You should not have to isolate yourself physically to prevent him from needlessly interrupting your studying. If he truly lacks the ability to control his behavior when you are physically present, you may have no choice but to use your room to study. This may require you to rearrange distractions in your room so you can focus. Its not fair, but if he can’t or won’t restrain himself, you may have few other choices.

Good luck

Jeruba's avatar

Give him a sure way to recognize when you’re available and when you’re not. And then make yourself available some of the time.

Axemusica's avatar

It sounds like you’re to easily irritated and he doesn’t get the hint. I’d say you both are just being babies, sorry to be blunt. Granted I see that you shouldn’t have to isolate yourself, but if he needs your constant input on things and you are trying to get important things done, you need to. He obviously doesn’t get that you’re trying to get something done and you getting irritated easily and being short with him isn’t helping. I say, isolate get shit done, because even if you’re easily distracted by your, wii, tv, interwebs, or what ever, you still know that whatever you need to get done is important and that should be nagging on your head when you start to digress.

Darwin's avatar

I think you need to get your work done either in your room or at the local wifi coffee shop, so that when you are home you are available to your brother. While there may be a huge amount of history behind this behavior on both parts, the simplest thing is to solve the immediate disagreement so that eventually the underlying conflict can be resolved.

“Mom always liked you best!”

elizabethmae's avatar

I think that if you want to be left alone you need to go into your room or he needs to go into his. Your expectation of him being able to remember to not engage you in conversation may be unreasonable in this situation. You seem unwilling to compromise.

casheroo's avatar

I am sort of siding with you, but I do know it’s a little unreasonable. I hate when I’m in the living room and that just means I’m apparently not busy even with a computer or book in front of me..uh, there’s a reason I’m not looking up at you, people!
I don’t understand why he doesn’t understand that you’re just out there just so you’re not cooped up in the bedroom all the time just to get things done. But, if it’s such a big deal and you two have to live together..sounds like a compromise is in order. The only thing would be is to go into your room at least a couple nights a week. Just try to get your work done if you can, and if it’s too impossible then I’d go out to a table (dining room table at all?) and sit and just work. Tell him you need the space and time to do so.

rooeytoo's avatar

The living room is a common area, I think if you are in it, that means you are available.
If you want to be left alone then I do think your bedroom with the door closed is the way to go.

But it does seem as if he should be able to honor your request but then again you should honor his that if you want peace and quiet go to your room. The whole thing sounds like something a married couple would argue about or a couple of siblings , heheheh!

Axemusica's avatar

@rooeytoo haha, the Odd Couple.

eponymoushipster's avatar

don’t you two see? you’re in love!~

john65pennington's avatar

I am confused as to the actual owner of the house. at first, you said your brother owned the house and at the end, you state my house. if your brother owns the house, then you should abide by his wishes of studying and working in your bedroom with the door shut. if the situation were reversed, i am sure he would do the same for you. i understand your comment about distractions like the Wi. as an adult, you should be able to overcome this. it should not be a problem for you. when i study, i go into a bedroom and lock the door. this is only fair to the other people of the house that want to watch television or whatever.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

The way to handle this is to stay where you are, give him a time that you will stop what you’re doing and help him. He’s on his own until that time, and should either trudge on by himself, get organized with what he’s doing, or whatever that doesn’t involve bugging you. You continue to work on what you’re doing, and at the agreed upon time, stop, focus on what needs your help, and when he’s in a happy place, return to your work.

asmonet's avatar

@john65pennington: I never stated that my brother owned the house. We rent the apartment. I am an adult, and this is one of the ways I’ve found to cope with distractions – to remove myself from them. Sure, I could dump half my belongings in the living room every time I want to work through bills. That makes a ton of sense. He has control of the television while I’m there, but he isn’t even nearby – he’s off to the side or in the kitchen. I seriously, only sit there quietly with my laptop and a pile of mail.

To everyone, thank you for the help. I’ll have to think about what each of you said. I appreciate your help. :)

Cupcake's avatar

I agree with @rooeytoo. If you don’t want to be bothered, don’t be in public space.
I feel the same way about sick people… don’t take up my couch with your kleenex and sick self. Go to bed.

john65pennington's avatar

asmonet…......i rearead your question and you are correct. since you said, “l live with my brother”, i assumed that he owned house/apartment. sorry, actually, this could have meant either. anyway, i understand quietness and writing bills. i am fortunate in the noise situation. i just turn off my hearing aids and thats it. are part of the bills you are paying, his? if so, tell him you are taking care of his part of the responsibility and to please give you time and quietness to take care of business. if he still refuses to co-operate. i would take my laptop, bills and head to my automobile to complete this task. i have done this before and it actually is not a bad setup. if you’re a smoker, you can smoke, you can drink your coffee and best of all…......its quiet.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Even though I generally live alone now (my brother is off again working a job for a few more months, hopefully—for his sake). I typically stay late at work and pay bills at my office desk. It’s a lot more convenient doing it there than trying to do it at the dining room table or on the couch.

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