Rude Roommate

Dear Vered,

My roommate is really rude. We were acquaintances, not really friends, in college, and it seemed like a good idea to move in with someone that I was less close to, since a bad roommate match could result in a lost friendship. There’s been this problem since we moved in together in February, but it’s really starting to wear on me: she never, ever says “hello” when I come home and she’s sitting in the living room, or if she wakes up and comes into the living room while I’m watching TV or something. It’s as if she just acts like I’m not there, or that I don’t register with her, or that I don’t deserve the basic courtesy of acknowledgement. She’s otherwise inoffensive. We don’t hang out together, but she’s tidy and doesn’t eat my food and generally respects household stuff, it’s just that it feels like she’s constantly disrespecting me by not saying “hi” ever. When I greet her, she sort of tilts her head up and raises her eyebrows like she heard me but doesn’t respond in kind.

Ultra-Passive Roommate

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Dear Reader,

When I read your letter, the first thing I thought was, “Hmm, that sounds a lot like me and my husband.” We’ve lived together for several years, and we sleep in the same bed… but he doesn’t generally announce a greeting when I enter our home, or when he gets up and wanders into the living room where I’m watching the morning show and drinking coffee. It’s just that we’re so used to one another being afoot that the pronouncement of our presence seems like a waste of breath. But to give you the benefit of the doubt, I checked in with several friends who live with roommates.

The consensus is that if you’re not best friends with your roommate and don’t hang out socially together, her behavior is a little passive, but totally normal. If you’re otherwise happy with your living situation and she respects your stuff, is courteous with noise and mess, and pays her share of the bills, this is one to let go. As an introvert, living up to your expectations of greetings would exhaust me really quickly. She may find social interaction similarly exhausting, especially if she works outside of the home and has to be “on” all day.

In other words, it’s absolutely okay to want someone who is more social and outwardly friendly to be your roommate, but that’s not who you have right now. You should really treat her the way she wants to be treated, not the way you want to be treated, and reassess when your lease is up whether you want to renew or find someone a little bit more outgoing to live with.

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