I received this question tonight (Thursday, the 26th) and since it seems like a time-is-of-the-essence situation, I decided to push back my other queued posts and give this Friday’s spotlight…
What would you do if you had a very irresponsible, self-centered roommate? One that does not take his/her part in chores and cleaning. It is almost the end of the semester and we have not spoken for quite a long time now, mostly because of this behavior. Is it too late to say something? I know I should’ve said something earlier, but you know, life happens and now we’re getting ready to leave.
Irresponsibility or self-ceneteredness are merely symptoms of a bigger cause… and those are only your experiences of your roommate – not the definition of your roommate. It is unfair of you to label your roommate just based on your experience of him/her without knowing his/her true self or personal battles. Yes, it is also unfair to you if they are being selfish and do not contribute to the understood equal partnership of living together, but consider that he/she may have a very good personal reason as to why they only seem to care about themselves, why they are introverted, or why they have placed barriers between themselves and the world around them.
What’s the true issue here?
Communication… or a lack thereof.
Communication is an important part of any relationship.
Communication can provide a continuous exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, wants, and needs – that exchange is positive. You will not always agree with one another, but the experience of talking will encourage you to understand one another and move forward to better the relationship.
Silence can encourage barriers, [unrealistic] expectations, assumptions, judgements, and can bring a negative energy to a relationship (or even a room).
You are experiencing a misunderstanding and the best way to understand one another is to talk. I don’t necessarily mean to talk about it, but to just… talk.
The chores are a symptom of a bigger cause of not talking to one another or misunderstanding one another.
- Lead by example.
- Create small talk.
- Show him/her your trust, your openness, your friendliness, your forgiveness, and your acceptance by merely taking an interest in their life, sharing experiences of your own life, and encouraging them to be a part of yours.
- Be friendly, not over-bearing.
- Be patient, not pushy.
- Be open, not expecting.
- Trust that what you give you will receive in return.
- Walls will never exist in a relationship if no one has a reason to build them.
After some time, if your roommate does not want to communicate nor involve themselves in genuine, open conversation then I would suggest that you move on with your efforts. It may be hard, but it’ll be for the best. Everyone is traveling along on their own path and on their own time doing the best that they can, and sometimes we just have to leave people to be and do things their way. We can only hope that those who are lost amongst their inner battles will come around to find themselves one day.
All that you can ask of yourself is that you do your best and that you are genuine.