Alice, My Roommate is a Chore Slacker

updated May 4, 2019
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Dear Alice,

I need help getting my roommate to help out more with chores. Seems like I am the one who always ends up doing the dishes and vacuuming. I don’t want to start a big fight and I have asked nicely. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?

Thank you, Not the Maid

Dear NTM,

The first way not to start a big fight is to not bottle up your frustration and anger until you explode the second your roommate sets a plate in the sink. In other words, you need to calmly talk this out together.

Sounds like you’ve casually tried to talk about it but it hasn’t done much. Here’s what to do: wait until you are both home and calm (ie. don’t bring this up while you’re already upset about it, pick a neutral time) and say “Hey, I’m feeling a little taken-advantage of with the housework. Let’s talk about how to fairly split up the chores around the house.” Then decide together what needs doing and how often and figure out who is responsible for what.

If you need to write it down old-school-style and put it on the fridge in order to keep everyone (ahem…the roommate) responsible, then do that. That way, if something doesn’t get done, it’s clear who the responsible party is and who needs to get his or her act together.

If this doesn’t work, it doesn’t sound like you have a very good roommate and it may be time to think about a new situation. But remember, everyone needs the benefit of the doubt, once in a while. You will no doubt have weeks when you’re busy at work and just can’t get around to YOUR assigned duties. So try to be as patient as you can, especially when you’re both easing into the new system.



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