Room­mate on his last nerve

West Hawaii Today - - Sports -

Dear An­nie: I hope you can stand another let­ter about room­mate prob­lems. I’m a sin­gle guy in my late 20s. I live with one room­mate, “Larry,” and he’s get­ting on my last nerve.

Larry told me when he moved in that he was a clean per­son, didn’t leave dishes in the sink, kept the bath­room tidy, al­ways took out the trash — pretty much none of which has turned out to be true. He cooks big meals, and then leaves all the dishes in the sink for days. He leaves tooth­paste specks on the mir­ror and never cleans the toi­let. He does take out the trash now and again, but never the re­cy­cling.

I’ve tried talk­ing to him about all of th­ese is­sues. Some­times he apol­o­gizes. Some­times he points out my own messes. I leave mail and other ran­dom things ly­ing around, but that’s just clut­ter, not grime.

I’m tired of com­ing home to a gross apart­ment. It re­ally puts me in a foul mood. We’ve still got six months left on our lease, and even then I can’t re­ally af­ford to move. So I might be stuck liv­ing with him for a while. How can I make a room­mate clean up? — Not the Maid

Dear Not the Maid: It might as well be a law of na­ture: Liv­ing with room­mates will save you money but cost you some seren­ity. The se­cret to not los­ing it com­pletely lies in com­pro­mise and hu­mil­ity.

Com­pro­mise of­ten means choos­ing your bat­tles. Larry’s stan­dards for clean­li­ness will prob­a­bly never rise to the level of yours, so de­cide which is­sues you truly can’t tol­er­ate. For in­stance, you might want to forgo fight­ing over the tooth­paste specks on the mir­ror and fo­cus in­stead on the dirty dishes, which can lead to big­ger prob­lems (such as ru­ined flat­ware and cock­roaches). Sit down and dis­cuss con­crete rules — write them down even — such as do­ing dishes im­me­di­ately af­ter us­ing them or be­fore go­ing to bed. Gen­tly call him out the mo­ment you see him vi­o­lat­ing the rule.

The sec­ond con­cept to em­ploy here is hu­mil­ity. Are you re­ally the per­fect room­mate? We tend to have ex­cel­lent vi­sion when spot­ting oth­ers’ short­com­ings but are my­opic when it comes to see­ing our own. If you fo­cus more en­ergy on clean­ing your own messes, you’ll be less an­noyed with Larry’s.

Dear An­nie: I just read your col­umn that fea­tured the let­ter from “GSP Smith,” who put a small se­cu­rity cam­era in her mom’s re­tire­ment apart­ment. I did that, too, for my mother’s apart­ment, and I was in­formed by the staff that it’s il­le­gal in Florida and many other states. Isn’t that out­ra­geous?! I had to re­move it. I’d love to see this dis­cussed in your col­umn. — Car­ing Daugh­ter

Dear Car­ing Daugh­ter: I did some re­search. While the staff was cor­rect that it’s il­le­gal in many states, it seems the laws are chang­ing on this is­sue. Read­ers, I would en­cour­age you all to check what the laws are in your state and voice any con­cerns to your lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators. com. To find out more about An­nie Lane and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate colum­nists and car­toon­ists, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at www.cre­ators.com.

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