Am I a bad roommate?

Hello all,

I just wanted to run some issues by everyone, get some opinions. I moved where I am on Thanksgiving Day (essentially at the start of December), into the spare room in a house owned by a good friend of mine. We’ve been friends for 11 years (since high school), and when I got a job offer in a nearby city, he offered me the invitation to move in. I didn’t know anyone else up here, he could use the rent money, and he knew I was reliable and we’d both get along.

Well, so far, so good. He often inivtes me along to do stuff with him and his friends, but I deal with a lot of depression, and I often politely opt out. Occasionally I surprise everyone and go out. I always pay my rent immediately whenever he tallies up the month’s expenses, and more often than not, it is me who reminds him I owe him some money. I’m always eager to loan him my DVDs to watch or music to listen to, and I don’t mind sharing my food either. I am very respectful of the fact that it’s his house, and I try to not be bothered when I can hear him and his new girlfriend having loud sex in his room. Honestly, I am very happy for him, even if it makes me realize more and more how frustrated I am. I try to keep my own room and bathroom neat and orderly, and then there’s the kitchen.

My biggest issue making me a bad roommate (aside from my mopiness of late) has been my tendency to leave dishes in the sink. We have a dishwasher (which I’m not used to having), but I often finish cooking late at night, eat, and get tired, so I rinse off the dishes, pots, pans, etc. and leave them in the sink. Sometimes it takes me a few days to get back to everything and wash it. The other day, he came home and said/yelled “Hey man, this can’t go on. I don’t want to see your dishes in the sink anymore. You need to wash those as soon as you get home from work!” or something to that effect. It has obviously been eating at him for a while, but I had had a rough day and didn’t appreciate his tone.

I washed the dishes, angry the whole time, and later I said something like “Hey, if you want me to move out, I will. Just say so, but give me fair warning so I can find a place.” I don’t want to move out–I have a sweet deal here, and we are friends, but between being pissed, depressed, and paranoid lately, the timing sucked. I realize I should stay on top of my own mess in the kitchen better than I do, and I will make more of a conscious effort to do so in the future. I hate messes, honest I do, and I especially hate tension and confrontations. I will admit I was in the wrong, but he didn’t have to snap about it either. As far as I know, we’re still totally cool (which is fine with me), but I take everything extra-personally. So would you be pissed at me, or am I okay?

He doesn’t want to wash your dishes; he wants to use the sink. Don’t make it bigger than it is. If you want to be a good roommate don’t leave them in there again.

I’d only be pissed if you didn’t clean up your act (heh).

It can be hard to confront someone, so he may not have done the best possible job of talking to you – but don’t assume he now hates you.

Make sure you do do your dishes, though – if not right away, then definitely the next morning.

He doesn’t want you to move out. He wants you to wash your dishes in a timely fashion. It’s a reasonable request. He should have mentioned it to you before it ate at him so much that he snapped at you, but that’s not always easy to do.

So, make a mental note that you have a dishwasher. When you rinse your dishes, just throw them in the dishwasher and you’re done. Empty the dishwasher every now and then. There you go, problem solved. (But make sure to hand-wash anything that’s not dishwasher safe)

A good rule of thumb is this: If you don’t have time to clean up afterwards, you don’t have the time to cook a meal. It’s part of the process.

You overreacted. He, understandably, doesn’t want to come home to dirty dishes that have been in the sink for days. He called you on it. That’s all.

I don’t see this being resolved. It’s the classic roommate conflict, the messy roomie vs. the clean one. You know, just like “The Odd Couple.”

I would suggest, like the others, that you do your dishes in a timely fashion. But let’s face it: I know and you know that isn’t going to happen. So maybe you should try buying some paper plates or something. You’re not going to live with this person forever, so the main thing becomes how willing are you two going to be to put with the other’s faults?

I also suggest you find something that he does that annoys you, and start picking at him about it.

You’re fine. One tip: when you’re cooking late at night, fill the sink with hot soapy water. As you finish with each cooking utensil, drop it in the sink. When you’re done, you can easily wash or rinse the dishes off. That’ll save some stress.

And if the roommate says you’re cool, you’re cool.

I see. It’s me, I suck. And you’re all against me too. Got it.

I sure hope that was posted in jest, because, for the second time in a few minutes, I laughed so hard I snorted.

How can I be against a guy who knows a good burger when he sees one and likes Weezer, huh?

I’ve never had a room-mate, or seen a room-mate situation that someone WASN’T bitching about the dishes… or the trash… or something else.

Even my wife bitches about some things that I do, just as I bitch about the messes she whines about. (as I look at them, and realize it’s ALL HER STUFF!!!, but I still get in trouble for them)

I would apologize to him for having blown the situation out of proportion and for not washing the dishes. Promise to do better. But you aren’t a bad roommate at all.

On the contrary, it sounds like you’re bending over backwards to be a good roommate, and perhaps he takes you for granted. You have one flaw, and he chose to blow up at you for it. He doesn’t realize how lucky he’s got things. On the other hand, your reaction to his bad reaction was a bad reaction. You both suck. :wink:

As far as dirty dishes go, that depends on how much you are both neat freaks. I’ve almost never had a roommate who got miffed about a few dishes in the sink, but most of them would do the same thing. So I guess it’s all in whether you conform to the standards of the apartment.

That kind of shit happens. It’s okay. You’re not a bad roommate.

Sounds like the 2 of you happened to pick the same day to have a bad day. The dirty dishes had been bugging him a bit, and that was the day that it exploded. You had a bad day, and fumed about it.

Now that you both are hopefully over your bad days, you should be able to talk it over calmly. Explain that you didn’t reallize that dishes in the sink bothered him. Ask that in the future he mention anything else that is bothering him, when it’s still a little thing, try to remember not to do these things, and get back to being happy roommate.

When 2 or more people share a space, this stuff is going to happen.

You’re not a bad roommate. I would make a serious effort to wash your dishes after dinner, or the next morning at the latest. When you’re just too swamped, give your roommate a preemptive heads-up and apology, so he’s knows you’re not taking him for granted. “I haven’t had time to do the dishes. I’m really sorry, I’ll make sure I do them tonight.”

Then you’ll be a good roommate, and he will write songs about you.

Well, apart from this passive/agressive nonsense, you’re fine.

Do your dishes when you’re done with them, and don’t sweat it.

You are not a bad roommate, but you’ve got potential.
I had a very similar experience with my good friend. We moved in together and I didn’t do my dishes in a timely manner. This got her very miffed. (I was subjected to loud roommate sex as well.) I never cleaned up my act, we moved out and didn’t speak for quite some time. The irony was that about a year later I had a roommate who also got mad at me for not doing dishes, and I started doing them. I think its a “friend as roommate” thing. You can’t help but take the situation a bit for granted. So try not to.

Oh, and don’t yell “I can hear you fucking!” when you can hear them fucking. It’ll really piss him off. I know this from experience.

-Ghanima, the reformed bad roommate

Well, that part is his bad. If something’s pissing ya, ya gotta say it.

Personally, I think you should move out. He’s obviously an anal-retentive asshole who can’t deal with depressive personalities. Find someone cooler.

On an entirely unrelated note, I am looking for a roommate to share a really nice apartment in complex that adjoins Jay Blanchard Park over near UCF. Rent is $400 a month and I leave dishes in the sink all the time.

I wash the dishes as I use them. To have more than two dishes in the sink then for me is laziness.

To come home and find a couple of dishes in the sink is one thing, to come home and find several dishes in the sink so that I can’t use it stinks.

One of the things people who are depressed do is to center their attention on themselves exclusively. ;j People will excuse your minor eccentricities such as moping in your room all day, but I have had friends who insisted on doing it in the middle of their livingrooms. :mad: It sure made watching TV fun for their roommates! :dubious: Of course, it could have been the not bathing, shaving, or dressing too.

Leaving dishes in the sink is not good roommate behavior. However, it’s really minor compared to all the roommate horror stories I’ve been told (and lived through) over the years.

Rooming with a friend is tough. With roommates who aren’t friends, it’s much easier to say “hey, I’d appreciate it if you were better about cleaning up your dishes” before things come to a head. With friends, you often let things slide till you can’t take it any more. It sounds like that’s what happened here. Your roommate didn’t approach you about it when it first irritated him. Instead, he let it build till he was angry about it. You were taken by surprise and reacted to his angry tone. That shit happens all the time. Hell, it happens between people who are in love with each other.

It’s also very fixable. Just tell him you will keep the dishes from piling up in the sink. Then tell him that you were reacting to his angry tone because you were taken by surprise. You’re not accusing him or anything, but you think things would work more smoothly if you both would approach each other about irritants before they become a big deal. Then buy him a beer.

That goes for both of you. You went to great pains in the OP to mention that you were a good roomie in many ways, including saying that you try not to be bothered when you can hear him having sex. If it’s bothering you, you need to speak up (before you get angry). Otherwise, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking “wait a minute, I put up with all this and you can’t tolerate a little mess?” Then you’ve got a bigger fight. If he doesn’t know you’re putting up with stuff that irritates you, he doesn’t know.