I'm so petty: my roommate's getting on my nerves for being too nice

My roommate is a complete stranger–last May I told her I’d live with her because a)all my friends and former roommates were graduating and b)she needed a roommate, and lived in an area of campus I’ve always wanted to live in. And instead of being thankful for all of the things she doesn’t do: she doesn’t sleep on the couch after a long night at the bars, she doesn’t come in late at night/early in the morning being loud and boistrous, she doesn’t have sex in another person’s bed, she doesn’t eat my food or drink my beer, she doesn’t break the phone because she’s drunk after a football game, and she doesn’t wait a couple days before doing her dishes.[sup]*[/sup] She pays her rent and utilities on time, and cleans up after herself.

But in the past couple months, I’ve really started to get annoyed with how meek she is. It’s not like I’m an overwhelming or intimidating person, but she’s always so soft-spoken. I don’t even recall her ever having a friend over, and most weekends she studies or rents a couple movies. Sometimes her sister (who’s maybe my age or a year older) comes over, and she’s the same way, too! They talk to each other at the lowest possible volume. It’s not as if I’m trying to eavesdrop–I just feel like “You have a voice–use it!” I mean come on, let loose, have a big chuckle or something!

Then last night, I was sitting in the living room and doing some homework while “The X-Men” was playing on Fox. She walked in and said “Oh, what’s that?” I told her, and she said “I wanted to see it, but it doesn’t look like my type of movie. Too scary.” TOO SCARY? You’re an adult in college, and this isn’t a horror movie! Grow a backbone! She also seems to get easily grossed out (we watch ER together) and, get this, she wants to be a doctor!

The worst part about all this, is that I feel really petty because this stuff has been getting under my skin. I should be more tolerant and understanding, live and let live, etc., but I just keep finding little ways that she seems to be too nice and it gets me all frustrated again! Maybe it’s just because the last time I lived with complete strangers, it worked out great. They were all fun girls, and we had all sorts of “wacky hijinks.” Maybe because this is my last year of college, I wanted a roommate who would be a little more fun.

Though she doesn’t close the lid of the toilet when she flushes it, and when putting in a new roll of toilet paper, it faces the wrong way.

*All things that I have done at some point, though never all at once, and usually with my other roommates’ permission.

I would just appreciate her for being clean and paying things on time, which are the two most important things. Although, if X-Men is too scary, then I can see the problem.

Maybe you should get her started. Try and get her to go party and get her all wasted. Maybe she’ll like it and change her meek ways.

But, I do know some girls that are very similar, and I don’t think that anything under the sun could change them.

Sorry, I guess I’m not any help!

I couldn’t agree more. There is absolutely nothing to be gained in your trying to “improve” this person. If she is happy living her life her way, it sounds to me like she’s someone to look at as a role model, not a reclamation project.

Let me clarify, in no way have I ever tried to change her behavior. Nor will I try to. It just gets on my nerves. Then it gets on my nerves that it gets on my nerves, because I know I’m being stupid.

[parlor psychologist mode]
basically, the friction appears to be caused by a conflict of personality types. it appears from your postings that you are a typically outgoing, self-assured personality type who’s comfortable in asserting herself. however, you appear to see (or at least describe) your roommate as a retiring, self-effacing, overly-compliant personality who avoids any prospect of confrontation, even one so removed as watching a movie. since these characteristics are close to being completely opposite to your own, you tend to interpret them as “wrong” or a hinderance. by comparison, if your roommate were consulted, she might possibly describe you as being loud, pushy or aggressive. (or she could whimper that you’re really a very nice person, then go run and hide in a closet for a while. it could go either way.)

in effect, you view her way of relating to the world as a negation of your own style. this perceived negation obviously makes you uncomfortable. so rather than exploring what circumstances (valid or no) have caused her to develop this style of interfacing with the world, you instead search for means to realign her style to reflect your own, thus revalidating your own style in your eyes.

not to say that your way is wrong and hers is right. or even vice versa. it’s mostly a matter of discomforting resulting from lack of similarity. which immediately makes it another one of life’s great learning experiences.

[/parlor psychology mode]

Sounds just like my wife when she was in college! DO NOT try to “change” her or “wake her up”. That’s not your job (Which, on preview you said you don’t want to do anyway, cool. ) Your job is to thank God you do not have a more exciting room-mate. Who’s so thrillingly borrowing your clothes, stealing money, sleeping with psychos and giving away apartment keys to sailors down at the docks.

Could be that your roomie has a strong aversion to disturbing others, a very studious mindset, and possibly a sense of ethics, or religious conviction that forbids her to do some of the more wackier of the ‘wacky hijinks’ (I only mean sex and drinking stuff) . My wife kept very much to herself in college and was, outwardly, quite meek, and her twin sister was much the same (eerie paralells :eek: ) Also very disturbed and easily grossed out as you describe, guess what? She’s an R.N. ! go figure.

I know that it may seem weird to you, but some people just don’t look at college as a big party. I did but then I also liked the “X-Men”.

Live and let live.

May all your roommate gripes be this lame.


Just be thankful!! I had a roommate whose dog liked to take a dump outside my bedroom door. Every morning. I moved out after 2 months.

Let’s ask what Heloise thinks about your roommate. I bet she’d like yours better than the one she just kicked out. :smiley:

I can sympathize easy e. In grad school, I lived with a similar woman. Quiet as a mouse, never had anyone call or come over, never went out, watched a lot of T.V. She wouldn’t talk to me either. Me: “Hey, how was your day?” Her: “Fine.” No “how was yours?,” No “I went to a really great lecture,” just monosyllablic answers. I didn’t want to be her best-est buddy, but it is nice to converse with people you live with.

She was getting her masters’ in counselling, which I found bizarre, since she didn’t seem to be a people person. I know that if I wanted to get my life in order, she would not be the person I’d go to.

I just want to clarify a couple things:

-As per my OP, I am thankful that she is neat, not obnoxious, and pays her rent in a timely fashion. I have had a roommate was not the first 2 (though she did pay bills), and that was worse, by far.

-I’m not trying to change her.

-I’m not some “Girls Gone Wild” party girl. In fact, I’ve been pretty tame this year. I study on Friday and Saturday nights, too (I am an engineering student after all, which means I’m at least a little bit of a dork). I don’t drink very often this year (though part of that is because I don’t want to drink alone).

-I realize I’m being rather judgmental. And I know that’s not a good thing. But is still annoys me. Maybe like lachesis says, I see her behavior as an affront to mine. Part of the anger is directed as myself, for being so lame.

My advice: Don’t sweat it.

To be blunt, you know that housing in Madison isn’t cheap; rent on my efficiency is close to $500. By having a roommate around, you’re saving yourself a good $200-300 plus a share of utilities. And at what cost? A roommate that stays out of your way, a decent kitchen, and a bedroom with a door… all the benefits of a one bedroom apartment at half the price.

Maybe you can be her friend.

If you’re both home bodies, invite her to join you for whatever meal you’re cooking. Ask if you can watch television with her, or offer to share your videos with her. Have a dinner party for all of your friends and invite her. Buy her a present for being such a cool roomate.

I’m a loner too. I don’t like to drink or go out. I don’t have a lot of friends. I’m satisified with my TV, my computer, and my books. It’s not that I’m wacked out; it’s just how I am. But if someone did any of them above for me, I’d be more than willing to reach out and be that person’s friend.