Messy Friend Makes Mess of Friendship

Dear Relationshipper,

I have a serious situation involving my best friend and roommate. Lately, she seems to feel that she doesn't need to do any cleaning around the house. She has not said this, but never does anything. She comes home every day, sits on the couch, with the computer, and watches television. She leaves her stuff lying all over the house. She can't even pick up after herself! I have already nicely hinted and had a brief talk with her. How should I approach her on this without losing her friendship?

Lost in a Messy Space

Dear Lost,

I know it’s tough to ask someone to start pulling their weight.  You say that “lately” she hasn’t been cleaning around the house.  Does that mean she used to?  If so, there is probably one of two things going on here.  Either 1) something happened to make her resentful and she has stopped cleaning on purpose, or 2) she is depressed.

Seeing that she is your best friend, I’m going to presume that she is not depressed, or you would have been aware of that.  If you’re sure that her lack of cleaning hasn’t got to do with her state of mind, then it’s likely something happened to trigger her lack of assistance around the house.  It could very well be that you said something that subsequently got misconstrued by her – and resulted in her deciding she no longer needed to contribute to the household.

I’d have another talk with her.  You have two choices: to be direct, or sly.  Most people prefer the direct method – which is the fastest way to get to the heart of the matter.  Begin a frank discussion with your friend and ask her in a pleasant tone if she would start picking up after herself more.  I generally use this tactic as a last resort, instead starting off with more casual requests.

To be casual about it, you could begin by kidding around with her.  When she’s sitting on the living room couch, you could pick up something of hers that she’s left laying around and joke, “What is all this?  Get this crap outta here!”  There is no Internet font for sarcasm, so I repeat: this should be said in a joking fashion.  Some people will get the “hint” from this alone.

Another technique is to have a party – or at least invite a few people over.  Tell her you’re having a party, and you want the house to be spic and span before the guests arrive.  If she cooperates and helps you clean up, it might remind her how nice it feels to live in a clean home.

Best of luck!

If you’ve got any cohabitation relation problems, email me your questions to:!

Thanks for reading!


Post a Comment