So chatty it hurts

She barges into my room and talks for 45 minutes at a time. How can I get my roommate to leave me alone? 

This is a good learning experience, says our elder. Be kind but firm.


Dear EWC

I have a roommate who is so talkative it is physically painful to be around her. I have been in my bed, curled up with a book and she has pushed open my door to recount a strange thing that the dogs did that I also witnessed. For 45 minutes. The conversation veered from the dogs, to her friend who maybe tried to come over, to a friend who may have cancer, back to the dogs. The entire time I stayed in bed. I have come home after a long day and she stops me in the living room for 30 minutes. I make food and she rants about her mom’s cooking. She doesn’t seem to understand any social cues, subtle or direct. I understand some people are just that kind of friendly, but I am not. I like my privacy and alone time. I have to keep my door shut and locked in order to keep her out. She is never mean, and tries to be considerate of everyone else in the house. Altogether, she’s a good, but very very irritating person. I’m in no position to move and have no idea how to deal with living with a social tick. Help.


JensPen replies

I am so glad that you have written for some advice on your roommate situation. I applaud you for wanting to handle this in a kind and thoughtful way. You seem to understand that perhaps this person has some issue that prevents her from picking up on some of the clues you have thrown her way.

My advice would be to sit down with her and explain that you like her very much but you need alone time for studying, reading or just recharging your battery. Tell her that you would appreciate it if when she sees your door is shut that she respects that you do not want to be disturbed. Perhaps you could even come up with a cute sign to put on the door. Something like a do not disturb sign or a stop sign.

This may be a tricky relationship to navigate. You may just need to politely stop her in mid-sentence and say that you don’t mean to be rude but you have things to do and need some alone time. Eventually I think your roomie will get the message. 

Just be kind but firm. This situation is uncomfortable but is typical of the things that we deal with on the path to adulthood. Take it as a learning experience. This time it’s a roommate. Another time it may be a coworker. In life we need to learn to deal diplomatically with diverse personalities and people.

I am sure you will handle this situation gracefully and it will work out. 

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