My roommate takes advantage 

I’ve tried to talk to her but it didn’t help. 

You can’t change someone else’s behavior, says our elder, so how about changing your own? It’s time to be more assertive.


Dear EWC

My roommate is very clever. She does things that I hate and I am not able to tell her that. She uses me in everything – never gives her bus fare, always I have to pay for her and it just pisses me off. She never leaves me alone and the problem is that I can’t go to her directly and tell her that I have this problem. Please help me with how I should deal with her and please don’t suggest going to talk directly because I have tried and it didn’t work.


Loretta replies

Thanks for writing! You wrote that your roommate does many things to take advantage of you. I’m a little confused, because you indicated that you are “not able to tell her,” but that you have tried to talk to her directly, but it didn’t help.

In any case, this is what I think: The sad fact is that it is very difficult, often impossible, to change someone’s behavior by just asking, or even pleading. The good news, however, is that if you make some changes in yourself, you may get them to act differently toward you. 

The truth is that people will treat you the way you expect – and allow – them to! For example, you resent the fact that you always have to pay her bus fare. Who has decided that? It is you! You complain that she does things which you hate, and uses you. You are allowing her to do this. What should you do? It is super important that you have strong boundaries. This means that you don’t allow others to treat you in a way that you don’t want them to. Pleading with your roommate will not change her behavior. You must change yours!  Perhaps you are afraid that she won’t like you, if you stand up for yourself. But even worse, is that you are not treated with respect! And, sadly, the more we allow people to disrespect us, the more we disrespect ourselves.

My advice is to stop being a pushover. Be assertive, which is your right. For example, when you want to be alone, you can say politely but firmly (like you mean it!), “I need to have some alone time for myself now.” If she doesn’t leave, then you do! My sense is that if you do things like this, your roommate’s behavior will improve. But, if she continues to try to take advantage of you, I would hope that you find someone more considerate – which is what you sincerely deserve!

I hope this has been helpful. I would be happy to hear from you again!

Article #: 483024

Category: Other

One Comment

  1. What great advice concerning a lesson that’s hard for everyone to learn And practice!

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