Monday, December 29, 2014

Siblings As Roommates Can Lead To Squabbling

Dear Tazi:

I am a senior in college and will be graduating in a few months and unless a full-time job comes through real soon it looks like I will be moving back home with Mom. I would really not prefer to do this after four years of living on my own, but I cannot afford to keep my apartment on my own, and my two roommates will be moving back to their hometowns.

I started selectively putting the word out that I am looking for new roommates, telling a few trusted friends who know what I am looking for in a roommate. The problem is that my sister's boyfriend was one of those people, and he accidentally let it slip that I was looking for a roommate. I love my sister, but have no desire to live with her - which is what she wants now that she knows I am looking for a roommate.

"Janie" keeps talking about how great it will be if we live together, how it will be just like things were when we were growing up - which is the problem. When we were growing up, Janie always tried to boss me around and was constantly butting into my business. On top of this, Janie is an incredibly controlling neat freak while I prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. I am not a slob, but I do have a tendency to leave my shoes in the living room and the toilet seat up, both habits that send Janie into screaming fits of rage.

I don't want to hurt my sister's feelings, but how can I do that and get out of having her move in with me?

Roommate Dilemma

Dear Roommate Dilemma:

The simplest way to tell your sister that you do not want to be her roommate is to be straightforward and honest without being brutally honest. Tell Janie that you have given a great deal of thought to the idea of her being your roommate, but that you are afraid that your vastly different lifestyles would drive a wedge between the two of you, and instead of growing closer as siblings you would probably grow apart. This response will not only address your desire find a roommate more compatible with your lifestyle, it will also address what I believe Janie is fearing: that as you both age, your close sibling relationship is starting to fade.

It is obvious from Janie's sentimental memories of your childhood that she remembers things differently than you, and that she cherished the time you two had together growing up. When is the last time you spent any real time with your sister? Between your studies and work and her own life's obligations, time together as siblings has probably taken a back-seat to other priorities. Now that you are moving forward in your life, why not fill some of your free time with family?

I suggest that you let Janie know that you will be continuing your search for new roommates, but would like to make a point of spending time with her - say getting together for lunch  or drinks after work once a week. Once Janie realizes that she is still important to you and that you value your relationship with her she will probably back off on the idea of being roommates - especially when you remind her of how you prefer to keep the toilet seat in the up position.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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