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November 20, 2012
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Passive-Aggressive Roommate

:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So my roommate is this girl who on the outside is a really nice person. But she has 2 major flaws: She's EXTREMELY obsessive and passive-aggressive. I'm a fairly easy-going person, to the point where usually I'm a pushover, so when one day she came home with a white board and decided that every other week we would alternate cleaning the apartment, I just agreed with it. But now, this chart has become law, and if the chores aren't done by the written date, she begins to leave a list of the chores I need to complete. Honestly, I can understand her being mad; I forget to do the chores most of the time, but they get done, and they would get done regardless of her reminders. But now, she's becoming unreasonable. Leave a dirty dish for longer than 2 days? Takes a picture of it and sends it to me. And it just became too much today. This morning I wake up with a missed call from her and a picture of an open peanut butter container. When I go to leave my room, I find that she has placed the container, along with my boyfriend's backpack, jacket, and headphones in front of my door. And beneath his backpack were my glasses, which were luckily not broken. I know that is wasn't a huge deal since no harm was done, but she has her boyfriend to back her up, even though he's not even supposed to be living here. She's really starting to make it uncomfortable to live there, but I can't move out until next July. I hate confrontation, but at this point I have no idea what to do. I don't think she would be willing to listen to any reasoning, and I don't mind her pointing out the things I do wrong... I just wish she wouldn't have such a hostile attitude about it...

Sorry for bitching and the wall of text... I just don't know what to do...
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Devious Comments

:iconsignsofortune:
signsofortune Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Call a meeting. obviously things aren't going well right now. have a reasonable discussion with her. (not a confrontation, a reasonable discussion)

Before the meeting, write down the things she is doing that you have a problem with. also write down your own shortcomings. thirdly, write down at least 2 ideas which might be helpful in this situation.

present this paper in its entirety to her. then try to work out the kinks of this living situation.

one idea for a possible help to your problems:

-Establish consequences for things undone. (monetary repayment, or extra chores could be options) this would keep her from doing stuff like taking pictures of jars or leaving things in front of your door.

-take over some other responsibility yourself and leave her the cleaning duty. example: you could take out the trash and buy foods, and she could do the cleaning. that way you would both be doing what you were better at.

these are just ideas. you may come up with some of your own.

be polite, and smile and make the meeting a friendly affair. don't get in a fight, that would not help anything.
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:icondutchconnaisseur:
DutchConnaisseur Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Just mess with her mind until she breaks and move out.
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:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Did you sign something saying she could kick you out if you didn't do everything she told you to? If not, she has no right to treat you like a kid.

Politely explain that you have different values when it comes to free time vs. neatness.

Politely explain that if she feels like sacrificing her free time for neatness, then she's free to do so.

Politely explain that it's rude to send passive agressive notes and reminder photos, and if she sends any more, you'll ignore them.

If you don't feel like telling her these things in person, you can write her a note. If you don't feel like communicating this to her at all, just remember you have every right to tell her this whenever you feel like it.
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:iconcammieobscura:
CammieObscura Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Seriously, some people are neat freaks, or not freaks at all and just raised to clean up after themselves. That not only means cleaning dishes after you have finished with them - not 4 days later, but also pots and pans being washed and put back in their place. I think girls can be as or more more messy than guys. But it all depends on what you are used to doing at home that you carry with you. You have an agreement, the same as a written contract. If you can't keep it than you are in breach of contract and there should be penalties. Washing the dishes for the other person when it is their turn for instance. When you have had enough of that I guarantee you will be cleaning up after yourself on time. Learn to respect each other, and that means the door swings both ways.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
How about you do your chores?

Honestly, I was on your side until you started to get to specifics. Leaving dishes for two days and open containers of food sitting around are disgusting. And maybe she doesn't want to trip over your boyfriend's shit, wherever in your rooms he decided to dump it.

If SHE isn't doing her chores but is taking all this trouble to call you out when you leave something undone, then you're justified in using similar tactics, but if not -- stop being such a slob.
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:iconjessicaann87:
JessicaAnn87 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You could confront her about it or stop being a slob...
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm honestly not a slob. Usually, I get to my dishes within 4 days. I'm at school for most of my day, so when I'm home the last thing I want to do is dishes. Whenever I make a mess while cooking, I clean it up as soon as I'm done. And since she bleaches the entire place every other week, you could usually eat off all surfaces at any given time. I can understand leaving a note. I can understand yelling at me, giving me the cold shoulder, or even charging me a dollar each time I forget to do my chores. But in the time it took her to gather all my boyfriend's shit and the peanut butter and dump it in front of my door, she could have put the cap on the pb and written a pissy not or left a bitchy voice mail. Nope. No reasonable thought from that one.
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:iconjessicaann87:
JessicaAnn87 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I would of just capped the jar myself too
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:iconjessicaann87:
JessicaAnn87 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Tell her to stop being so anal over it. I would assume you know how to clean up after yourself and can see why it irks her, but leaving it in front of your door? really?
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:iconeldingagunman:
EldingaGunman Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
The way I see it, both of you have moved out from your parents house since you are now room-mates. That means that both of you, yes, including you TS, need to grow up and act like adults in your ways to resolve your issues. You share a living space together and that means you will have to respect each others space, privacy, and needs. It includes her respecting that you might not always have the time to clean, and it includes YOU respecting the rules that you set up together with her.

What I don't understand is why you simply don't clean earlier. If you're supposed to clean the house on thursdays, but know you will be busy that evening, simply tell her that and make sure she knows that you'll do your chores on wednesday instead. Or buy a washing machine and put your plates in there as soon as you're finished eating. And if you share an apartment and not literally a room, then just place your dishes in your own space instead of in the kitchen.

Really, though. Sit down and have a nice calm conversation with her about this. You BOTH need to get off each others case.
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is the problem. We HAVE a dish washer. She won't let anyone use it because she stores stuff in it. I tell her I will clean when I get to it. She gets irritable about it. I have no idea how to sit her down to talk. She has an inflated head (her words, not mine) and she's not easily swayed. I want to talk to her, but at the same time I'm so disgusted by her attitude and actions that I'm afraid I'd say something I'd regret.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
We HAVE a dish washer. She won't let anyone use it because she stores stuff in it

Well, then. I suggest you fight fire with fire. Take her shit out of the dishwasher, stack it in front of her door, and use it for its proper purpose. If she doesn't like it and says so, then you two will have something to talk about.
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:iconeldingagunman:
EldingaGunman Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Well tell her not not bloody store her shit in the dishwasher! She's got a room, tell her to use it! That dishwasher is as much yours as it is hers. If she wants you to clean up your dishes, then she's going to have to be reasonable about it. Jikes.

Look, whether or not you want to talk to her, you're going to have to. Sit down, take a few minutes to relax, and remember that she is probably a very insecure person. Yelling at her won't get anything better. But you should also inform her that, if she wants to keep her shit in your dishwasher, then she's going to get that stuff cleaned along with your forks.
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:iconself-epidemic:
Self-Epidemic Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Dude, don't leave the dishes for two days. Thats gross.

You have to appreciate her too, shes living there as well and not everyone likes living in filth. You have to understand that. Either clean up your own mess, or work together. I understand where she is coming from, and its fucking annoying to live with tramps.
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:icondorkface4:
dorkface4 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
It sounds like you two are not compatible. She wants to live in a very clean environment, whereas you are more lax. Find a new roommate because she's not going to change and unless you're willing to immediately do your chores then you'll continue to be unhappy.
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:iconblueflame-a20pc:
BlueFlame-A20PC Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Just tell her to fucking chill! Just say they'll get done and if they don't then tell her that's your problem and not her's! It really just seems like a matter of getting up, walking over to her, telling her to stop bitching, then sitting down.
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This chic is not ordinary. I'm actually terrified that she'd wreck my shit if I got into a fight with her.
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:iconblueflame-a20pc:
BlueFlame-A20PC Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I see what you mean, honestly I'm not quite sure how I'd deal with something like that... :confused:
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
The fact that it's a repeat occurrence serves to give proof to that claim, and her being weird enough to bring her boyfriend into it might be her getting desperate as you haven't changed habits even with her not so subtle nudges.
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
When you leave things hanging about for more than 2 days you are pretty sloppy about cleaning after yourself, so she may have reason to be annoyed with it, but I think she may be misinterpreting what sort of person you are.
Basically, some roommates can be real incurable slobs, so maybe she considers you one of those and thinks that unless she's this confrontational about it you'll shrugg off what she says and she'll have to deal with it until she gives you a serious reason to follow.
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The thing is, she leaves her dishes for about the same time as me. And I'm not a slob, just lazy. But when her mess goes uncleaned for two days, it's fine. She's also super controlling, and not just towards me.
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Oh I see, wow she's unbelievable.
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
It really depends on what you ate and how many plates you have, but leaving them out for two days isn't something to get upset about.

Then again, OP's roommate is a neat freak.
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:icondorkface4:
dorkface4 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
I'd consider leaving unwashed dishes out for two days pretty gross. Unless they've been rinsed and have no crumbs/sauce/food/whatever stuck to them they can attract ants and cockroaches. It's pretty gross having hundreds of ants crawling around your kitchen.
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
I guess that's true, but we never had that problem. :shrug:
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Oh and another thing (dang it sorry for triple post but can't add to it otherwise), she got her bf to clean up for her when she didn't have the time to do it instead of waiting until she did. Seeing as she could bare with the OP leaving things for days she could've waited a couple h or until the next day without having OCD about it. This may mean she's just making sure she does her end of the deal because she considers it disrespectful towards OP not to.
The OP seems to view it as some sort of competition on who can uphold cleanliness best, and the girl has back up she can't match as her own bf isn't around. _ ([link])
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
In fact if the OP's description is to be believed, the girl might've even washed her own dishes or even done clean up that's general(vacuuming) when it wasn't her due time to find the OP not cleaning up after themselves to begin with.
Since she seemed that concerned with keeping stuff in order, I imagine she wouldn't have necessarily wanted to wait for the OP to do it when it bugs her the entire time.
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Well since they're taking turns, and she isn't doing her turn properly, the girl can't count on her to keep the place as she'd want it. And she finds herself forced to nag or take care of it herself.
The girl's taking care of chores for both at times, so when OP doesn't follow suit she might feel particularly off about it when she might consider she's being taken advantage of.
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
"but they get done, and they would get done regardless of her reminders"

I read this as the OP doing her chores regardless of the reminders, and that they get done even if it isn't on time. I don't know if that's correct or not at this moment, but even if it is, her roommate's behaviour is childish and ridiculous. If you live with other people things necessarily won't go the way you want to, whether it's how other people clean up after themselves, the music they play, the people they have over, whatever. There will always be friction. And you need to learn to deal with this properly - by talking to people about it, not taking a picture and sending it to the person living right next to you because she didn't close a jar of freakin' peanut butter.

The OP might be sloppy, but her roommate is being a giant baby. Seeing as she doesn't have the cojones to act like a grown-up, it's up to the OP to do it.
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
I do find her roommate needlessly aggressive and seemingly immature about it, I just wonder if the thoughts going through her head match this level of hostility.
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
I guess, some of the things come across as really aggressive, almost desperate.

But talking to someone face to face can really diffuse a situation like this, and I think they both could use that. (It's also something they both should learn to do, in my opinion).
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:iconcherylblanche:
CherylBlanche Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
That might also give her the occasion to blow up in her face, but it's better than ignoring it I suppose.
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
That probably won't happen. People like her roommate aren't the type to fight, they try to avoid that at all possible cost. That's why she leaves notes instead.
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:iconmorbid-angelic:
morbid-angelic Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
Oh, god. That sounds horribly annoying and just....all around nasty! I don't normally use the word bitch, but in this case it sounds like the word would be pretty damn justifiable, and this is coming from a fellow pushover who hates confrontation and fighting! :blushes:

I think your best option here is to take the high road. Believe it or not, she's probably just the same as you are in terms of disliking direct confrontation - she just hasn't learned as effective communication skills as you have. As frustrated as you may be, try to keep this in mind while dealing with her.

First of all, the 'fight fire with fire' approach is a terrible idea. Seriously, it will accomplish nothing other than serving to escalate the entire situation. As tough as it may be, you'll be doing both of you guys a favour by communicating as openly and calmly as possible. Before you try talking to her, try being a little more accommodating to her demands, and, frustrated as you are, try to empathize. It sounds like she may have some issues with OCD, and she's not obsessing to be a jerk - she really can't help it, and things not being clean stresses her out just like her nagging you stresses YOU out.

So. Make an honest effort to clean up after yourself and keep up with chores. Chances are that won't fix the problem, but it will get her to let her guard down a little bit. The most important thing is to keep her off the defensive, because passive aggressive people personify the phrase 'offense is the best defense'!

Wait until she's in a good mood to approach her. Make an unexpected friendly gesture, like bringing home an extra cup of coffee or something. Then casually bring up a few of your concerns - don't go about it in the whole awkward 'we need to talk' fashion because that will just scare her off. The last line about not minding her pointing out what you do wrong, but wanting her to do it in a less hostile way, is golden. Focus on that, and try and figure out a way to compromise. Brainstorm ahead of time a few solutions you would be more comfortable with so you don't freeze up in the moment.

One last suer-important piece of advice. Passive aggressive people tend to be hypersensitive. They consider any statements about them to be a personal attack, and they often find a way to play the victim. Be really careful about the way you phrase things - try to keep things positive and oriented towards finding a solution, rather than accusing - and use 'I' statements instead of 'you' statements. ie, instead of saying 'You're always so unreasonable and uptight about this, it pisses me off!', you could say 'I get frustrated when you pile things outside my door and would feel more comfortable if you put a sticky note on the counter asking me to put these away' etc.

Wow, super-long comment. But I hope it helps - this thread struck close to home for me as my brother and mum are both EXTREMELY passive aggressive and can be REALLY hard to live with! These are just some strategies I've picked up over the last 17 years to make things a little less stressful around here! ^^;
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:iconsoriastail:
SoriasTail Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can try to talk to her calmly..... I know a lot of people who are like this, one in particualar, but honestly it turned out very bad. Of course she agreed to talk to me and I ccalmly brought up some logical points and let her talk as well, we came to an agreement and I thought it was over, but it wasn't. She just got really bad and started avoiding me all together, for like 4 months she just refused to talk to me.

Or you can go to her level. If she ever forgets ANYTHING, do the exact same thing to her. Send her annoying pictures and leave her crap in front of her door. Good chance she'll get pissed at that too and go all WTF mode, but then you can bring it up the same way. "I thought that's how we were supposed to communicate, that's how you're comfortable talking to me, I thought I was supposed to do the same." Then you can start a calm disscusion, no matter how pissed she gets don't yell. And try to do things from that point.
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
See, I wanted to give her a taste of her own medicine. But the thing is, her obsession over cleanliness and order makes it impossible to catch her slipping up. When she doesn't have time to clean up her messes, she has her boyfriend do it for her. My boyfriend doesn't live with me, so I feel like it's unfair to ask him to clean up after me. So I feel like on the rare occasion when something she needed to do doesn't get done and her boyfriend doesn't get to it, it would just seem like a random moment of bitchiness on my part.
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:iconsoriastail:
SoriasTail Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmmm.... That's a really hard situation then..... I guess you'd just have to talk to her and explain to her how sometimes it's a little hard for you to remember and if she did a little softer encouragement you would really appreciate it... That's all I've got.
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:iconeuterpe-the-egret:
Euterpe-The-Egret Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
That never goes well. Be the bigger person and talk to her instead of lashing out and being immature about it all.
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:iconlaarka:
LaArka Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
True, and you're right. I'll give it a shot, definitely. I still have 6 months to live with her...
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:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
"I hate confrontation, but at this point I have no idea what to do."

You're unfortunately going to have to confront her. But you don't have to be confronting about it, if that makes sense.

Passive-aggressive people are generally afraid to talk to you in person, or they're afraid of being the bad guy and hurting anyone's feelings. Basically, she's too scared to address this issue in a normal fashion, and unless you talk to her about it, this is going to get worse (until either one of you has had enough of the other person's behaviour and explodes, moved out, or you start doing the dishes the day you made 'em dirty).

She's obviously unwilling to take the first step, that's just not going to happen. Either you do it, or nobody does.

So anyway, about that non-confronting thing: You walk in her room and ask her if anything is wrong, and if those things you did really bother her that much. Tell her that you'd appreciate it if she just talked to you in person about it, that there's no need to text if you live right next to eachother. What you don't want to do is attack her and make her out to be the bad guy; if that happens she probably won't fight back... but it won't solve your problem, either.

Aside from that, I don't know how well you know eachother or get along with eachother, but it also helps tremendously if the relationship between you two is a positive one. If you hardly ever talk, it's a good idea to get to know her better, and invite her over to hang out some time, so you're not just "that person I live with who I only talk to when she annoys me".
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:iconlegendarysuperman:
LegendarySuperman Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You basically have two options: continue dealing with it, or confront her about it. It sounds like you don't want to do either, but you should strongly consider the latter option.
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:icondebra-marie:
Debra-Marie Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Happened to me. Its hard to learn to live with people different than you, but you both gotta sit down and come to a compromise.
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