Apartment Guru: The Passive Aggressive Roommate
My roommate is really passive aggressive. She decided one day, for no discernible reason, that she hates me. There was absolutely no discussion about why, only the slamming of doors and cabinets when I walked into rooms and notes left on the refrigerator including the following:
Not sure your mom ever explained to you that garbage doesn't take itself out, but turns out, it doesn't. If you ever use the garbage can in the bathroom again -- I will dump your dumb fingernail-polish remover-covered toilet paper onto your pillow. Promise. This is one of many. I don't know what to do since she won't talk to me. I am tiptoeing around here now and avoiding her. I can't afford to move. What can I do?
-- Accused of Dirtbagginess
It's a funny thing, living with someone. Your dilemma is hardly the first of its kind. I have a friend who had a roommate turn on her. The matter ended in the middle of a busy street, with hair-pulling and clothes-ripping, while a third roommate cooed "Calm down Tiger" into the ear of one of the bloody brawlers. In short, the passive aggression turned alarmingly aggressive.
Let's hope your situation can end without ruining any nice blouses or expensive haircuts. I believe it can. So does Dr. Michael Short, a psychologist in Columbus, Ohio.
"Kill her with kindness," he says, annoying the hell out of my guru-like zen. "I mean, defer to her. Fix it however you can. This is your home and the last thing either of you wants or needs is misery in it."
I know that isn't the news you wanted. Frankly, I also initially found it lame.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was exactly right. If your only complaint about your roommate is her bad attitude, then do whatever you can to snap her out of it. Apologize. Bring home an extra éclair from the bakery with her name on it. Let her pick the TV show for a while. Clean up a little more than usual, even wash a few of her dishes!
In short, whatever the problem is, fix it.
Don't even let yourself worry about why she's mad. Assume she has a screw loose, a sick parent, or an unrequited love. But whatever you do DON'T take it personally and DO whatever it takes to restore an equilibrium.
Help her get over her rage so that you can live in peace.
You don't have to be friends, but to successfully live as her roommate you must be civil. So set a goal: Peace. Do it for you and forget that the consequence is that you have to be kind to a passive aggressive witch. Get there by any means necessary.
The alternative is just depressing, and often involves replacing expensive shampoo with dish soap. Trust me. Not worth it. I think you can fix this, Accused.
Now go get her!
Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org