How To Leave Your Roommate Hanging Without Being A Total Jerk

How To Leave Your Roommate Hanging Without Being A Total Jerk
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You have problems, I have advice. This advice isn’t sugar-coated – in fact, it’s sugar-free, and may even be a little bitter. Welcome to Tough Love.

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This week we have someone who wants to move out and leave their roommate hanging, even though they had grilled them about their living situation in the past.

Keep in mind, I’m not a therapist or any other kind of health professional – just a guy who’s willing to tell it like it is. I simply want to give you the tools you need to enrich your damn lives. If for whatever reason you don’t like my advice, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now then, let’s get on with it.

Hello Patrick,

About a year and a half ago I bought a new car. Before the purchase I had a sit down with my roommate to confirm he did not plan on moving out any time soon as paying for the apartment on my own AND a car payment would have been impossible. He assured me he had no plans.

However, earlier this month I was laid off from my job. I am not too panicked because I have a couple of very strong job leads, but the problem is that these prospects are halfway across the country. Nothing is final yet, but I feel a lot of guilt over quizzing the roommate about his living situation plan, then being the one to move out.

I never wanted a roommate. One of the reasons this prospective move is so attractive is the cost of living would be such that I could afford my own place. That said, my roommate has been a great roommate, he’s a good guy, and I want to do right by him. Obviously I should give him as much head’s up as possible; I’m hoping for 45-60 days notice and work with him to find a replacement. Assuming I can make the money work if we don’t find a replacement, I’d like to give him two months rent ahead of time. And if he finds someone to take my place within that two months, I’d let him keep the difference; the trade off being if he does not, I am free and clear nonetheless.

Is there anything else I could or should be doing? We are tenants at will, so there’s no legal obligation. Like I said, I just want to do the right thing.


Simply Red

Hey Simply Red,

Not all tough love is telling someone they did something wrong. Sometimes it’s telling someone what they did right. So, as much as I’d like to tear you a new one for being a crappy person, I can’t. But I can still help you out here. After all, I think you’re being pretty nice – a little too nice.

First off, checking in with a roommate about their living plans is a completely reasonable thing to do. It’s not like you told him, “You can’t move ’cause I’m buying a car bro!” You just asked if he’s staying so you’d know if you could swing a car payment. I guess he could have been a jerk and told you that information was private, but it seems to have worked out fine.

But now you probably need to move, and you’re worried he’ll be mad at you. For one thing, you asked him about his living situation a year and a half ago. Even if it slightly bothered him then, he’s surely over it by now. And it isn’t like you chose to be laid off. If he’s as good a guy as you say he is, he’ll understand that life happens. You’re definitely free to move out whenever you like, especially since you have no legal obligation. The fact that you’re giving him 60 days notice, plus offering to pay rent for another 60 days after that – all while helping him find a replacement – is, frankly, amazing. Common courtesy says you should give someone 30 days notice, that’s it, and you’re going well beyond that. Good on you, you’re doing the right thing!

That said, it might be an offer that’s a little too nice. There’s a chance this guy will take your good will the wrong way. Giving him a lengthy notice and helping him find a new roommate is one thing (that’s just being a good friend), but offering to pay the rent in addition to that might feel like charity. It isn’t really clear if you’re paying for just your portion of the rent or all of it, but either way, that kind of thing can really offend some people, so I’d maybe hold off on that offer at first. Let him know what’s going on, give him 60 days notice, and offer to help him find someone new. THEN, if your move out date is fast approaching and you guys haven’t found a new person yet, consider offering him the money so you both can rest easy.


Because I just don’t have time for all of you…

No Time for Rough Patches says:

I don’t know what to do. I broke up with this guy about two months ago without realising that he was going through a rough time. I’ve started talking to him again saying that I miss him and I want him back but he says he’s scared so I don’t know how to reassure him that it isn’t going to be like last time. I really regret what happened in the past and I really love him, but I’m not one who usually talks about her feelings, so if you could possibly help me that would be absolutely amazing.

To be honest, I question your “love” for this person. When you love someone, you know they are going through a “rough time” because you notice their behaviour or mood changing and you talk to them about it. Or you ask them how they are doing and they open up to you. Then, you stick with them and help while they get through that rough time. You obliviously jumped ship in stormy waters and now he’s always going to have a hard time trusting you again. He knows you want to get back together – you told him. Give him space and let him decide if that’s what he wants. It isn’t about your feelings now.

Wondering About Wanderlust asks:

I’ve been offered a job in Vietnam teaching English for six months, should I take it?

Yes. Bye!

Getting the Silent Treatment asks:

I’ve been talking to this guy for almost two years. Recently, he told me he loved me and I said it back. But then I remembered a few things that happened in the past and I brought them to his attention. He said I made him feel awful and he stop talking to me. I have apologised on several different occasions. He told me he doesn’t hate me, he has love for me, but he still doesn’t talk to me. He likes my pictures on social media but won’t talk to me. How can I fix this? Or should I let it go?

Let it go.

And now, a play-by-play serving of Tough Love for Learning With Lingerie:

Sir, I want you to help me with two things. One: You watch a video that was about the sleeping positions you shouldn’t try. You watch it, but it uses females in lingerie to show the sleeping poses. What do you do next?

Avoid those sleeping positions. Or don’t. It’s your choice.

Why did they ever put women and in lingerie??? They had other options. I don’t know about this.

I don’t know, maybe they thought it would attract more viewers. Seemed to work for you.

Second: Let’s say you watched the video. The thing is that you don’t get the same understanding from a blog or video with such things – let’s call these “attention seeking things” – then if it were free from them. The YouTubers or bloggers did all the hard work so that the viewers would understand properly but including all that stuff in their will make the results unlikely.

Most people can probably learn and be mildly titillated at the same time. If you’re having a hard time with it, just don’t watch it.

These “attention seeking things” play with the thought process and force the brain to work more.

Uh, I don’t know about that. Focus more maybe…

You will quickly loose previous information because of all this struggling inside your head against not getting tempted, but instead get focused on the real stuff that is in there or yet to come as the video or blog continues. The YouTubers and bloggers just don’t care? Or do they?

What? Tempted? And no, they don’t care.

Thank you in advance. I want to get out of this thing. How?

STOP WATCHING IT. Jeez, go masturbate or something dude.

That’s it for this week. I probably didn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. ‘Til next time, figure things out for yourself.