Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Roommate Is Ruining My Life

Dear Bashionista,

I've been reading your blog and I am in love with all the different party themes! There is nothing more I'd like to do than embark on a bashionista career of my own. The problem is, my roommate hates parties. What do I do?

Lynn S.

Dear Lynn,

Find a new apartment.

I'm only partly kidding. The party-throwing way of life requires a pretty magical set of circumstances; a space big enough to entertain in, with rent that's low enough that you can actually afford to entertain, roommates who don't mind having strangers in their house until all hours of the night, and neighbors who don't tend to call the police.

That being said, living with people is all about compromise, not all about your roommate always getting her way. Here are some suggestions for navigating that conversation.

1) Neutralize her objections

Sit your roommate down and say, Hey, I was thinking that I'd really like to throw a party next month. I know you're not really a fan of having a bunch of people over, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make it go smoothly for you.

Maybe your roommate hates having people over late at night when she's trying to sleep - consider hosting a barbecue or other afternoon event. Maybe last time people came over they ate her food, drank her booze, broke her things and let her cat escape. Offer to hide her things and find someone who's willing to cat-sit. Maybe she just despises having the house a mess. Tell her that obviously the clean-up before and after will be your responsibility, and come up with a reasonable deadline for that to happen - that night before you go to bed? Not reasonable. By noon the following day? Quite possible.

2) Scale it back

Is it the size or the frequency of parties that drives your roommate crazy? If your ragers have been getting out of hand, consider having small, intimate gatherings of no more than 10 people once a month. Is your house feeling like a transient hotel? Offer to cut down on the constant comings and goings, and in return propose having four big events a year.

3) Make your roommate disappear

No, not the Cosa Nostra way, though that might be tempting. If your roommate is an obsessive-compulsive xenophobe who refuses to budge on having people over, tell her, Look. I really want to have a birthday party and I can't afford to rent someplace else. I promise to take care of everything, hide the breakables, buy all the food, do all the dishes within 24 hours and take Mr. Mewington to my mother's house. But if you're going to be miserable the whole time, maybe we could plan it for a weekend you're going to be out of town? Or a night when you wouldn't mind sleeping away?

If your roommate is so heartless and inflexible that she won't grant you your one birthday wish, you have my blessing to break the lease, and leave with all of your belongings under cover of night.


  1. I'd like to have Mr. Meowington for a night...

  2. Yes, I'm sure he would have something to contribute to the cat orchestra.