Ask Natalie: what do I do about my messy roommates?

“Dear Natalie,

I moved into my new place in May and I work a lot so I don't see a ton of my roommates, but recently I've been noticing a lot of signs from them. I'm generally a clean person and my old roommates were generally clean people, but I guess my new roommates aren't. I see dirty dishes in the sink for a few days without moving, there's toothpaste in the sink constantly and it seems that no one has turned on the vacuum since we got the keys. It's gross, but I don't know how to say anything because I'm not really friends with them and I don't see them because our schedules are different. Help?”

If you're living with these people long term — as in longer than just the next two months — then prepare yourself to just come out of your room and talk to them. If you're not, ask yourself, is it worth it?

I'm a pretty clean person, but I also don't like potentially awkward situations more than I don't like dirty dishes. If it was a summer situation, I would keep my situation tight, clean my dishes, vacuum my room and just try not to make waves. I know it's shitty, but what are your priorities?

Now, I only really present turning the other cheek as a solution if you're not setting yourself up to be slapped twice. If you're staying longer than the summer, yeah, go out with your concerns and try to reach a compromise. Don't go out on the defence though.

Maybe your roommate works doubles four days a week and that's why their dishes haven't moved. Maybe they don't turn on the bathroom light when they brush their teeth in the morning because it shines directly into someone's bedroom.

Start a group chat and ask for a house meeting. Bring up your issues. Even if you don't see the others much, you're still a part of the house.


I broke up with my boyfriend last week and I don't feel bad about it, but the thing is my friends really, really liked him. We were doing well so when I “suddenly” broke up with him, they were kind of bummed and a few of them have been asking why and if they could hang out with him. I'm not their mother and I'm not going to tell them not to hang out with him, but we broke up because I found out he was cheating on me. I don't air my dirty laundry so my friends don't know, just that I broke up with him, but I don't know how to say if they invite him to events, I won't be going without sounding like a petty ex-girlfriend or something. Should I tell them?”

Girl, what are you doing? What kind of friends do you have that they're even talking about inviting him to the same events as your ex? You've dumped the loser cheating boyfriend and now you have to dump these loser friends of yours.

If you're not comfortable dumping them — I'm not your mother either — then tell one of your closer friends that the reason you broke up was because he cheated and you didn't want to spread it around but you don't want to see him at parties or anything. Ask them if they “could take care of it.” Either they'll make sure this whole nonsense is shut down or they're actually a secret assassin and the ex won't be anyone's “problem” anymore. Try to make sure it's the former.

And this is just personal advice, but shit like this should be known among friends. You're not calling his boss and parents and telling them about it, but you deserve to be surrounded by people offering you ice cream and movie nights and not people asking if they can hang out with your ex.

Seriously, the friends who immediately renounce your ex after a breakup are amazing.

“Dear Natalie,

Is it okay to ask my waitress out? I feel like she's flirting with me, but I don't want to wait around after her shift because I'm nervous I'll look like a creep.”

Nope. No no no no no. Don't do it buddy. If it only seems like she's flirting with you, then she's not. It's a sad look into our society, but wait staff are constantly asked to flirt with customers for more tips.

If you absolutely have to, write your name and number down and leave it on your table. That way if she wants to reach out, she will.

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