It’s Not Me, It’s You: Breaking up with a Roommate


Sometimes things don’t work out the way we expect: relationships, friendships, living situations.  No matter how mature or experienced we are, when something goes awry, there will be hard feelings.

The cardinal rule of roommate break-ups is don’t blindside your roommates. Don’t  just pack up and leave a post-it on the fridge.  Also, it’s not cool to announce that you are leaving by email or text.  No matter how difficult the situation, the right way is to tell them with plenty of time in advance about your intentions, in order to allow your roommates plan and adjust to a new living situation. In some cases this may be two weeks, in others, it could take over a month.  But as soon as you’re positive you’re moving out, let the rest of the roommates in on your plans.

The easiest way to leave is if you must go: you’re moving to a new city or attending a new school. Or perhaps you’re moving back home.  Breaking the news to your roommates may be difficult, but once the news is out, you can help your roommates find a replacement or a new apartment to make the transition easiest.  Plus, a last shebang going away party is certainly in order!

If you’re leaving the apartment, but planning to stay in the same city, things can get a little trickier. Try and be as straightforward as possible.  If you’re moving in with a significant other, say so, and explain your logic on making the choice.  Your roommates may be mad that you’re breaking the lease, or deserting them, so consider having a conversation about the prospect of moving before you make the final decision.

If you’re really, truly moving out because of a bad living situation, set up a meeting with your roommates to let them know why things are not working out.  There should be no misunderstanding.  You may need to save more on rent, or desire to move to a bigger place in a quieter neighborhood.  Be firm but try to be as accommodating as possible.  If the lease isn’t over, review it carefully to see if it makes more sense to break the lease or sublet.  Also make plans for the return of your security deposit. Once you forfeit your room, even if you feel like your roommates were the reason in this move-out, they remain as tenants, and will have more control than you about what will happen. Let everyone know your  timetable and move out on the scheduled day and time. Finally, agree how to split any communal goods.

If you still want to be friends, it may take time, but being honest and straight-forward of your reasons for leaving can help repair friendships in the future.  Some BFFs just don’t live well together! Remind your ex-roomies how much you love and care about them and be patient while you all get on your feet again.


It may be time to move on.

photo credit, flickr

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Author My First Apartment

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While being New York’s most fabulous resident consumes most of her time, Melissa Kravitz enjoys excessive amounts of reading, crafting, shopping, cooking five meals a day, and befriending puppies. Melissa considers herself NYC’s ultimate pasta expert; a good part of her apartment is dedicated to her thriving pasta collection.

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