Today we tackle another tricky topic, how to deal with a parent who may disapprove your choice of a roommate. Here’s the email we received from Kaylah:
In May, a few friends and I are moving into an apartment for the first time. I can’t help but worry when I think of how my dad will react when he finds out one of my roommates is a guy. My mother and I are trying to think of ways to break it to him gently.
Even though I am, for the most part, financially independent, I don’t want to be the source of conflict in my small family. But I’m also an adult now, and I do have a right to decide who I live with…especially if I’m paying for it. Any advice?!?!
To start with, I think your attitude is fantastic facing this situation. You’re excited for your independence but still very respectful of your father’s feelings and opinions. It’s also great that you have your mother on board with your plan already. That should help during your conversations. I went through something very similar when I moved out because I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend! Not just a guy, but a boyfriend! Neither of my parents were thrilled at first, but it had more to do with the relationship. I thought through what I wanted to say in advance, which helped me talk calmly and clearly to my parents. I recommend that you try to do the same. Think about why this situation is good for you–offers independence, you’re ready to get on your own, the apartment is closer to work/school/etc. Think about why your blend of roommates is good–get along well, all financially stable, each brings (insert particular traits about each roommate) to the situation.
If you think he’ll freak simply because one roommate is male, be ready to explain why this guy is a good one to live with and what rules you have set for the living situation. Also be ready to field any questions your dad has. In fact, you should ask for them. In order for him to be comfortable with the situation, he may want to know everything he can about your roommates and apartment. Another idea is to have your parents meet all of your roommates…before signing the lease. It’s likely that your other roommates’ parents would like to have that opportunity too. You can make it a casual meeting over over some take-out pizza or dinner at an affordable restaurant near your new neighborhood. That way, everyone can get to know each other a little better. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but if your roommates are interested in you as a friend, they’d likely be happy to meet your parents as well.
During your conversation with your parents, consider their (especially your dad’s) ideas, too. If he vehemently opposes you moving in with a guy, ask why. Usually, our parents have our best interests at heart and years of experience backing their ideas.
Overall, we wish you luck! Moving into your first apartment is exciting and fun. In your case, I think you should work with your dad until he agrees with you (for your own sake! You seem to really care to make him happy) in order to smooth everything out. Your conversation with your parents may be a little awkward, but come prepared with your ideas and reasons and ask for their advice as well.
Let us know how it goes!
Sarah and the My First Apartment Team
MFA readers, please share your suggestions in the comments below.