3 Tricks for Dealing with a Nosy Roommate

There are few things more irritating than a person who can’t help putting their nose where it doesn’t belong! However, a roommate that does so may be near the top of the list. Although they likely mean you well, you need to find ways to let your roommate know how you feel…without losing your cool!

Nosiness is generally not meant in a bad way. Instead, it’s a person’s way of demonstrating interest in your life or keeping themselves entertained. However, when your roommate gets too far into your business, it can be frustrating since you share a living space that’s also meant to be your own private home. Here are a three proven strategies to deal with the situation:

1. Identify annoying behaviors

First off, try to identify what specific nosy behaviors of your roommate’s annoy you most. Do they hover over you when you’re in the apartment? Ask tons of personal questions? Look through your things when you’re not paying attention? Keep close tabs on your whereabouts? Try to listen into your personal conversations? By identifying what it is that bothers you, you’ll be more prepared to communicate with them.

2. Take steps to counter their snooping

Second, do what you can to limit their behavior. Lock your belongings in your bedroom, take personal calls outside or in your bedroom, move personal items out of their reach. Making your information less accessible makes it harder for them to be accidentally nosy and can reduce your frustration!

3. Address the problem with your roommate

Third, remember what kind of roommate they are to you, as you’ll need to address them differently. Are they a friend roommate? Or, an acquaintance roommate?

A roommate who is your close friend will need to be dealt with delicately so you don’t damage your relationship with them. If you start to notice some nosy behaviors that bother you, you can try joking about it first to gauge their reaction. For instance, when they ask who you’re texting, tell them “None-ya!” or ask “What’s it to you?” Starting to call them out on the behavior without being rude can help them recognize they’re crossing a line. Do not (I repeat, DO NOT!) talk to your other friends or mutual friends about the issue!

Acquaintance roommates require a little less charm for this situation, but you must still be polite!

For both types of roommates, think about the strategy below: 

If the subtle hints don’t change their behavior, sit down with them and let them know how you’re feeling.

During your one-on-one conversation, highlight specific behaviors that you’d like to minimize. For example, tell them: “When you look through my purse and move things around in my room, it makes me feel like you don’t respect my personal space and freaks me out in general. Can you please stop?” Or, “I’ve noticed you flipping through my day planner while I’m cooking dinner. I keep some private notes in that book, so please leave it be.”

Come prepared with specific examples, and if they deny it (“I’ve never done that!”) don’t fight back, just ask them to not do the behavior in the future. Remember, most people don’t even recognize their behavior is weird or nosy, so try to be sensitive to that fact. Perhaps your roommate simply wants to spend a little more time together or is feeling lonely!

Be calm, cool, and collected but let them know how they feel! Mature roommates shouldn’t have a problem with this at all!

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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