My roommate doesn’t do his share of the chores

Your Life
March, 2016

My roommate doesn’t do his share of the chores. We never discussed this issue, so is there a way for us to set up rules now without acrimony?

In all social group relationships, from international relations to household ones, we need to have implicit and/or explicit rules of coexistence.

We learn them by example and by social teaching at home, school and society at large. Those norms or rules are the warranty for mutual respect for each other's integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

You probably assumed that the most basic rules were taken for granted in the living agreement between you and your roommate, but clearly that is not the case.

I suggest that, before you meet with your roommate, you do this exercise:

  • First, identify your feelings associated with the situation —frustrated, angry, upset, etc.
  • Second, write down specific activities that define what you mean by “share of the chores.”

When you feel ready to discuss the situation with your roommate, set up a specific time and place, and describe the meeting in a non-threatening way. And keep in mind Proverbs 17:14: “To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.”