COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987
August 9, 2017

Should I Rat Out My Roomie?

Hey, Bonita…

I really needed a roommate for the fall, so I found one online. He moved in only a few days ago, and it's already going badly. He smokes tons of pot inside and doesn't seem to get why someone wouldn't like that. He's already signed the lease, so we're stuck together. I'm not sure how to talk to him about this, but I'm thinking about just calling the cops.

Why? What good would it do to have cops crawling all over your rented home, shaking down your space and shoving your roommate into the criminal system as a nonviolent offender? He'll be dealing with the legal repercussions of smoking a joint for years if you call the police. He'll be charged with possession, and he'll have to waste a lot of time and money in court.

Also—and this is the biggest point for me—this still doesn't nullify your lease. You're gonna get this guy arrested, and he's still gonna be well within his rights to just come back to your place and continue living there. Not only that, but you'll then be known as a snitch and as an untrustworthy person, and you'll have to find roommates on Craigslist for the rest of your life. No one will trust you or want to live with you, and they will be right to judge you thusly. The legal system sucks, and you can't just throw people into it on a whim. Be smart when exercising your access to the law.

Call the cops when your life is in danger, not when you're annoyed at pot smoke. He moved into your place, so you're allowed to lay down some ground rules. Outlaw smoking in common spaces, or outlaw it indoors altogether. If you allow bedroom smoking, insist that he clear out the smoke by opening windows and/or burning incense. Absolutely do not renew any lease with this guy once it's up, and when you look for new roomies, be very specific about the house rules before they sign on.


My parents just helped me move into my first off-campus apartment, and they would NOT shut up about wanting me to visit home every weekend. I did that a lot when I was living on campus, but I really don't see myself wanting to drive three hours home every Friday and Saturday anymore. I let them know that I've gotten to like Athens over the years, and I wanna explore the town more. My parents insist that they can help with that, too! Now they wanna come here and visit ME every single weekend!

I thought I was going about it the right way, but now it's even worse. They're just not listening to me, and I would love any tips you have for driving this point home.

Are you an only child, or a late-in-life baby that came to older parents? This might be why they're so attached and unable to let you become independent. They've spent years focusing on you and your needs, and clearly they're not ready to let go and turn that focus back on themselves. When I left home, my parents took up their hobbies again. Daddy golfs and fishes, and Mama is just weird and awesome (she's gotten into fashion). I also worry that your parents' inability to let go might hinder your own growth as a young adult.

I think you should talk to your parents and explain to them that it's time to soldier on, that all three of you have new lives to live, and that it can’t—and shouldn’t—be avoided. I worry that they're the type who would show up unannounced, so talk to them about that as well. Make sure they respect your home and your time.

Your parents love you and obviously miss you greatly already, so while you're asking for space, be sure to keep the lines of communication open. If you lose contact after a conversation like this, they might think the worst. Be sure to call them, text them selfies and (appropriate) memes, and see them at least twice a month.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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