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July 25, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Peas & Queues

Dear Shaz,
I live in a really great flat—cheap, big, plenty of sunshine and with two flatmates I love. Trouble is that the ‘other’ flatmate is a total dick. He quit uni a couple of months ago, and now he just sits around smoking weed and sulking, leaving a trail of filth and takeaways in his wake. We want him to move out, but are not sure how to tell him. How can we get him to leave without it turning nasty? Any suggestions appreciated.
Thanks, Angie.

Flatting is about compromise and tolerance. It’s also deeply personal when you reject someone from the fold, so think carefully about whether you’ve done everything you can to compromise the living space with him.

He’s obviously going through some shit—has one of you sat down with him and asked him what’s going on? Burst his self-absorbed bubble and helped him realise his slump is affecting others? That’s he’s now desperately unattractive to women and needs to get his shit together? Despite your loathing, do your best to remember he’s a person, and might be hurting and appreciate a wake-up call. A little gently-delivered constructive feedback never broke a man.

If that doesn’t work, and you feel it’s only six months on his Mum’s couch that’s going to sort him out, it’s time for the Talk. While daunting, the Talk is infinitely preferable to other, more cowardly tactics. Like sending the unwanted flatmate an email asking him to leave and then hiding in your room for two weeks, or all the remaining flatmates announcing at once that they’re moving somewhere else—together.

Tips on the Talk:
1. Emotionally prepare him for it. Let him know a day or two beforehand that you wanna have a chat about some stuff, and make a time to meet.
2. Don’t gang up on him—nominate one person to deliver the news.
3. When you have the sit-down, despite how icked out by him you are, do it with compassion.
4. Be straight up—don’t tell a long, meandering story about how life is a journey etc., and don’t bullshit him with confused messages about how you think he’s a great guy but you just don’t wanna live with him.
5. Do your best to avoid talking about the specific things that are irritating you about living with him. Keep it as general as possible: “You’re not the right fit for us”, “It’s not working out”, “We think you might be better suited to a flat with more creative types”.
6. If he gets mad, let him. Fair enough, it can be hurtful. Try not to get mad back and say stuff that will make you feel like a mean person.

Good luck, and remember, be nice!

Need help with a sticky situation? Auntie Sharon may be able to help: auntiesharon@salient.org.nz

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