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My annoying fridge-raiding roommate

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: I’m a recent college graduate, and I just moved into my first real apartment (as in, not campus housing). I found my current roommate, “Stella,” through a friend of a friend. She is very outgoing and laid-back. My problem is that I think she assumes everyone is as laid-back as she is. This mainly comes up regarding our food. Stella keeps eating all the snacks and drinks I buy for myself. Several times after I’ve gotten home from a long day of work and gone to the fridge to get out leftovers from the night before, I have found the container empty. (The empty container left in the fridge really adds insult to injury.)

I’ve tried bringing this up with her several times by asking, “Hey, have you seen my (missing food item)?” And she always answers as if she did nothing wrong, with something to the effect of, “Oh, yeah, I was hungry, so I dipped into that last night.” She usually follows that up by saying I should feel free to have some of her food. I always polititely decline. I really would prefer that we each just eat our own food. Am I being too uptight? How can I get her to stop doing this? — Refrigerator Robberies

Dear Refrigerator Robberies: Well, you could keep all your food in a refrigerated lockbox, but there are some more practical options. The first is to talk to your roommate. She doesn’t seem to be the type who grasps any sort of social code or nuances, so you need to be blunt. Tell her that it really bothers you when you come home to find your food eaten and that though you appreciate her willingness to share her own food, you’d prefer to stick to your own.

If she were to continue doing this anyway, it would indicate a profound lack of respect for other people’s things — not a great quality for a roommate. You might want to start looking for a new place, because living with her might never be easy.

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