Seeing your roommate naked is one of those uncomfortable situations that no one ever wants to encounter. Awkward as it is, if it happens you shouldn’t freak out. Situations are best remedied by acting maturely. So whether you forgot to knock or came home early to an unprepared unclothed roommate, here’s what you should do.
Be the First to Break the Silence
Awkward situations become even more awkward when people refuse to talk about them. Don’t be one of those people. Instead of walking around in silence afraid to say something about it, break the silence. Your roommate is likely even more embarrassed than you are. When your roommate emerges, clothed, apologize for what happened. Even if it wasn’t directly your fault (like if you walked into the bathroom thinking no one was in there), an apology is a good way to begin the dialogue. Your roommate will probably apologize, too. Refusing to talk about it or pretending it didn’t happen will never clear the
Find the Humor in the Situation
Even if it doesn’t seem funny now, this is the kind of situation that you will someday look back upon and laugh. Don’t take it too seriously. Seeing your roommate naked was an accident and, at the end of the day, isn’t a life or death matter. It’s not like you walked in on your roommate sacrificing an animal or plotting murder. Finding the humor in the situation will lighten the mood. Apologize for what happened and then lighten the mood with a joke or a lighthearted line like, “Well, that was unexpected!” It’ll break the ice and make you both feel more comfortable.
Make Appropriate Changes or Rules
All humor aside, you both probably want to make sure a situation like this doesn’t happen again. You don’t want to make a habit of walking in on your roommate naked—and he or she doesn’t want to be walked in on repeatedly! Depending on how it happened, make new ground rules. You should always knock before entering a room. Even if the bathroom door isn’t shut completely, leading you to believe it’s empty, knock anyway. Knocking on the bedroom door is a must. Never enter your roommate’s room when the door is shut without asking or knocking first.
Concerning coming home early or unexpectedly to find your roommate lounging unclothed in the common areas like the living room or the dining area requires an entirely different situation. Chances are this instance wasn’t the first. Had you both discussed your thoughts on walking around naked in the apartment? If not, now’s the time. Figure out how you feel about it. Generally, though, it’s best to have a “no nakedness in common rooms” policy. Imagine if it hadn’t been just you who’d walked in on your roommate, but friends and family as well. Walking around naked should be reserved to situations where a person lives in his or her own place, not with a roommate.
Don’t let walking in on your roommate naked affect the rest of your time living together. Apologize for walking in, make light of it and create new rules and boundaries.
Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.