If your roommate is stealing from you, the best way to confront your roommate is actually to avoid being too confrontational. Follow the steps below to confront your roommate in the least drama-inducing manner possible.
Why You Must Confront
As unappealing as confrontation is, you’re not going to be comfortable living in a home in which you feel betrayed and victimized. If you ignore the behavior, your roommate will likely continue to steal. Plus, it’s possible you’re not living with a mean roommate with ill intentions at all-but you won’t know until you communicate.
Step 1 – Evaluate What’s Stolen
Before you accuse your roommate of stealing, take a closer look at your missing belongings. If it’s just one or two things, you may be mistaken and have just misplaced them, so be sure to do a thorough check under and behind furniture. If anything of value you own (like an MP3 player, DVDs, games, etc.) always mysteriously disappears or finds its way into your roommate’s room, you have a strong case that your roommate is stealing. If a lot of inexpensive items, such as toiletries and office supplies, are gone, it’s possible you’re not dealing with a mean roommate, but rather a roommate who is oblivious when it comes to respecting boundaries.
Step 2 – Arrange a Meeting Over a Meal
You must be firm but not overpowering when confronting a roommate, or he or she will become defensive. Invite your roommate to eat a meal with you. You can cook or invite him or her to a neutral location, where he or she may be less likely to get angry and upset. Don’t let up until your roommate agrees.
Step 3 – Open a Dialog
Start the meal with some small talk and then open a dialog in which you:
- Ask your roommate if he or she knows that you’ve noticed your lost items and, if applicable, found some of them moved elsewhere in the apartment.
- Tell your roommate that you would appreciate it if he or she didn’t go into your room or touch your things without your permission, but stress that sometimes you wouldn’t mind sharing as long as your roommate asks you first.
- Stress that you’re on a budget and that even missing inexpensive toiletries can add up to higher costs for you. You can offer to take turns buying toiletries for both of you to share.
- Allow your roommate to speak his or her mind. A mean roommate may deny everything and/or fling unfounded accusations at you, but it’s possible that your roommate will simply become embarrassed and tell you that he or she didn’t know you weren’t okay with him or her taking your stuff.
- If your roommate didn’t have ill intentions and there was simply a miscommunication between you, agree to let the matter go and don’t hold any grudges, so long as your roommate changes his or her behavior from then on.
Living with a roommate who is stealing your stuff is an unpleasant situation, so you must work through the unpleasant task of confronting your roommate and establishing better communication. If you find you truly have a mean roommate who won’t cooperate, it’s time to explore other living options.