How do I let my roommates know that I don’t want to hang out with them?

Dear Gwyn,

I have two roommates and as far as being roommates we are very compatible. However, our personalities outside of the house really don’t mesh. They like to party alot and are sloppy drunks and I prefer a glass of wine a good book.  They are always inviting me out to party and despite having excuses the first few times, I’m running out of ways to avoid hanging out with them. How do I decline the invitation without ruining our good roommate situation?

Your are smart to recognize the value of good roommate dynamics, however being truthful about your personal preferences and gracefully accommodating each other will be the best way to maintain these dynamics.

The relationship with your roommates may not be be the same as with other friends but it is a relationship nonetheless. It requires balancing each other’s preferences and understanding your role with each other. Unsettling your balanced home dynamics by partying when you aren’t comfortable isn’t ideal, but constantly saying “no” or lying to turn down invitations isn’t healthy for the relationship either.

  1. Know Your Comfort. You may not be comfortable partying all night, but a glass of wine at the house, or a walk to the local ice cream parlour is another social event in which you can partake together.
  2. Say “yes” Instead of “no.”  Hearing “no” all the time can be wearing. Instead of saying “no” the next time your roommate asks you to go out, instead say “yes.”
  3. Offer an Alternative. Saying “yes” does not require you to agree with your roommate’s plan. Say, “yes” and offer a compromise. You may say “Yes, I’d love to go out. Let’s grab a happy hour beverage at the local bar before you meet you other friends”

Allowing yourself to say yes while still staying within your comfort level will reset the expectations and maintain the dynamics.

And of course, it goes two ways.  You can reach out to your roommates (maybe even offer something a bit out of your comfort zone!) and they can learn to adjust their requests as well.