There’s no easy way around it-ending any type of relationship is hard, whether that’s submitting a resignation letter at your job, ending a long relationship, or telling your roommate that you’re moving out.
When telling your roommate that you’re moving out, there’s little room for a clean break. You’re likely to share common spaces for the near future, so it’s important to let them know in the least dramatic way for your sanity and theirs.
Best tips for breaking up with your roommate
There could be a variety of reasons for choosing to move out of your current living situation, from personality clashes, wanting to live with a partner, different standards of cleanliness, or simply wanting to live on your own. The options are endless, and you’re not required to explain your reasoning to your roommate or anyone else.
No matter the reason, you want to ensure that you are still being respectful to your roommate when breaking the news. There’s a few things you should keep in mind before approaching this conversation in order to mitigate the fall-out that could occur.
Choosing the time and place
When choosing a time and place to tell your roommate that you’re moving out, it’s important to remember that this is big information to drop, so you need to be respectful of how your roommate is going to deal with the news.
It’s crucial to have this conversation with your roommate face-to-face and in your shared living space. Although this may be uncomfortable for you, no one enjoys getting bad news over text, voicemail, or post-it (cue Carrie & Jack’s breakup in Sex & the City), and it will seem that you’re trying to hide from facing the facts. If you think a scene will be made, make sure that you know how to deal with what may transpire. Stay calm, cool, and collected when delivering your breakup.
Practice what you are going to say before delivering the message. Your verbal communication of the message is crucial to how the message is received by your roommate. Make sure that you aren’t giving off negative body language and pay attention to the tone that you use. Perhaps record yourself delivering the message so that you aren’t giving off mixed signals.
You need to give ample notice of leaving the apartment. The norm is to give a 30-day warning in order to best prepare for filling the vacancy, but more on that later. In addition, make sure not to discuss moving out with any mutual friends before you tell your roommate. No one wants additional drama.
Find a time to speak when you’ll have more than enough time to talk. You don’t want to spring this on them ten minutes before either of you go to work.
It’s not you, it’s me
The reason you may be moving out could be entirely due to your roommate’s actions, but you should not word it that way. It may seem like a cliche, but when you tell your roommate that you’re moving out, keep the conversation focused on how it’s about you and not them.
Using I statements can help the conversation stay focused and removes the blame game and tensions that could arise in your remaining time. Say your roommate is always capitalizing on the main living areas and you don’t feel a sense of privacy. You can frame the conversation around wanting to live alone and have a space of your own. If your roommate is on the louder side and your soundproofing attempts haven’t completely solved the problem, then present your reason as just wanting to live in a quieter location.
It’s important to make sure that you come prepared with an honest reason before your conversation with your roommate. Hiding behind lies can make the whole situation messier and can ruin friendships if the truth comes out.
When presenting your reasons, identify problems separate from their character. There’s a fine line that separates how someone is as a friend to you and how someone is as a roommate. You don’t want to lose a friendship due to the fact that you’re moving out.
Fill the hole you’re leaving
If your lease isn’t currently ending, you’re most likely blindsiding your roommate by moving out. In order to not leave them empty-handed, you should work to find someone to fill your spot, whether that’s a subleaser from you or someone taking over your lease entirely.
Not only is this a nice gesture, but it will help release some of the financial pressure that you have because of your lease. As long as your name is on the lease, you are responsible for a share of rent and utilities. Don’t forget to communicate with your landlord on the subleasing policies for your unit.
Don’t leave your baggage
When packing up to move, you’re bound to run into items that you don’t want to keep anymore. After watching “Tidying up with Marie Kondo,” we could all learn how to declutter and pack more efficiently. However, no matter how much you don’t want them, your roommate isn’t going to want to deal with picking up after you once you’re gone.
If you have bigger items that are still usable, feel free to ask your roommate if they’ll get value from them. If not, there are donation centers that will happily take these items off of your hands.
Split the shared stuff
Did you go in together on big-ticket items, such as furniture or electronics? Sit down closer to your move date and figure out the best way to evenly split these items. It might involve paying the other to keep it or splitting the items. Whatever you find that is most fair to you, make sure to keep this process simple- no one wants to fight over a $15 blender.
On to the next one
Telling your roommate that you’re moving out is going to be an awkward situation. However, following these tips can help make the process as smooth as possible. Remember this living situation as a learning experience when deciding what to do for your next place and make sure . There are always going to be good and bad parts of a living experience, but you just need to find what works best for you personally.