View Full Version : Help with my Roommate?


beachguy73
06-15-14, 07:34 PM
Hi everyone! This is my first post on this forum, so I apologize if it's in the wrong section. With that being said, I could really use your advice.

One of my new roommates has ADD. He's a really nice guy, but he's dirty. VERY dirty. Whenever he cooks, he simply puts his used pots, pans, dishes and anything else he used in the sink without washing them. He never even bothers to check and see if the dishwasher is empty. The worst part is when he leaves his dirty, smelly, crusty socks in the bathroom after taking a shower. Yuck!

Whenever I get on him about cleaning up after himself, he blames it on his ADD. My other roommates accept his excuse and clean up after him (4 of us in a 4-bedroom house), but I refuse to do the same. The only time I'll wash something he used is if I need it to cook. I'm a college student working 2 summer jobs (intern at an accounting firm and weekend laborer for a construction company), and I HATE coming home after a 10-12 hour shift of hard labor in the hot sun to a sink overflowing with dishes -- especially if I'm planning on cooking.

I consider myself a really nice guy. I treat people how they treat me. He's never yelled at me or been rude to me; and I've returned the favor. I've done some research on ADD, but I haven't been able to establish a direct link to cleanliness (or lack thereof). However, my patience is wearinh thin. I just need to know: Is he using his ADD as a cop-out, or is it just my ignorance? If it's the latter, then I apologize in advance to anyone I may have offended.

Thank you for your help!

namazu
06-15-14, 08:33 PM
People with ADHD do often have difficulty with distractibility, impulsivity, and organization that make us look (and live) like slobs.

But although cleaning and remembering not to leave things lying around can be very difficult for some of us, that doesn't mean we're completely incapable of organization or of being good housemates -- though it may take some work on your part.

When you "get on him" about cleaning, how do you approach it? It's a tricky situation, because on the one hand, for many of us, friendly reminders can be helpful/necessary because we do forget to pick up after ourselves (even if we meant to)...but on the other hand, being constantly nagged and reminded of our failures can be counterproductive.

There may be ways to modify the environment to facilitate greater neatness on his part -- but he would need to buy into it for it to work. If he's learned that he can shirk responsibility and other people will do the work for him, that may be a difficult thing to unlearn.

But if he could set himself reminders in his phone to do the dishes, or maybe put a hamper in the bathroom to catch his dirty socks, that might help...

It sounds like you're trying in good faith to understand, while still needing to maintain a standard of living that's comfortable / not disgusting to you, which is laudable. If you were to say, "Hey, dude, I know I get on your case about cleaning a lot, and I know you have ADHD and it's not the easiest thing for you to do, but could we sit down together and figure out some strategies that are workable for both of us?", how do you think he'd respond? Would he be open to that?

TLCisaQT
06-15-14, 11:57 PM
ADHD may be a reason for it and provide understanding, but it doesn't have to be an excuse - two different things. While it may be harder for him to follow through on a task for be organized, doesn't mean it's impossible BUT yes, he does have to be invested in WANTING to find a way to make it work OR it won't. Finding a solution if he does, will depend on what works best for him, and how open he is to help/suggestions. Good luck.

Arthas
06-25-14, 10:17 PM
It sounds like you're trying in good faith to understand, while still needing to maintain a standard of living that's comfortable / not disgusting to you, which is laudable. If you were to say, "Hey, dude, I know I get on your case about cleaning a lot, and I know you have ADHD and it's not the easiest thing for you to do, but could we sit down together and figure out some strategies that are workable for both of us?", how do you think he'd respond? Would he be open to that?
^^ This!! That totally sounds like a great way to approach it. Maybe even have the chat informally over a beer or whatever. Just try to keep it positive and in no way critical. He may shut down if you're too harsh.

My best guess with him leaving his socks in the bathroom, or the dishes in the sink, is that he gets distracted with something else, or some other line of thought, and just simply forgets about them for a while. After a period of time, he may remember, and even feel bad about it, but may feel too anxious about it and will avoid it at all costs. Sounds dumb to those of us without ADHD, but I've learned a thing or two over the years with my wife. I don't think he's trying to get you or your other roommates to clean up after him, he just may not realize how it affects you.

Best of luck with your roommate!

RobboW
06-25-14, 11:29 PM
As a distracted and disorganised person myself, I can offer my own two cents of advice. I also don't think he is deliberately trying to cause trouble, but alarm bells ring if he has blamed it on his ADHD and still doesn't do it. IMO, he is aware of it and needs to be more mindful of his housemates. They aren't his family, everyone pays to live there and should be able to expect a certain living standard.

Approach him (at a relaxed time) about it, in a non confrontational way, but be very blunt. Hints are not much use. He needs to just take care of this stuff immediately and it will become a habit that then takes no prompting, like cleaning your teeth or washing your hands. If he's made aware of the impact to others he will understand. It's just that at those times he may be focused on whatever he's about to do and bypass the thing that really needs doing straight away. I'd say, once made aware, he will likely feel embarrassed about it.

Jenn1202
07-01-14, 02:39 AM
People with ADD often find it difficult to get themselves to do boring tasks like cleaning; they often get distracted and forget to do it. I have accidentally left my socks in the bathroom several before simply because I forgot they were there. It really sucks when it happens, especially when it affects other people. I think the cell phone reminders and hamper ideas that were mentioned in previous posts can possibly help your roommate remember to take care of these things.

It'sPeter
07-01-14, 05:30 AM
It's hard to see if someone genuinly has ADD by reading a someone's story on someone else. I'm also aware the many people say they have ADHD/ADD as a quirky thing (I'm sooo ADD, lol). So I think it would be to difficult to say by reading your post.
For the post I will assume he really has ADD/ADHD.

As an ADD'er that lived in a group and now lives together with his girlfriend, I think there are at least two things you can do.

1. Have a chat about his ADD. You came here, so you are truly interested. Really sit down and show interest. If he really has ADD, there are most likely things he's struggling with (and go beyond leaving dirty socks), but are often well hidden, because he feels ashamed of them. Things like being in financial trouble all the time and forgetting birthdays of people that are important to him or having trouble following through with school and work. There can be a pretty dark side to ADD, besides forgetting to do the dishes. It can do so much damage on your self-image, because you start thinking you're just an anti-social, selfish quitter. And that's an awesome way to get on the train to depression town.
So, show interest in him. He may open up and share his struggles.

2. Be clear with him. If someone wants me to do something (like a girlfriend that, rightfully, wants me to help more around the house, [true story]) I need almost childishly clear agreements. Things like: 'could you try to help out more' or 'could you do the dishes more often' mean nothing to me. They are way to abstract. The things that go well in our household (concerning my ADD and doing my part) come from very basic agreements. For example me and my girlfriend agreed that after dinner I do the dishes, before I go to bed I clean the cat litter thing, and when the garbage bin is full I will take it outside.
These agreements say what is expected of me and when I need to do them. That clarity is worth a million to me.