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Roommates Are Significantly Older Than Me

GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
I live up in Maine and I just moved to a city in order to be closer to work and get out of the lightly populated town I lived in, where I was living with my parents. I found some housing tailored for students with some decent amenities, a rent that was tolerable, a leasing system where I do not have to worry about roommates paying on time, and the rooms themselves were reasonably comfortable. When it was come time to move in and meet my roommates, I found myself strangely isolated in another way. All of my roommates are in their 40s I would say (I just turned 23 a few days ago). The building itself has plenty of young people but, somehow, I got put into an apartment with 3 older gentlemen that I can't relate much to.

I know a lot of people are going to say I should feel lucky to be where I'm at with room mates that are older, likely cleaner and more reasonable, etc. etc... But I was really hoping to move into a place with some people I could get along with and make moving out of my parent's house in the middle of -- well, not nowhere but certainly not much -- worth the while. Seems like the only thing that has really changed is that now I'm paying over $700 a month to live with some people I don't care to live with. I've only been living here for, seriously, like a week, and I haven't seen them a ton, but as much as I'm trying to stay open minded and manage my expectations, I can't help but feel depressed about it and feeling like I'm "stuck" (I did sign an 12 month lease after all...). This is the closest I've gotten to a college lifestyle. I'm thinking about going to college soon and that will be a good opportunity I think to meet people around my age and have some fun... It's not like I can't find people to hang out with regardless, I'm sure it's just a matter of trying. Just the thought of coming home to 3 people I'll barely talk to, barely have anything in common with, and maybe occasionally deal with them being gross (one of them left what I am going to describe as "butt dirt" on the toilet seat) is draining and makes me wonder if moving in with random people was a terrible decision. Not to mention, if I meet someone I want to date, I'm not sure I want to bring them to my apartment where 3 single 40 year old men are hanging out watching soul-draining television. I don't want to feel like this on a daily basis.

It's probably possible for me to switch to a different room if there are bedrooms open... in which case, I may end up better or worse off. Who knows. At first I was really worried my roommates would be disgusting slobs but now I'm wondering if I would deal with it all just to be close to people I could have a pleasant conversation with when we cross paths. And, just to be clear, I don't have a "problem" with people older than me. I have friends that are 5-15 years older than me, with the distinct difference that we have things in common and enjoy each other's company, but they all have their own living situations or don't live in the same state as me. In this case, it's just a random assortment of older guys who have older-guy interests that do not include playing lots of video games, being nerdy, or, in my case, taking an interest in art.

All of this is just a long winded way to ask, am I being a big baby about all of this? Should I give it a few more weeks and see if I'm just over-thinking the situation and/or maybe I should take my social life out of my apartment? This is all new to me, I just don't really know what to expect now.


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Take your social life out of your apartment. Get settled in and maybe you'll meet someone who you can be roommates with, rather than trying to play the lottery until you luck out. If you are in a livable situation in terms of cleanliness and noise levels (You can eat, sleep, and clean yourself without your roommates getting in the way or being dicks) you can stick it out and use the time to optimize your selection when the lease is up,

    Personally, I don't think you need to be friends with your roommates, and at 23, you are going to get further away from that college feel unless you want to room with college kids. When you start edging on 30, you might want little to do with it. I suppose if you haven't lived a "college lifestyle" it feels more novel, but between having to keep tabs on my food to having to tell grown ass adults to clean up after themselves, I couldn't be more relieved to not have roommates. Even when I had them, I spent 85% of my time outside of my apartment.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If it is a big building with lots of students in it, you can probably ask for a transfer to an apartment with more younger guys. There's probably an older guy in another of the apartments going crazy trying to sleep while 3 young guys blare loud music and play Halo marathons who would be happy to switch.

    Of course this is hardly likely to solve the shared bathroom problem. In fact, it'll probably make it worse! And there's not much chance of getting people with the same nerdy interests as you - most likely they'll be standard issue "booze and parties" students. Make friends outside of where you live. Next year you can live with people with more in common with you.

    Consider that you might be just homesick for your home town and friends. You'll make new ones. And they won't care that you live with a bunch of old geezers.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I'd say having neutral roommates is a win.

    Do you guys not even talk? I heard guys of all ages like sports. What about putting a ' game' on and seeing if they'll have some beers with you.

    Or just find more activities and groups on campus. It's only been a week, trust me that a clean silent dude is much better than a friendly slob.

  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    If what's here is the worst that can be said about your roommates, you're doing ridiculously well for moving in with a bunch of strangers, but I don't think it's wrong to wish you were spending more time with people you can hang out with, or be annoyed about personal space in an apartment full of people. Get out, meet some people elsewhere, things will be fine. You'll probably come to appreciate some distance between yourself and the people you share an apartment with; sometimes you just want to do your own thing in your own place without having to engage in small talk or feel obligated to go do some social thing with your roomies when you don't really feel like it. Live-in friends aren't always the greatest. Maybe I'm just a grump and my former roommates have a "my roommate is a standoff-ish JERK" thread out there somewhere, but there you go.

    All that said, it sounds like living with your parents might be an option next year? If living with your parents is an option next year, (work/commute/school/stuff doable) and both you and them don't mind it, man alive not paying rent is COMPLETELY worth the hit to the overrated "cool factor" or whatever. I miss not paying rent. It was nice.

    There's a limited window for saving money to help with your early adulthood life, but the rest of your life for everyone to continue not really caring how independent you are from your parents. No worries if that's not in the cards though, just a thought.

  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    Roommates who keep to themselves are a blessing. Anyone here who's lived with roommates (including myself) could tell you some horror stories.

    Just go for a walk around your building and if you hear a bunch of younger guys playing video games and socializing, knock on the door and introduce yourself. If you're lucky, you might end up in a best of both worlds situation, with people to socialize nearby, but your own space to retreat to when you need to be by yourself.

  • GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    The basic idea that spurred this whole thing is basically that I wanted to stop being holed up in my parent's house in a small town with people I don't really want to mingle with so that I could:
    • Be closer to work
    • Meet people easier
    • Change my perspective on life
    • Be closer to cooler things (I walked into a comic shop earlier this week with a friend for the first time and bought my first comics, it was a neat experience).

    Seems like all I may have done is improved my ability to be social slightly while still pretty much just being holed up in my bedroom, except now I'm paying for it. There was one guy I worked with who I may have moved in with, except he and his roommates have their own issues and the apartment was pretty shitty. I'm glad I opted out of that "opportunity", but what did I gain? I'm trying to be a more social person, trying to do things outside of my comfort zone, and not living with my parents and having more freedom seemed like a good way to start. But I don't know, am I just not built to be social? I'm clearly not very good at it. I've gone to bars for the first time with friends and I've not liked it very much. I'm not usually interested in small talk. I've tried to force myself to be open minded and give things a try, and that included moving out, which my friends thought I should attempt. Maybe it was different for them, I don't know. I thought this was what I needed to be more of an independent, mature adult who dealt with the everyday problems of everyday people, and did things with friends, maybe gain some ambition to get an education and make a name for myself or something. I don't see the potential for that here.

    Sure, I may be in a living situation that can be described as "definitely not shitty", and people might say I should feel lucky to be living with people who aren't 19 year old, disgusting party animals. Honestly I probably would hate living with those people too, and it would tip the scales in the opposite direction where I'm VERY not lonely, but uncomfortably so. In either case, I don't think I'm getting what I came for. I wasn't shooting for "not-shitty" as a living situation. I guess I shouldn't have expected that moving into another building was going to solve a bunch of my personal problems but, I guess I hoped that it would.

    I have a tendency to over complicate things and worry over small details. Friends of mine would say I definitely have a tendency to over complicate things and worry over small details. This might be just that, and maybe things will improve, and I'll feel more like a human being than I did before. Just not feeling like that right now.


    Gabrahamsandwich on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    But I don't know, am I just not built to be social? I'm clearly not very good at it. I've gone to bars for the first time with friends and I've not liked it very much. I'm not usually interested in small talk.

    This stands out to me, as "not interested in small talk" used to be a major thing I thought was a personality quirk of mine. As it turned out, generally it was from a place of anti-social behavior where I tended to judge people in a "boring and not worth my true attention unless proven otherwise" mindset. While moving out of your parents house isn't going to flip a switch and make you social, it is an important step in learning to deal with people who aren't like you and don't do the same stuff as you. Small talk is what people use to gauge if another person is normal, attune to their surroundings, and worthwhile to get to know. If you can lean to sit down, ask questions, and genuinely listen and take interest in people who are on different walks of life, you can meet people anywhere.

    I empathize with wanting to have people around you who share your interests and you can talk to about videogames and art. It certainly can be cool to have that in your life and be surrounded by those people constantly, but your living situation is in no way a deterrent from that. I spent my time in libraries and outside and away from my roommates (Who liked video games and art and everything, they also drove me goddamn insane). There's no one calling you home for dinner and you can wake up and be where ever you want. If meeting people in bars is difficult, try meet up and try doing things that are slightly outside of your normal range of hobbies. Sports, cooking, cycling, whatever. Stick it out, if for no the reason than breaking a lease and moving back into your parents place is unlikely to make you happy.

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Careful with the "grass is greener" syndrome too. A person might think that things are way better in another situation, when objectively they aren't better at all.

    This wisdom doesn't work in cases of abuse and neglect, but thankfully, you haven't described much to worry about in that sense.

    If these "older" guys aren't drug dealers, then just clean the toilet seat as necessary and enjoy the relative calm, is how I see it. Also, yes, go out and meet people with similar interests, regardless of age. Too bad we live thousands of miles away or I'd invite you to a game night.

  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    It is not your roommates job to entertain you, unfortunately. As long as they're paying their part of the rent and not wrecking the place, they're doing their part. You'll need to go out and change your social situation on your own, otherwise it's not going to change.

  • InxInx Registered User regular
    Frankly, I lived with friends on multiple occasions, each for a school year at a time, and by the end of each year I wanted to kill those individual friends. Having roommates that you're ambivalent to and don't hang out with is far from a curse, and as long as they're not being assholes you're just fine.

    It seems to me that the problem is more that you're looking for the magic pill to solve your problems. I've done it, and still do it - the thought process of "If I do y, x good things will happen!" when in reality it's more "If I do y and z, then keep doing y and z regularly, x good things will start to happen sometimes based entirely on the frequency of my efforts". When I would do y, and x wouldn't happen, I'd become depressed and frustrated because I had set my expectations too high.

    Moving out was the first step, it was your y. Now you need to do your z - this could be anything. Don't like bars? Don't go to bars. Don't like the beach? FUCK the beach. Find a local game store or comic book store or book club or art club or art museum or any other place/gathering that draws your fancy and GO THERE. Go there a whole bunch of times. The people who also go there will learn your name and then thats how friendships happen.

    If you don't have hobbies, pick some hobbies up. Even if you don't go out to pursue your hobbies, you'll have something to do at home when you've got nothing else to do.

    The task can be daunting and it sounds immensely tiresome, I know, but the alternative is to do nothing, be miserable, and eventually maybe move back in with your parents and call the whole thing a wash, continue to be miserable, and be bitter forever.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    As someone who has has a lot of roommates, if these are true:
    • Roommates are not blasting music all night
    • Roommates are not stealing your food/alcohol/clothes/etc
    • Roommates are paying their respective rent on time
    • Roommates are keeping reasonable hours for their schedules and activities
    • Roommates are generally polite and keep out of your business
    • Roommates generally keep their space clean and contribute to the area.

    Then you have good roommates. Keep in mind what they must be thinking seeing a young person move in with them. In their situation I would probably be filled with dread, as young roommates typically do none of the above and their dwellings quickly turn to shitholes for the one or two people who are responsible in the dorm/apartment to pick up after. Unless you share a bedroom with one of them, there is no reason anyone you bring over would even see these men. Any significant other things would be happening in your room anyhow and having young people is definitely not preferable for that in any measure of things (as if you think of-age roommates won't complicate relationships I would refer you to every piece of media on the subject ever).

  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    You have it good, sharing a house with strangers is a lottery, and getting "neutral" roommates is definitely a positive outcome.

    Yes, with a quick verbal "boom." You take a man's peko, you deny him his dab, all that is left is to rise up and tear down the walls of Jericho with a ".....not!" -TexiKen
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    It sounds like you are looking for friends rather than roomates.

    Have you tried Lots of groups catering to tons of different hobbies and activities and a wide variety of people to meet.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    When I was a teenager I thought I was bad at small talk. Then I went to university, and found people who share my interests and found I could talk constantly about any sort of rubbish. It was just that most of the people I knew from my hometown were very boring. Meet people who share your interests. or university societies are great.

  • GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
    Thank you all, this was a lot more input than I expected to get and I'm glad many people are willing to put their opinion forth here.

    Just to clear something up, I didn't expect this would change my social life like magic, I expected it would make it easier. I know I can't always wait for good things to come my way, I have to go get them. The problem was, I never wanted to, and that's what I hoped would change. Being around people who I can't identify with for 12 months sounds like an environment that would make me behave more or less the same as I did before. And I wasn't expecting to get along great with everyone in my apartment either, I just hoped there would be someone in the apartment that, when I felt like I could use company, I could simply walk across the kitchen and do something. Even if it was just for that small-talk I was bad-talking (dooh ho ho). I just wanted to live in a more social environment where I was making contact with potential friends regularly, and I hoped that would coax something out of me. The reason I was distraught was because I thought this was going to possibly make it worse, make me not want to really stay in the apartment anyways, and on top of that, I was paying for this. With money that I could use to invest in something I really want, like an education or a house.

    I spent the day with a friend of mine who is remarkably able to listen to my anxieties, and her, along with some other people, very much agree with everything you've all been saying here. It can be a lot worse. Maybe I wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place if I just put more effort into meeting people I could get along with, but now at least there's nothing in the way anymore. I don't have an excuse to be antisocial because I live in a city where there's people everywhere, all the time, outside and inside, with tons of stuff around to do. And although it wasn't like my parents made it hard to live at home, I'm now free to go and do what I want to. And if I need a social life, I don't need it to be where I sleep, but I can at least bring people to my bedroom to be isolated if I really need to be, and the older people probably won't weird people out as much as I expect it will.

    So, anyways, that's where I will draw the solace I take in my actions. Maybe I didn't need to do this, but perhaps it was a good decision anyways. I appreciate that a bunch of strangers on the internet were willing to ease my mind. You're quite an awesome and positive community.

  • GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
    Also (sorry to double post),
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Have you tried Lots of groups catering to tons of different hobbies and activities and a wide variety of people to meet.

    No I haven't, but I think I'll give it a shot as it seems like the site has been thrown around a few times in this forums, although I think I originally thought it was a dating site.

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    My roommate is like 25 years older than I, but he's just fine as a roommate even though I do not like the man personally. I feel like I hit the roommate lottery since I found him on Craigslist of all places.

  • GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
    My roommate is like 25 years older than I, but he's just fine as a roommate even though I do not like the man personally. I feel like I hit the roommate lottery since I found him on Craigslist of all places.
    Yeah I've heard bad things about craigslist, although a friend of mine has had decent luck it seems, although she had to search. A lot.

  • BYToadyBYToady Registered User regular
    One of my room mates is like 20 years older than me. But we're both avid roleplayers so we hang out all the time.

    Try to find out what kind of hobbies your roommates have, common interests don't care about age.

    Battletag BYToady#1454
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    I agree with what's been posted above: you got pretty lucky in the roommate lottery. Be happy you have your own space and harmless roommates, and look for friends elsewhere.

    Having said that, it doesn't hurt to make an effort to get to know your roommates a bit, too. You might have more in common than you think.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    The main thing is that they aren't doing anything weird. You can't expect random strangers to be your buddies just because you moved in together. Just be polite, and do the "how's it going?" When they are around.

    If you want to talk to them a little more, generally people will ask how you are when you ask them how they are. Then you say "Good, i'm doing/did xyz today." Then, if they can relate, they will talk about it.

    Generally relating to people also involves having something to say about something they are interested in. Do they watch football? Learn something about football. It doesn't really matter if you don't really care about it or watch it. Cruise ESPN for 2 seconds and then next time they bring it up, ask who they think it going to the superbowl or "I heard ___ team is going to do well this year" or whatever.

    It probably won't make you best friends, but at least you won't be total strangers then.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Not all people in their 40s are awful

    I mean sure, I am, but you know what they say about extrapolating from single data points.

    Anyway I guess what I'm saying is make a smidgen of effort to find points of common interest. They might be OK guys! They might have useful life experience. They might have cools stories! They might have attractive nieces!

    You'll never know if you don't reach out & make contact. Since you're stuck with these guys for a year, maybe put a little effort into making the situation as good as possible.

  • GabrahamsandwichGabrahamsandwich Registered User regular
    I don't plan on isolating them, and they mostly seem like decent people. We should get along just fine, but I doubt any of us will be going out for a beer. But like I said, I've only known them for about a week, so things could be much different down the road. I don't feel it's necessary to be aggressive about getting along with them, we'll learn more about each other in the coming weeks as we pass each other by.

    On a side note, I think one of the room mates has gotten into a habit of packing the hell out of the fridge. Like, enough food to feed him and two other people for a week. The items I have in the fridge right now are enough to, perhaps, occupy a shelf of the fridge if I put it all in one spot. I suspect confronting them about this as you would anyone else (that is, politely) is the way to go, but are there any special considerations I should take into account?

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Buy a mini fridge for your room.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Common space like the fridge should be discussed up front and partitioned out in a fair and equitable manner. One person should not be monopolizing all of the space unless everyone agrees to it beforehand.

    A social life is not one of those things that requires a tremendous change in life circumstances or environment unless you literally live in the middle of nowhere with nobody else around. If you want to make friends, you will have to leave your apartment anyway. That's the long and short of it.

    I'm going to echo what everyone else has said about having no-drama roommates. No-drama roommates are a blessing, and should be feted with daily foot massages and ice-cold beers. Also, you know what no-drama roommates allow you to do? Bring friends back to your apartment without fear of whether or not your crazy roommate is going to pull some crazy shit and alienate your new friends. Like, the worst thing they will probably do is just leave you alone or ask you quietly to go elsewhere because they're trying to sleep. Oh no. The tragedy.

    I have horror stories ranging from a roommate who had a psychotic break and ended up getting deported back to Italy to a roommate who tried to hide the fact that she was an alcoholic, got caught with her final DUI, and then tried to hide the fact that she was in prison while paying rent and trying to find someone else to move in her stead. Did I mention my rapey roommate in college who would intentionally get girls drunk and then pressure them to have sex? He was literally beaten into a bloody pulp in front of our apartment complex over it, and I quite frankly didn't shed a single tear (mostly because he was so stupid he actually went out there on his own to confront a gang of angry guys, including the boyfriend, over it).

    And if you don't believe me, feel free to peruse this very forum for horror stories that pop up every week. For example, the guy who got his car stolen by his roommates, who then justified it by saying that his car keys were in "the communal space".

  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    I had a roommate who would butter his bread, then put it into the toaster, because it 'tasted better.' I didn't know he was doing this until after the fire.

    Same roommate was enraged at the high cost of electric heating. I found out after the flood that when he left for the day (after me) he would turn off the heat. Then when he got home (before me) he would turn the heat back on. Our pipes froze, then burst.

    Same roommate lit his car on fire in the parking lot because he added oil to an engine that had just been driving. Twice.

    Same roommate didn't like that the valve on his propane tank for his grill was stuck, so decided to unstick it by banging on it with a large monkey wrench. I stopped him before the explosion could kill us all.

    Same roommate had a girlfriend that was into... significantly rougher bedroom activities than anyone should have to know about second hand. On more than one occasion, he would stand in the living room in just underpants, chug orange juice from the container, and display his brand new bleeding scratches to my friends, who looked on in abject horror.

    I could go on, but I feel I've made my point. My point? Be super happy you ended up with neutral roommates who don't do these things.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Did you live with Dan Ryckert?

  • PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    No. Is that a person I should know about, or do you just know a terrible guy too?

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I could go on, but I feel I've made my point. My point? Be super happy you ended up with neutral roommates who don't do these things.

    You lived in a BBC sitcom.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    No. Is that a person I should know about, or do you just know a terrible guy too?

    It's the newest addition to the Giant Bomb crew. He's the definition of 'man child'. Friendly but lacking in common sense.

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