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My roommate takes... Too many showers, for too long

Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
I live in a house with 4 other people. Two of those are the landlords, the other two and myself rent a room and shared living spaces. Considering this, we've actually all handled things fairly maturely and divided things like fridge space, laundry stuff, etc all well enough. I moved in before the other renters about a year ago, and my room is right next to this bathroom.

One of the other renters, let's call him Smacky. Smacky is a nice enough guy, but he takes a lot of showers. Normally, I don't give a care about what other house members are doing in the bathroom or have any conflicts before. He takes at least 2 separate, 60-90 minute showers a day. It came to a head today when he took three showers in one day, two within mere hours of one another.

It's impacting me and others because of how often he's in there. We work around the same time in the AM, but he's always in there where my tooth brush, soaps and other hygiene items are.

And here's the thing- there's two bathrooms. But Smacky is using the upstairs, 'nicer' bathroom and ignoring the downstairs shower. Everyone else shares this nicer bathroom save for the third renter, who lives in the basement and uses the downstairs bathroom. I (and other housemates) shouldn't have to stash all my stuff downstairs because this dude likes to run a spa in there. I don't mind running downstairs to use the toliet sometimes, but it's becoming a running gag among my roommates.

I've spoken with the landlords and they've mentioned the issue to him, but he literally doesn't seem to be aware of how long he's in there. He's just not very self aware and doesn't take criticism well, so it's hard for him to realize he's being a bit inconsiderate to everyone else.


Basically, long ramble short, trying to have a conversation with this guy without pissing anyone off/ making things awkward. Landlords seem to agree but are kinda wishy washy about pressing the matter. I'm not trying to ruin a good thing because tbh, this has been a really great and affordable living situation and we get along well otherwise; this dude is just Aquaman and it's getting outta hand.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If you all need to leave around the same time, each person gets 20 minutes max in the shower, set a timer. Or he can go last.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    If you all need to leave around the same time, each person gets 20 minutes max in the shower, set a timer. Or he can go last.

    You'd think that would be the common sense thing, and yeah everyone else averages 10-20 mins showers.

    I don't care if he wants to take long showers, he should just go downstairs since we can all take a shower in the time it takes him to finish one

    There's no excuse, he's just young and hasn't had to share a bathroom before. I'm tempted to hang a sign about keeping showers 20 mins but afraid it would come across passive aggressive.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Hanging a sign would be a case study in passive aggressiveness.

    Talk to him.

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  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited January 21
    lord, I hope he's paying a higher portion of the water bill

    (3) hour long showers is quite probably over 300 gallons

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    Bloody inconsiderate of the guy.

    Two options I can think of.
    A. Buy him an egg timer. They cost like nothing and then he'll have no excuses on not noticing how long he showers. Done right it can be given as a friendly hint.
    B. Talk to the landlords again and mention the thing about costs, that should make them take up the issue with whats-his-name again.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Again, gifting a timer is passive aggressive as hell.

    Just talk to the guy. Explain the situation (about his showers making everyone late), and say look, we really just need to be in and out of the shower in the morning. Not mad, but can you please take your showers downstairs so that we can all be ready on time? If he tries to say he doesn't take that long, maybe say hey, can we try it for a few days to see if it works out? Then you have something to show him that he has to walk past.

    My husband takes showers that are about 45 minutes long, but they may as well be infinity long because not only does he take up all available time in which any other person might shower in the morning, but by the time he's done there's no hot water left with which to take a shower anyway. It is very frustrating. I've talked to him many times about it, and we've tried a bunch of different stuff, but what happens is "okay just let me finish up real quick" followed by another 15 minutes. If we had another shower available to us though, I know he wouldn't mind taking it there. It's a good solution if it's available.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    yeah someone who isn't cognizant of how long they take a timer is just going to be one of those things they just don't set

    there's also some reasons people take long showers (muscle pain and sinus pressure and all that), but y'all should be pushing him down to the downstairs shower and enforce that rule (also he should be paying more for water/heat).

    Ladies.
  • Beef AvengerBeef Avenger Registered User regular
    You could start things out by trying to coordinate time windows where he has to be in/out in <20 minutes, and then outside that window fine have your mega shower. Makes it clear that he's free to do his thing, but not when it impacts others

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  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    Are you sure he's actually showering for the full 60-90 minutes? I wonder if he isn't just showering for some of that time and then using the shower noise to cover for something else.

    Thawmus
  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    I actually have spoken to him about it, in passing and not really pressuring him at the time. He admits he watches TV shows on his phone while in the shower and just relaxes. The dude just likes long showers. His motivation for doing so is "pure" just... inconsiderate.

    I'll bring it up again, more firmly on the "why God" side of things. TBH I just know this guy won't take it well, but my hands are tied. He's going away for a week so I'll have some time to suss out the most polite way to bring it up.

    And yeah I've mentioned the cost to the landlords and while they seemed annoyed, they're very complacent and flimsy on establishing house rules. We're lucky everyone is fairly clean and good with chores, otherwise it could be chaos.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    So the water is running? I take an hour to shower because I go at turtle-speed, but the water doesn't actually need to be running for that long.

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    So the water is running? I take an hour to shower because I go at turtle-speed, but the water doesn't actually need to be running for that long.

    Yep. He basically turns it into his personal sauna, because he cranks the hot water. I've also mentioned to him it's not great for his skin, but be doesn't seem concerned.

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  • KetBraKetBra FISTS OF JUSTICE! Registered User regular
    You just have to have a house meeting, explain to him why his long showers are a problem and outline what the solution is (he goes last+pays more or he takes shorter showers)

    If he can't do either of those really reasonable requests I think you need a new housemate.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    It may be easier if you just bang on the door in the moment and say you need to get to work than if you make it a formal sit down

    mention it to him that he can't be in there for more than 20 minutes in the morning, then if he is, shout through the door "yo! 20 minutes! I gotta get to work!" If he isn't out in another 5 do it again.

    If you give him specific actionable instructions while it's happening you avoid criticism entirely, and if he is resistant in any way you have the perfect response "then use the downstairs shower"

    keep it low key and maybe his sensitivity won't affect things

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    It may be easier if you just bang on the door in the moment and say you need to get to work than if you make it a formal sit down

    mention it to him that he can't be in there for more than 20 minutes in the morning, then if he is, shout through the door "yo! 20 minutes! I gotta get to work!" If he isn't out in another 5 do it again.

    If you give him specific actionable instructions while it's happening you avoid criticism entirely, and if he is resistant in any way you have the perfect response "then use the downstairs shower"

    keep it low key and maybe his sensitivity won't affect things

    This has happened already a handful of times, we have Google Minis in every room and can broadcast messages to him. So basically a few times I've said "bro you gotta get out" but that point I'm pretty much late already since I do a quick in-out 10min shower. At this point, he should be well aware it's annoying me and the landlords, I think he knows they just aren't very proactive in resolving these things


    KetBra wrote: »
    You just have to have a house meeting, explain to him why his long showers are a problem and outline what the solution is (he goes last+pays more or he takes shorter showers)

    If he can't do either of those really reasonable requests I think you need a new housemate.

    Yeah I think the meeting thing would be nice, since I can sit down with him and the landlords and suss it out together. I don't want him to think I'm pissed, I'm really not; it's just making me late to work which is unacceptable. I have other things to deal with in the AM like getting my dog fed and walked so I don't have time to shoo him out early every day, I have my own timeline that's been thrown out of whack by his excessive bath time.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I think the best solution is to move out then. The landlord or primary resident needs to put their foot down on this dude and they just don't seem like they care.

    Another solution might be keeping all your toiletries in one of those totes that people in college use and just bring it with you to whichever bathroom is free.

    Ladies.
    Smrtnik
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited January 21
    Some people take lots of long showers as a symptom of depression and loneliness, so maybe be a bit easy on the guy if you talk to him about it.

    Sitting in hot water showers for multiple hours a day while watching TV on your phone seems...not great?

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Some people take lots of long showers as a symptom of depression and loneliness, so maybe be a bit easy on the guy if you talk to him about it.

    Sitting in hot water showers for multiple hours a day while watching TV on your phone seems...not great?
    I am guilty of this. It is warm and relaxing and feels good on my aching back and also I can watch tv on my phone and relax. If the water that is used is the same as a bath (maybe, maybe not) it is the equivalent of sitting in a bathtub for a good soak. I would definitely just rap on the door when you need to use it and oust him though.

  • metaghostmetaghost Registered User regular
    The idea that someone has recently woken up and needs to take an hour+ shower (while watching TV?) in order to relax is very strange to me. That they do this a minimum of twice each day is especially odd — do they work some profession with substantial physical labor?

    Like, maybe you should help them find an external venue (e.g. a sauna) for all their relaxation needs.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I have a shitty back. When I used to shower in the morning it was just part of waking up. I'd stand there like a zombie for the first 10 minutes of the shower, then spend 20+ minutes stretching and bathing. I've never lived somewhere that didn't run out of hot water after 20 minutes though, so the super long showers are strictly a hotel room thing.

    I really really enjoy a hot shower. I have an old-man back and the warmth is wonderful. If he's hanging out watching movies and stuff in the shower, that's kind of weird and while it seems like a shower should be all about hygiene. It might be something he just enjoys. I'd just sit down and really push the idea that if he wants to shower like that, be considerate. No one is even saying he can't shower for an hour, just that he can't do it in the "getting ready for work" bathroom.

    If you ask nicely and say, "Please man, we're all pretty great roommates, don't make this a thing!" he'll probably be fine.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I hope talking to this guy works out. If its a coping mechanism, just note that being passive aggressive about it is going to probably have unpleasant ripple effects. It's not on you to figure out his alternatives for stress management, but if you implement a timer without clearly communicating what the issue is and giving him a chance to internalize it, your likely to hit denial or defensive behavior for attacking this guys safe place. It is also better if this dude implements his own system to follow rather than you imposing something on him, if possible.

    You want to continue to be straightforward even if he regresses after improving slightly. Offer sympathy and alternatives if that seems appropriate for the relationship you two have, but for this particular situation I would be generally hard and fast on prioritizing the boundaries, since basic courtesy is being violated. He's showing a lack of awareness about the situation, so you want to make sure it does not seem like the boundaries are a mere suggestion on how he could improve his lifestyle.

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    I think the best solution is to move out then. The landlord or primary resident needs to put their foot down on this dude and they just don't seem like they care.

    Another solution might be keeping all your toiletries in one of those totes that people in college use and just bring it with you to whichever bathroom is free.

    If Smacky can't or won't change his shower habits, this is the solution, imho. Do talk to the landlords about the water bill, though. They might be ok with subsidizing his hot water use, but you don't have to.

    But yeah, don't get passive-aggressive. Don't put up a sign; don't buy him a timer. Have a meeting where you clearly state what the problem is ("your monopolizing the shared bathroom is making us late for work," NOT "you take too long in the shower") and offer to discuss solutions. Assume that he is not going to start taking shorter or fewer showers - if he does, great, but don't count on it. Whatever comes out of this meeting needs to be concrete and actionable - i.e., anything that starts with "I'll try" is a non-starter.

    Personally I favor having him take his shower after everyone else, because that doesn't rely on him suddenly developing the self-control to drag himself out of the nice, warm shower before he's ready. Maybe come up with a way to signal when the bathroom is free for the foreseeable future (whiteboard, etc.) so he doesn't have to track anyone down to ask in person.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    edited January 22
    It may be easier if you just bang on the door in the moment and say you need to get to work than if you make it a formal sit down

    mention it to him that he can't be in there for more than 20 minutes in the morning, then if he is, shout through the door "yo! 20 minutes! I gotta get to work!" If he isn't out in another 5 do it again.

    If you give him specific actionable instructions while it's happening you avoid criticism entirely, and if he is resistant in any way you have the perfect response "then use the downstairs shower"

    keep it low key and maybe his sensitivity won't affect things

    This has happened already a handful of times, we have Google Minis in every room and can broadcast messages to him. So basically a few times I've said "bro you gotta get out" but that point I'm pretty much late already since I do a quick in-out 10min shower. At this point, he should be well aware it's annoying me and the landlords, I think he knows they just aren't very proactive in resolving these things

    This doesn't compute for me - by the time you ask him to vacate you're already going to be late for work? Do you leave the house very shortly after you wake up, or something? If the problem is that he's taking 2 60-90 minute showers a day, there should be time to ask him to vacate and still not be late for work, I would think. Does he get out when asked? If he does, asking earlier may be the only thing you have to do. If he's not getting out when you've asked, that's kind of awful of him. He's the one making things awkward by ignoring your perfectly reasonable request. You should be feel comfortable knowing you can be real firm in whatever meeting you schedule for this.

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  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    So does the downstairs shower suck or what?

    Perhaps getting a nicer showerhead for downstairs will lure him back there.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    I would never be a prick to him about it, I used to take showers like that in highschool until I realized how bad it was drying my skin out. That was the idea of why I made this thread, how to broach it in a diplomatic and non-emotional way.

    The downstairs shower is smaller, it's the kind like that glass closet design. The bathroom is fine though, it's just in a basement. The upstairs bathroom has the standard bathtub/shower combo. It does have a badass showerhead in there, didn't consider that as a factor lol

    I appreciate the feedback, I think I'll talk to the landlords first and see what we should do. I think if I can take the lead here and be the voice of reason, they'll back it up. Once I'm sure they are on board, we can all sit down.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    y'all must have hard as shit water because my skin doesn't dry out from showering (the opposite in fact)

    If you're soaping yourself up head to toe every time you take one of those "I need to relax showers" just because it's routine I could see that doing it I guess. But the point isn't to get clean in those, you're likely already clean.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    I am very jealous of your house's hot water tank.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

    yes that is my point too

    coming at him going "yo your skin will dry out with these long hot showers" is not a very good tactic because it probably isn't

    Ladies.
  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

    yes that is my point too

    coming at him going "yo your skin will dry out with these long hot showers" is not a very good tactic because it probably isn't

    I don't have a problem with it, he can do what he wants. I merely mentioned it to him because it was a problem for me at one time. More like "hey this helped me, might help you"

    It's not like he's doing skincare, anyways. He's watching Family Guy on his phone, it's not a mystery.

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  • AmarylAmaryl Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Another solution might be keeping all your toiletries in one of those totes that people in college use and just bring it with you to whichever bathroom is free.

    Even if you manage to solve the mourning routine - I'd still get a bag with a spare toothbrush and -paste and whatever else for whenever they're in the shower in the evenings/night and you want to go to bed, so you can go downstairs and brush your teeth.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

    yes that is my point too

    coming at him going "yo your skin will dry out with these long hot showers" is not a very good tactic because it probably isn't

    I don't have a problem with it, he can do what he wants. I merely mentioned it to him because it was a problem for me at one time. More like "hey this helped me, might help you"

    It's not like he's doing skincare, anyways. He's watching Family Guy on his phone, it's not a mystery.

    Bad suggestion: turn off the WiFi router when he’s taking too long :)

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  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

    yes that is my point too

    coming at him going "yo your skin will dry out with these long hot showers" is not a very good tactic because it probably isn't

    I don't have a problem with it, he can do what he wants. I merely mentioned it to him because it was a problem for me at one time. More like "hey this helped me, might help you"

    It's not like he's doing skincare, anyways. He's watching Family Guy on his phone, it's not a mystery.

    Bad suggestion: turn off the WiFi router when he’s taking too long :)

    Or just ask him to try showering without his phone in the room? At least in the mornings? My wife tends to take long showers while playing music or TV on her phone but if I know we're running late or need to be ON TIME for something like a wedding, I'll ask her to maybe take a no-phone shower. It's not always successful but the phone is 100% contributing to the long shower.

  • JeedanJeedan Registered User regular
    edited January 22
    Sometimes when dealing with passive aggressive persons you can make more headway when you phrase it as a favour for you rather than a demand.

    I've been reading a lot about the psychology of passive aggression recently (because I had an ex-friend who was a black belt in it) and this approach:
    I've also mentioned to him it's not great for his skin, but be doesn't seem concerned.

    Will not work. PA's will always resist anything you tell them is for "their own good". Passive aggression is mainly about asserting independence, and they'll happily cut off their own nose to spite their face if it means they get to demonstrate their autonomy.

    People often develop passive aggressive tendencies as a result of their parenting. The parent tells the kid "do this for your own good" and the kid thinks "fuck you, who are you to tell me whats good for me, maybe I don't care about my own good huh?" and passively rebels by flunking. The more the parent gets upset, controlling and demanding, the more the child feels justified in ignoring the demand. Really the parent would have been better off saying "do this because it makes me happy" and appealing to the kids desire to make his caretakers happy, then praising him as a good little boy/girl when he does so.

    Talk to him BEFORE you talk to the landlords, otherwise he’ll see that as going above his head.

    TL;DR he's a sulky little baby and you need to treat him as such.

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  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    It's almost like everyone has different skin and bathing needs

    yes that is my point too

    coming at him going "yo your skin will dry out with these long hot showers" is not a very good tactic because it probably isn't

    I don't have a problem with it, he can do what he wants. I merely mentioned it to him because it was a problem for me at one time. More like "hey this helped me, might help you"

    It's not like he's doing skincare, anyways. He's watching Family Guy on his phone, it's not a mystery.

    Bad suggestion: turn off the WiFi router when he’s taking too long :)

    It's less evil turning off the hot water heater.

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  • RightfulSinRightfulSin Registered User regular
    edited January 22
    Just trying to wrap my head around taking more than around 6 minutes in the shower when the water is running. I take a shower in the morning and one at night when I get home. The morning one is less than 4 minutes easy then dry off and out of bathroom. The evening one is still only about 5 to 6 minutes of wet, scrub, rinse, dry then out. I don't do the shower to relax, I shower so I don't smell up the place. I guess it can relax but when you are sharing a bathroom with other people, that is not much an option. In fact, I would say it us selfish and inconsiderate to uae it as such unless you discuss it with them; after all it is their bathroom as well.

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  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    Just trying to wrap my head around taking more than around 6 minutes in the shower when the water is running. I take a shower in the morning and one at night when I get home. The morning one is less than 4 minutes easy then dry off and out of bathroom. The evening one is still only about 5 to 6 minutes of wet, scrub, rinse, dry then out. I don't do the shower to relax, I shower so I don't smell up the place. I guess it can relax but when you are sharing a bathroom with other people, that is not much an option. In fact, I would say it us selfish and inconsiderate to uae it as such unless you discuss it with them; after all it is their bathroom as well.

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  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    He's jerking it.

    Also, talk to him. In a share house that situation is simply untenable. I'd have been shutting off the hot water after the second time he took a 60+ minute shower. I had long hair almost down to my waist, and even with washing that and shaving my face in the shower, it was still a 30 minute thing, and that was twice a week. Thankfully now that hair is gone I'm back to 5 minute showers every time.

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Just trying to wrap my head around taking more than around 6 minutes in the shower when the water is running. I take a shower in the morning and one at night when I get home. The morning one is less than 4 minutes easy then dry off and out of bathroom. The evening one is still only about 5 to 6 minutes of wet, scrub, rinse, dry then out. I don't do the shower to relax, I shower so I don't smell up the place. I guess it can relax but when you are sharing a bathroom with other people, that is not much an option. In fact, I would say it us selfish and inconsiderate to uae it as such unless you discuss it with them; after all it is their bathroom as well.

    Even with the hot water running, it takes me at least 5 minutes to warm up enough to actually shower, as opposed to standing there hugging myself and shivering. Ambient air temp in the shower enclosure, I suppose.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Five minutes to wake up, five minutes actual showering, ten minutes standing motionless in a welter of existential dread, summoning the energy to face the day.

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