Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bianca Knows Best ... and Helps With a Problem Roommate

Posted By on Tue, May 4, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Dear Bianca

I recently found a roommate using an online roommate-matching service. I’d never met the guy before he moved in last month. Originally, his profile sounded good. He has a job and a long-term girlfriend. But in the last couple weeks, I’ve noticed a few strange things going on.

Although he works a day job, he rarely sleeps more than two hours a night. Sometimes he doesn’t sleep at all. He locks himself in his room for hours in the evenings. In the past few days, he’s pawned his stereo, his guitar, and several other items. I’m fairly certain he’s a drug addict.

Obviously, he’s trying to hide this from me. And I wouldn’t have a problem with minding my own business, but I’m starting to worry that my belongings will soon find their way to the pawn shop. I’m also worried that he’ll soon lose his job.

How can I approach him about his problem? Should I kick him out before things get out of control? And if so, what if he decides to break in and steal my stuff in retaliation?

— The Sober One

Dear Sober One,

Not sleeping, pawning belongings, reclusiveness — those all sound like signs of a drug problem to me. I believe you may be onto something, and it’s certainly a sticky situation.

Have you talked to this guy’s girlfriend about your suspicions? Maybe she can shed some light onto the problem. Maybe he’s hiding it from her as well. There’s certainly no harm in bringing it up. She’ll either be an ally or not. If she wasn’t yet aware of a problem (like say, if the guy is just beginning to relapse), she may be appreciative for the information.

After talking with her, you might get a confirmation on your suspicions. That would help when bringing up the subject with the roommate. But either way, you must deal with this situation before it gets out of control. My best friend once had a drug-addicted roommate who ripped off all of his beloved Queer As Folk DVD sets. Though my friend knew of his roommate’s problem, he didn’t kick the guy out until it was too late.

You’re going to have to ask him to move. Tell him you’ve noticed strange behavior lately and you suspect drugs may be to blame. Offer to help him get into a rehab, and if he refuses, kick him to the curb. The problem will only get worse if you don’t act now. If things end badly, be sure to take the guy’s house key. Otherwise, your belongings will be like money in the bank for one of his future drug splurges. You might want to install bars on the windows too. My friend’s house was broken into after he finally ditched his druggie roommate, and we suspect we know who was to blame.

In the future, try screening roommates a little better, especially those whom you find online. A good online profile simply isn’t enough. Try setting up a face-to-face interview with the next guy and possibly even a drug screen.

Got a problem? Email Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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