Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
Q. My roommate hasn’t been faithful to her boyfriend on at least four occasions. Since he’s a friend of mine, I feel obligated to tell him what’s going on behind his back. Plus, I think it’s the right thing to do. But I’m worried about the financial fallout. I imagine she’ll get angry and move out, and I’ll be left to foot her half of the rent. What should I do?
Name withheld by request
A. First things first: Are you certain it’s your place to tell your friend about the four-timing roommate? Instead, you might consider having a heart-to-heart with her directly.
Start by making sure that your interpretation of the situation is correct, and give your roommate an opportunity to explain what she has been doing. (Could she and your friend have an open relationship that you don’t know about?) If, as you suspect, her behavior is not on the up-and-up, then ask her to come clean with your friend. Hopefully she will. And if she balks? Let her know that if she doesn’t tell him what’s going on, you will—and what’s more, you would like her to find a new place to live.
Drastic? Maybe. But it sounds as if you could do without all the drama she’s bringing into your life. And although I understand your concern about finding someone to pay half the rent, try not to base an ethical decision on a financial concern. Furthermore, it’s possible that if your roommate is deceptive in her romantic life, she may well be in other arenas, too. I’m guessing you and your friend can do better.
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