I have my own apartment, but just had my cousin move in to help share the costs. This is the first time I have ever had a roommate and I don't know how to handle certain things. I get peeved when I come home and she leaves the dishwashing liquid out on the counter instead of putting it back under the sink (where she found it), or when she stomps around on the floor (totally disregarding the fact that people live below us). She leaves the lights on, even though I ask her to turn them off to help cut our electric bill. When she washes the dishes she doesn't get them clean, and she breaks my dishes that I bought with my own money. I work, but she is unemployed right now and looking for a job. She helps out with the utilities, but it upsets me that she uses my laundry card and mooches off of the things I bought for the apartment (like soap, laundry detergent, paper towels, tissues, etc) and doesn't replace them or offer to contribute to pay for them. I don't want to sound selfish or immature, but how do I approach her about these things without ruining the relationship? She is a great girl otherwise, and I enjoy being around her, but these habits are driving me crazy. Please help.
Too Cozy Cousin
Dear Too Cozy Cousin
It's super challenging to go from living alone to sharing your personal space with someone else. I totally understand what you are going through and having to nag someone is the worst. I mean, you are her cousin, not her Mom! The best way to handle her is to nip this lazy behavior in the bud. Waiting is only going to allow you to brood and your anger will snowball. The last thing you want is tension at home. Sit her down and talk to her about being more responsible, more sensitive and more cost aware. Make sure she knows that you love her, but that you aren't her maid or her personal CVS account. She can do what she wants in her own room, but your shared space needs to be maintained. Tell her if she plans on using "house" amenities, then she should replace them. Explain that you'll do the same. It's common courtesy -- she knows better, she is just testing your limits. Don't let her take advantage of you or the situation...or you'll miss out on all the fun aspects of having a roomie! After your serious talk, give her a hug, make some popcorn and pop in a light comedy. You are cousins, don't let dishwashing detergent distance you!