Flatmate driving me mental!


======= Date Modified 03 50 2009 08:50:12 =======
Hi all!
Just a bit of a rant / scout for opinion... I live with a very very good friend in a 2-bed flat. We met 2 1/2 years ago when I started my PhD, she had the same supervisor and was the year ahead of me. We made friends quickly and have now shared a flat for nearly 2 years.

Anyway, she dropped out of her PhD last summer when her funding ran out and she had too much left to do in order to have any chance to submit on time. She landed on her feet and got a really good office job in marketing, but she knows how much pressure I am under. I am finishing off one chapter (due in June) and then properly revising and reviewing everything before I submit, hopefully in December.

Her dad died recently after a six-month illness, and she has gone off the rails since. Whenever we go out (once/twice a week) she will effectively leave me standing there as she goes off with some guy. On Weds we went to watch football in the pub, at the end of the match she rang up some guy she met a few days before to come to the pub. I headed home, and then at 1am she banged on my bedroom window to say she had forgot her key. I let her in, then a couple of minutes later she sneaked the guy into the flat. Last night we stayed home, and I was doing work, but at nearly 1am (again) a taxi pulled up outside my bedroom (ground floor flat), and she went out to the taxi to invite the guy in (a different guy - her ex from last summer).

I guess the whole point of this is that do you think its too much? She knows that I am working almost 24/7 at the moment and she also knows how much the PhD means to me and precisely how much work is involved, but she invites random men (I'm her best friend and have never met any of them) back to our flat at 1am, even on weekdays? She knows that she's doing something 'wrong' or she wouldn't have sneaked the guy in on Weds, she would have been open about it.

Given she's one of my best friends, should I put it down to her needed to be cathartic due to what has happened with her dad, or should I expect that as friends she would know that my PhD is important too???


A bit of both. Your friend is going through a lot and she's probably in a pretty bad way and the 'partying' is a way of both venting and masking her pain. It's not at all helpful to you but she's probably not in a frame of mind (quite understandably) to appreciate the impact that this is having on you and you will both have different priorities at present. I suppose it's not the ideal situation for you to be sharing a flat at present but I wouldn't know what to suggest.



I can only see two solutions. You could either speak to her and tell her how it is affecting your work and that you would appreciate if she would cut off on those guys visits, at least during the week. If she's really a good friend she will respect that and make things better. If things don't change, and it will have a negative impact on yourself and your work then I would consider moving out. It is one thing to have hard times and 'loosing it' because of problems that we have(to some extent, and in different form we all have done that) but it is another when you inflicting it on others. That is simply selfish or disrespectful!

Best wishes!(up)


I agree with Delta, a bit of both. Can you have a proper talk with her about it, because I'd be a bit worried if she was my friend, even though it must be messing up your own work quite a bit. I know it's not for everyone, but some people find bereavement organisations like CRUSE helpful to sort out how they're feeling, responding to situations after a death etc. A friend of mine said he went off for lots of random sex for a while after his partner died, but it was just a phase. He ended up seeing a therapist/bereavement counsellor for a while in subsequent years until it was no longer helpful for him.

Probably won't make you feel a whole lot better if it's disrupting your sleep, but maybe it's a bit safer for her to bring random men back to your flat than going off to strange men's homes, as she could potentially get into quite serious trouble if she's not thinking straight at the moment. I don't think you can expect the same level of recognition or understanding from her about the importance of your PhD right now because things get turned upside down after a death and one doesn't necessarily respond rationally to things. You really need non-judgemental friends for support at times like that.


Hey guys

Thanks for the advice. I haven't said anything to her yet, as she knows I'm unhappy (and does it anyway), and I think however I phrased it, she would see it as criticism. I've thought about moving out: part of me thinks that 1) if I don't move out it we will have a blazing row and we'll stop being friends - plus it will become seriously problematic for my PhD; 2) if I do move out she'll also see it as criticism of her, and it'll have the same impact on our friendship - plus I won't be able to keep check on her the way I can now.

Just one more thing - a week or so ago at around midnight/1am a guy banged on my bedroom window asking to be let in; when I didn't he kept asking me to flash him, and carried on doing so whilst I was on the phone to the police to report the incident. I did not recognise him at all, but he seemed to know my name. My flatmate was away at her mum's as it was her birthday... that's why I'm ever more reluctant to have a trail of guys in the flat. I can't say it had anything to do with my flatmate, but I am certainly suspicious.


It sounds a really difficult situation to be in, potentially with personal safety issues involved if strange men keep coming round. Does she have any other close friends who could speak to her, or family? You know how she's behaving as you live with her, but maybe other people don't realise she might not be coping very well. It might be a good idea to see who else she might listen to before she puts herself (or maybe you) in a really dodgy situation.


======= Date Modified 04 May 2009 07:28:36 =======
This type of behaviour is similar'ish to a situation I experienced during my undergrad years with a very, very good friend (at the time). She went off the rails after a number of personal issues, and proceeded to heavily drink, abuse medication, bring guys home and fall asleep smoking etc.

This went on for a whole academic year, it ended in a number of serious incidents, and it had a considerable impact on my studies (I ended up blowing my chance of a first class degree due to many missed lectures). My friend eventually left and didn't say so much as a 'thank you' nor 'goodbye'. I'm still quite bitter about the whole thing, and wish now that I'd dealt with the situation as soon as it arose and put my studies before my friend's wellbeing.

Anyhoo...the lesson learnt is to put No.1 first, and don't be afraid of upsetting or offending your friend, and pointing her in the right direction for some help. These things do tend to escalate.


I agree with Maggie... you just have to talk with your friend and tell her your PhD is important to you. Why should you suffer because as well!



I am so sorry to hear what is happening with you :( however, you must stand for yourself somehow.

I was put in a similar situation with one of my flatmates, we used to be v. close and best friends. Now we do not talk :( because i decided to move out without telling her what was annoying me . ( NOTE: I REALLY regret that i have not told her that now!!)

If i were you , i will talk to her, tell her what is upsetting you, and how you do not like her acts. at the same time, make her feel that you still want her to be part of your life, make her think about her acts. You mentioned that her dad had died, maybe you can tell her something like ( if your dad knows what you are doing , he will be upset, do you want to upset him?) maybe she might think again.

If you talked with her, and gave her some advices, and yet nothing had changed, maybe you need to think of moving out. Tell her that , and see how will she accept that. If she consider you as a best friend as you just said, she wont allow you to move out, on the other hand, if she does not care that much, she wont stop you.

I know how hard it is on you, but at some point you need to stand for yourself... You have a chapter to finish soon! and a PhD to finish too !You cannot spend your life trying to fix someone who DOES NOT want to be fixed or helped!

Wish best of luck


Sleepyhead - you're in a pickle alright ... in one hand, you do have your PhD to think of but a friend is a friend. Was in a bit of a similar situation but think it has worked out.

If she is bringing back guys who you don't know, I'd be wary. It is a touchy topic and effectively it is really none of your business who she brings back, unless it is directly disturbing you (but from a personal view, I'd be a bit pi$$ed off with total strangers about the house anyways - you have plenty of valuable stuff and it is your house. You need your rest and also without worrying who is next door!). Do you know who she invited back the second night? If it is a total stranger, well then you need to know and let it then be known that, calling a spade a spade, as two women sharing a flat letting in total strangers is not on.

This is also crossed with your concern for her. Talk to her ... don't text or email ... talk directly. Make it clear that you are concerned for her and also that you need to know what is happening. There is also the aspect that if she carries on the way she is going, s**t will hit the fan and who will be the one picking up the pieces - you! (having to listen to Jeff Buckley/David Gray being blasted out). Don't put it off. Talk to her soon about it - don't drop hints or go about in a huff. Maybe have a girls night in with a bottle of vino and take the tension out of the situation. There is no doubt that it will be difficult and if she is not receptive, it will be worse. Is there any mutual friends you can talk to and find out a bit more? If she is your friend, you'd like to know how things are.


How does this disturb your work? Are they noisy? Do the men intermediate you? (Like by sitting around watching tv, being in your way).

If it's all out of your way and it's just a matter not agreeing with her lifestyle, I'm afraid that's life and sometimes when living with other people, we have to put up with stuff to a certain degree. But if it's actually affecting you substantially, as in you can't get work done, then you could try talking to her, like asking her to put music down or whatever the problem is and explaining why it's disturbing. Alternately you could study elsewhere like the library, which could save arguments and bad feelings. Speaking from experience.


Hi VeryPoor

Not to be rude, but I don't think you've actually understood the problem. I am, firstly, concerned for the welfare of a friend. As I emphasised several times in my post, she's a good friend not just a flatmate. Secondly, do you honestly expect me to work in the library at 1am? The issue is, as I mentioned, its a ground floor flat. Not to get into too much technical detail but my room is by the front door - taxis and doors banging wake me up. Yet that is not the main issue, its about the fact my friend may be getting herself into trouble (and if this happens more often and the neighbours complain we both may get into trouble with the Landlord as he lives next door), and if you read through all the posts there's also a safety issue, both hers given that these are random men that she won't introduce to her friends; and that of the flat as a whole given the prowler we had a couple of weeks ago.

To everyone else, thanks for your help - means a lot as always!


hi sleepyhead I have to admit I havent kept up with the posts in this thread. I'm just saying HI and I hope things are better for you at home now! And that your flatmate is OK too. Love, satchi


I have just read this thread, and personally I think your friend may need to see someone about this.

My husband was killed one night by a speeding driver (he was crossing the road with our dogs, and the guy was showing off in his car to a prospective buyerand speeding) just months into my youngest daughter's first year at uni. It was awful having to tell her the news over the phone, as you can imagine and it was the next day before she could get home. Trauma is a little word, but covers so much. Luckily she had the best flatmates ever, they came back from a night out to be with her that night. Looked after her when she went back, were there for her when she needed to speak/shout/rant at someone, cleared up after her when she got very very drunk one night and in fact were amazing. The uni were also very sympathetic and did everything they could to make sure she had all the advice etc. that she needed. I'm telling you this because she pprobably needs someone to care for her, its a bit like children, they need boundaries and although they might say otherwise they need someone to tell them to stop, to prove to them if you like that they are loved and that they matter to someone so much that the other person will say enough is enough, stop it. I guess she has had a lot to cope with and may even need to have a real argument with someone (you?) to prove someone does care what she does and also at some level to feel safe enough to let go of her feelings that she appears to have been bottling up. I guess it will be hard for you, with all the things that are going on with your life, but speak to her, let her get angry at your interference, because if you are as close as you suggest it will probably be just a release mechanism, then perhaps you could presuade her to see someone, phone the samaritans, i think there is also a berevement charity that may help. Don't give up on her, if she hasn't been like this before I think its just perhaps a cry for help (I hope this doesn't sound like a load of rubbish, because I'm no psychiatrist, but I do know what my daughter needed, and what helped her cope :$


Good advice Joyce and I feel for you, your daughter and family very much. I couldn't even begin to imagine what hell you went through and I just hope time has helped in some way.