Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Friendly Housemate Short Circuits Chill Time

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I am 26 and share a house with three other women. The others are about 30, 45, and 80. All of us pay rent and the homeowner does not live here. 

My job requires working a lot of different hours throughout the week and weekends. The schedule is constantly changing. I deal with the public and need to "put on a happy face" while working. When I am at home I like to be alone to either veg or to get things done.

My oldest housemate keeps wanting to engage me in involved conversations for which I often do not have either the time or the energy. What is a polite way to tell this woman that I need some quiet time and can't always hang out with her? --- NOT FEELING THE SMILE

DEAR NOT: My guess is an octogenarian living with younger people might truly be interested in your lives and times. I give her credit if that’s the case. She may also be feeling the need to mother hen you, especially since you’re the youngest.

It might be helpful to have one good, long discussion with your older housemate during which you chronicle just how hectic and draining your average day is. Make it a point to let her know that what keeps you balanced is being able to come home and just chill in peace and quiet.

Hopefully she’ll take the hint, but if subtly doesn’t cut it, politely let her know you’re honestly too tired at the moment, but that you’d be glad to talk with her another time, maybe even over a cup of coffee or quick meal in or out of the house. Then make good on the raincheck. It could prove educational for your both.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at