DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a male roommate. This is my first time living with a man. He doesn’t really clean much of anything, and I get the impression that because I’m a woman, he thinks it’s my responsibility to clean everything. He never necessarily says this to me, but he implies it often. I don’t feel comfortable living in a messy home, but I also am not comfortable cleaning up after anyone other than myself. How do I approach this situation? -- First Time Living With a Man
DEAR FIRST TIME LIVING WITH A MAN: One thing that roommates should do BEFORE they move in together is establish house rules. It’s not too late to do so now. Invite your roommate to a house meeting. Establish that you should have these meetings once a week at a designated time when you can check in to make sure that things are going well and address any concerns you may have. By keeping this meeting on a recurring schedule, you avoid creating dread around coming together to talk. Sometimes the meeting can be upbeat and happy. Other times, it’s serious and pointed.
At this first meeting, share what you believe the ground rules should be about cleanliness, use of common resources, food, guests, bills, etc. Ask him his thoughts and share your own. Make it clear that each of you should be responsible for tidying after yourselves. Point out that he has not been doing that. Establish weekly and, when necessary, daily chores that you each must do to keep your house in order. Get him to agree.