Joined: 28 Nov 2009
I was assigned a roommate at university this year, and though she’s never disclosed it to me, I’m fairly certain—from conversations she’s had on the phone while I was in the room and discussions with our resident assistant, that she has Asperger’s.
We share a 15’x11’ or so space, and she spends the vast majority of her waking hours in the room—she only goes to some of her classes and she has only one friend in the city, who usually comes and sits in our room for hours on end with her instead of doing something outside of the room. This means that I’ve had basically no time alone in the room all semester, and I make a big effort to only be in the room to sleep.
She cooks for herself and leaves dirty dishes out for weeks on end. She doesn’t own a trashcan, and has no issue leaving her trash piled up on the floor. As a result, our room smells terrible, and I regularly spray Lysol all over everything and open the windows to keep healthy. I know I should confront her about these things, but I can’t fathom how at 22 years old she hasn’t learned to clean up after herself, and I feel like confronting her will be so awkward and possibly hurtful that it might not be worth it.
In addition, she has never initiated a conversation with me in four months. In the first weeks of living together, I tried to be friendly and get to know her, but answers were never more than yes or no or a grunt. Since then, I’ve given up entirely, and we’ve gone weeks without speaking.
How can I go about approaching her with these issues? We have another semester living together, but I’m going to try and change roommates. If that doesn’t work out, is there anything I can say to help her understand my frustrations in a non-obnoxious way? How much of her behavior can I attribute to her having Asperger’s, and how much of it is specific to her personality? Would it be better to approach her with my resident assistant, or one-on-one?
Thank you for your help.
Joined: 18 Jul 2008
She's just a slob. There are lot of slobs out there, AS or not.
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
I don't think the reason she does something is very important in this case. You should be able to feel comfortable in your room too. She needs to clean up. If she can't afford a garbage can she should use a paper or plastic bag.
When you confront her just be nice. Tell her that you know getting used to living on her own can be tough. List the things you don't like and tell her what she can do to fix them. Don't yell at her, just make suggestions and tell her nicely but directly how you feel.
If you don't tell her, your situation becomes partially your fault. She's obviously not disturbed by her behavior so she may not have any idea that it's causing problems for you. She shouldn't have to read your mind. Tell her. If you tell her and she doesn't do anything then at least you tried.... and it's time for you to seek mediation from an RA or find another room/roommate.
Joined: 7 Nov 2009
Doesn't sound like AS to me. Most aspies I know are somewhere between healthily apathetic and paranoid when it comes to cleanliness, hygiene and good smell. I, for one, wouldn't spend a minute in a room if I think that it smells bad (and I am more sensitive to odours than most people). Of course, I should know better than trying to diagnose people I never met by description in the internet, but what you describe looks more like a schizoid than an autist.
Seriously, though, if everything is as you describe, this girl has serious problems. I would advice her to see a psychologist if I were you, or maybe your university has some sort of counseling for students or something?
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