Personality Cafe banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm having huge issues with my INFP housemate in regards to cleaning/tidying common areas of the house and am lost for what to do... o_O

I'm an INFJ with OCD, which I did acknowledge and say to my housemate at the very beginning. I did say that I didn't expect the same standard of cleanliness from anyone else, but that I would like us to meet in the middle. Note: I lived with that person prior and knew they were very messy, but we are friends and get along quite well, so I was hoping that we would find middle-ground. This hasn't happened. I'm particularly upset about dishes being left outside for days up to a week or longer (even though we have a dishwasher), surfaces not being wiped after being used and trash being left everywhere (couch, kitchen table, even in the garden, etc.). I regularly explode and clean it all up myself, because I just can't stand the mess... Again, I compromised in the beginning, saying that it doesn't have to be cleaned straight away, or even the same day, but leaving it for multiple days like that is not ok. I feel like I have been nothing but kind, accommodating and understanding (especially during the lockdown situation) and feel like I'm getting nothing in return (the handful of times they actually did cleanup/do something don't make up for the other 99% of messiness). Previous conversations seem to have accomplished nothing and even though they agreed to things and said themselves they would clean up/tidy more, we are where we were in the beginning. I even googled how to get an INFP to clean up and found a few reddit posts, much of which just mentioned how INFPs don't like being told what to do (which I noticed every time I brought up the topic).. But what else am I supposed to do?

A few side notes: I own the house and due to the current restrictions I am not able to end the lease with the person. I actually retreat to my room or the garage a lot of the time, just because I can't take the messiness. I don't want our friendship to be jeopardized and I do generally enjoy their company, but I'm constantly feeling frustrated, angry and overwhelmed in my own house, because of the mess... I also helped them out in many ways such as financially, personally and professionally and in turn I feel disrespected and unappreciated, because they know how much it bothers me, but they don't do anything about it. I don't know what to do anymore or how to approach the situation..

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you. Marnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Hello Marnie, I'm sorry for you, it looks super taxing and your needs seems completely reasonable and legitimate. It seems like you gonna have to evoke the subject again.

I'd suggest you put an emphasis on the following points.

Most INFPs just can't face the guilt that comes from hurting someone. You can manoeuver from there by stating your pain clearly. Saying "I live in a constant state of stress" could reaaally help. However, it's best if you don't convey anger.

You can also appeal to his moral values, if you've had them figured out. Most INFPs want to be loyal, responsible or a good person overall but they also have a high threshold between intention and action. You can tell him "I know you want to be a good friend and housemate for me but it's not really the case right now and to achieve so, you really need to step up your efforts."

Don't hesitate to provide positive encouragements ("I know you can do it') and positive feedbacks when she/he makes efforts.

Rationalizing the tasks could help for stuff that can be done weekly - which doesn't apply to any of the examples you've given but you can decide with him/her that on sundays you'll both clean up the bathroom for example.

Make it clear you don't want to terminate the friendship. But if the person is abnormally and consistently messy, an ultimatum can be needed. You can say that if the situation doesn't improve, you'll have no choice but to end the lease because it's just unlivable for you. It's a last-resort solution but it could constitute a wake-up call.

I'd also suggest to broach the subject in a written form, so he/she doesn't immediately wall you off or reassure you to avoid conflict. This way, he/she will also have sufficient time to realize how legitimate you are.

That's the best advices I can come up with, in the sense that it would work for me (but I'm not as naturally messy as your housemate seems to be so the comparizon comes with a grain of salt). You will have to adapt according to the personality of your friend and the nature of your relationship.

Good luck !
 

·
Registered
Enfp 7w8 ;p
Joined
·
172 Posts
I don't know the person, but as a friend of an INFP and a person that hates it myself, there is really nothing worse than someone nagging you to do something. I myself am an extremely messy person, maybe not to the lengths of not keeping counters for days, but I'm pretty bad, Cause I hate cleaning.
What I would personally want someone to do if I was being too messy is bring it up, which it seems you've already done. But when you bring it up the tone is important, being overly baggy and they'll never do it, while being a pushover and doing all the cleaning yourself though nice for the messy one really doesn't help them learn at all. I would appreciate it if someone told me how they felt about it and we had an actual conversation that doesn't seem like a fight or anything involving too much confrontation.

Just try being totally honest and have a conversation with the person maybe they'll understand and actually try to help.
But to be honest, if they keep showing disregard for your feelings and how upset it makes you, that is extremely disrespectful and rude. But I hope you figure it out, I know you will cause bad things never last forever. And people can change and come around to things. I'm sorry if this didn't help, but I'm hoping for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
i think the best you can do here is to invite your roomie to sit down at the table and have a serious talk. make it an event, so they see it's serious and not just some usual casual complaining.

then, the thing with us infp-s being very emotional is the key here - everything you need to do, to make them truly understand emphatize and accept, is to describe your feelings and how heavily this situation is burdening you.

third, since you're infj use that organizing streak and suggest a concrete plan, a schedule or something that you both can stick to. infps aren't big fans of schedules, but if we're being totally honest we have to admit we like making lists and crossing them out - sometimes it helps us organize the mess in our brains and gives structure as well as a sense of doing something productive. it is also how we sometimes behave when in a super stressed mode. so if you make some sort of an easy program, a rule of sorts and present it in a non-strict way, it might work out. for instance make a deal that at the end of every day you both go through the house and clean up your each garbage. or after lunch, or whenever.

so, three points here: make it a serious sit-down, freely express how this all makes you feel, and suggest a (simple and not too strict) solution.

let us know how it works
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
4,971 Posts
Much good has been said already. One more point that I think might be a bit different relating to type (might not be the case, as not all are the same within types, but I'll still mention it and you can make up your mind if it might apply in your case), is arguing from a point of "how things ought to be done"/"the proper way to live/clean"/"the sensible way to act" or from "this impacts me in this way"/"it is not fair that I get to do your work". It might be good to not talk about any general ways of tending a house, standards, but just to your and your flatmates situation specifically. Explaining how you are impacted and how it feels. (I have been in a similar situation, and said something similar to (content, not wording): "I feel reluctant to cook nowadays, because I am disgusted by the smelly dishes and the sticky goo on the bench, so I either have to do your work and clean up for an hour before I cook, which just isn't fair, or I'll just eat something that needs no cooking, my eating habits have become so much less healthy since we've lived together, it makes me sad, I used to enjoy cooking").

Myself, I am naturally quite messy, but I keep order in the common areas, I am motivated to do my share because it feels unfair to let someone else do my work mostly. I also feel a bit ashamed if others are subjected to my mess (say if I forget something in the fridge that grows mold and someone else has to smell that when throwing it out). It helps to have structure for those things, where I live we have a rotating schedule for cleaning for example (but not dishes etc, there it is just that people should do their own most of the time, and if not once in a while when in a hurry, at least rinse them and do within a day), but making things easy has helped in the past. Perhaps having more trashcans around for example? With dishes we have sometimes had the rule that if one has dirty dishes they should keep them in their own room (doesn't work with someone messy enough to hog all the dishes or until there are pests though... but with fairly reasonable people, perhaps if hogging some, then also having separet dishes and cutlery so one doesn't get annoyed that one's favourite cup is never around).

To some extent I think some people are just really difficult to live with though. A few people I lived with would just never clean and made a mess and we tried so many varieties of cleaning days, schedules, nagging or trying to make it a nice event where we ate pie after cleaning together etc. but they just wouldn't, always evaded somehow, and nodded and said of course, sure, when the topic was brought up, but then wouldn't lift a finger.

I think one have to still have understanding that people have different levels they prefer with cleanliness though, and to some extent living together is also about learning not to get irritated to easily, let things be, which is a good thing to learn too, but there are certainly limits. I have also learnt that it is easy that people are annoyed about some things because one notice and pay attention to the things one does oneself, but don't notice the things other people do that you don't think much about. One person might be annoyed that no-one else ever cleans the sewers in the shower, while one is annoyed that they almost always take out the compost, while a third is annoyed that they are always the one to throw away old things in the fridge. It is natural that we overlook the things we are oblivious about, so it is good to talk such things out. One can even have a list where you make a mark every time you say, take out the trash, and then it doesn't have to be every second time, but try to make it so that one person doesn't get too far ahead in the trash-league :) . When I just lived with my then boyfriend years ago, we did that with the dishes, because both thought they did them much more often, but when we started to take note, it turned out we did about as often. It is just that you notice much more when you do it yourself, and might not even notice when the other person does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your support & advice! I feel more calm and clear on how to approach the situation and how to explain my side of things. Here's hoping that it will go well 🤞 Marnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Much good has been said already. One more point that I think might be a bit different relating to type (might not be the case, as not all are the same within types, but I'll still mention it and you can make up your mind if it might apply in your case), is arguing from a point of "how things ought to be done"/"the proper way to live/clean"/"the sensible way to act" or from "this impacts me in this way"/"it is not fair that I get to do your work". It might be good to not talk about any general ways of tending a house, standards, but just to your and your flatmates situation specifically. Explaining how you are impacted and how it feels. (I have been in a similar situation, and said something similar to (content, not wording): "I feel reluctant to cook nowadays, because I am disgusted by the smelly dishes and the sticky goo on the bench, so I either have to do your work and clean up for an hour before I cook, which just isn't fair, or I'll just eat something that needs no cooking, my eating habits have become so much less healthy since we've lived together, it makes me sad, I used to enjoy cooking").

Myself, I am naturally quite messy, but I keep order in the common areas, I am motivated to do my share because it feels unfair to let someone else do my work mostly. I also feel a bit ashamed if others are subjected to my mess (say if I forget something in the fridge that grows mold and someone else has to smell that when throwing it out). It helps to have structure for those things, where I live we have a rotating schedule for cleaning for example (but not dishes etc, there it is just that people should do their own most of the time, and if not once in a while when in a hurry, at least rinse them and do within a day), but making things easy has helped in the past. Perhaps having more trashcans around for example? With dishes we have sometimes had the rule that if one has dirty dishes they should keep them in their own room (doesn't work with someone messy enough to hog all the dishes or until there are pests though... but with fairly reasonable people, perhaps if hogging some, then also having separet dishes and cutlery so one doesn't get annoyed that one's favourite cup is never around).

To some extent I think some people are just really difficult to live with though. A few people I lived with would just never clean and made a mess and we tried so many varieties of cleaning days, schedules, nagging or trying to make it a nice event where we ate pie after cleaning together etc. but they just wouldn't, always evaded somehow, and nodded and said of course, sure, when the topic was brought up, but then wouldn't lift a finger.

I think one have to still have understanding that people have different levels they prefer with cleanliness though, and to some extent living together is also about learning not to get irritated to easily, let things be, which is a good thing to learn too, but there are certainly limits. I have also learnt that it is easy that people are annoyed about some things because one notice and pay attention to the things one does oneself, but don't notice the things other people do that you don't think much about. One person might be annoyed that no-one else ever cleans the sewers in the shower, while one is annoyed that they almost always take out the compost, while a third is annoyed that they are always the one to throw away old things in the fridge. It is natural that we overlook the things we are oblivious about, so it is good to talk such things out. One can even have a list where you make a mark every time you say, take out the trash, and then it doesn't have to be every second time, but try to make it so that one person doesn't get too far ahead in the trash-league :) . When I just lived with my then boyfriend years ago, we did that with the dishes, because both thought they did them much more often, but when we started to take note, it turned out we did about as often. It is just that you notice much more when you do it yourself, and might not even notice when the other person does.
Thank you for your advice, it's very helpful :)

I know what you mean regarding everyone having something that annoys them.. I have certainly annoyed people in my past with things I didn't perceive the same way they did.. And since I have lived with people for quite a number of years, I've gotten used to everything not being to my standard and my tolerance level has certainly gone up. I'm happy to compromise and meet in the middle, but if the other person just does absolutely nothing (except for the handful of times, when asked to), after many months and multiple conversations, then that just isn't fair.. Unfortunately, their contributions are so rare, that I remember each one of them and can count them with my fingers...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
This brings back memories of me and my best mate, when we shared houses years ago. He's a tidy guy, and well... I'm not. He used to bark at me, and rightly so, for not pulling my weight, but i was usually not having it any of it. Not sure why, maybe more stubbornness than laziness. I could be wrong, but i seem to remember thinking that if we done it together it would be more tolerable. So maybe you can suggest to them that once a week, you both do a big clean together, but every night after they eat, they need to clean up after themselves. If there not up for that idea, tell them its not going to work out for you. Hopefully that idea might appeal to them more than finding somewhere else to live.
Hope it works out, good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,174 Posts
This brings back memories of a situation comedy TV show called The Odd Couple. One guy was a slob. One guy had OCD. I think Neil Simon made MILLIONS off of that play and TV show, and situation and characters and the painfully difficult living together scenario.

Everything you said in the OP sounds reasonable to me. You don’t sound crazy at all, the unfortunate thing about all this is you guys are at opposite poles on this issue. Like North Pole vs. South Pole. I think a “come to Jesus” meeting is needed or in mob-speak - - ->> “a Sit Down with a contract” drawn up. If it were me, next time, next roommate, stress over and over and over about your OCD and that it’s your rules, or the highway. Seriously. The person who owns the house holds all the power I believe but maybe a lawyer is reading this and might know more.

Like others have said Good Luck! Like I said up there, you seem like a reasonable person and not an asshole.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top