45. New Flatmate
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Can I just talk to you about something?
Our new flatmate - Anders - is not quite what I had hoped
I was wondering if you shared my concerns about some of his behaviour.
Ah, yes, Tom, I know what you mean, but we can't be entirely negative.
He has good points. I mean, at least he's quiet.
He doesn't play loud music all night, or bother others, or turn his TV up, disturbing everyone.
Sure, he's quiet, but remember our last flatmate?
He'd say 'hi' to you, and smile, and treat everyone politely.
In comparison, this new guy is very impolite.
He just grunts in reply, and sometimes ignores me altogether.
I guess that's just his way, y'know, just his character.
I don't think he realises he's being impolite, and it shouldn't matter to us too much.
We can just ignore him, too, and quietly live our own lives.
But his friends are hard to ignore, when they visit.
I know what you mean, but how often does that happen?
I rarely see them, maybe once or twice a month.
If they came more often, it might be a problem,
but as it is, such rare visits don't matter so much.
Wouldn't you say so?
Well, I'm not sure, since it's very obvious when they're here because of all the cigarette smoke in the house.
It stinks up the place, and you know we don't allow smoking on the premises.
Well, I've never seen them doing this.
Maybe they do it outside.
Perhaps we can talk to Anders about it.
Always remember, though, in one respect, he's a good tenant.
And it's the most important aspect.
The previous flatmate would always pay the rent late.
I know what you're going to say. This guy pays promptly.
But there's more to being a good tenant than prompt payment.
I mean, you need to turn off the TV, clean up your dishes, dress respectably, be polite, and so on.
I guess what I'm saying is that, basically, you need to co-operate with the others,
and this new guy fails significantly in this respect.
Okay, I suppose you have a point there.
I tell you what, Tom, why don't we talk to our new flatmate, Anders, about these issues?
If we throw him out, we'll have to go to all the trouble of finding another flatmate,
who might not necessarily be much better.
So, let's give the current guy a chance.
Here. I've got a piece of paper, so let's make a short list of issues to discuss with him.
Get it out into the open.
Sure. We'll give him one more chance.
So, write, 'Communication', and let's tell him to...
Well, we can't change a person's personality overnight,
so why don't we have a weekly tenants' meeting, and we can just ask him to attend?
That way we can get to know him better.
I'll write 'attend meeting', and we can take it from there.
Okay, but we have to tell him about his friends.
They can't just do whatever they want.
Write a heading 'friends' and then write 'don't smoke, anywhere, inside or outside'.
Well, instead of being so direct, and possibly causing offense,
I'll just write, 'follow rules',
and verbally mention the rules:
TV off by 10 pm, no loud music, or bad behaviour, including smoking.
Okay, do that, but I still think we need to specifically mention that last issue.
You know how I can't stand the habit,
so I'd like this to be another and separate point. Cigarettes! Strictly forbidden!
And it's important to include the 'strictly' here.
We can't pussyfoot around too much.
Sometimes directness is necessary.
Okay, I'll write that... 'forbidden'...
Okay. And what about cleaning duties?
Anders is a little too relaxed about that.
Dishes are sometimes not washed, dirty tea cups are left around the place, and so on.
So, write 'must do better!'
Yeah, again Tom, he might take that personally, and it could cause a scene.
I'd rather be general. I'll write 'must be done'
and I'll tell him that that's for everyone, not just him. Okay?
Okay. As long as he gets the message.