How to cope with housemates not doing their fair share?

I am a female in a share house of boys and I seem to be doing more house work than them. I have suggested a roster, but they have not really responded. I feel like I am a house mother. What should I do, what is fair?

Finding a good balance for chores in a share house can be a difficult and frustrating task. It sounds as though you have already tried to think of ways you can come up with a fair system to ensure that everybody is sharing the responsibility, but you are disappointed because your housemates have not responded well to this.

In terms of your question about what is fair, a simple answer might be that fair means you no longer feeling as though you are the house mother and the responsibility rests with you. Before you even start exploring other ideas, it might be worth thinking about communication first. When we are trying to communicate about things that make us feel frustrated, it can sometimes be hard to get our message across and really make our needs clear. Some people find it helpful to have a plan for what they want to say ahead of time, which can follow a script like this:

When you ______, I feel ______, and I’d like you to consider ______.

Whether or not you use a script, the important thing is to know what’s negotiable for you and what’s not. You might need to think a bit about this, but once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need and what you think is fair, you can take into account what others need. It then becomes a lot easier to find a compromise that works for everybody. Communication requires all parties to be willing to engage, if they’re not willing to consider your needs, you can’t force them to do more work. In this case, consider what your options are. It’s possible they are not doing the work because they know you will do it yourself, so think about ensuring that your actions are matching what you are saying.

If you find it difficult to know what you need and what you think is fair, perhaps coming in to see a Counsellor might be a good opportunity for you to explore this in a safe and structured environment.
For more information about assertive communication, you can check out this handout. And the more detailed resources on assertiveness:


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