Adult ADHD and Roommates

November 18, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

Before I start talking about how having Adult ADHD can affect being a roommate, I want to say I hope you all have a really great week this week. Mondays can be super hard - you've just gotten over the fact that yesterday was Sunday (maybe you had the ADHD Weekend Blues even) and now you have to start a whole week or school and/or work (my apologies to those of you I am leaving out of this by saying that - those of you who don't work the "typical" workweek). Anyway, have a great week ... now, roommate talk.I like to talk about what is happening in my life right now. First, it's the easiest way for me to keep up on blogging once a week and second, sometimes timely things are important things! On Friday night, one of my favorite people moved into my apartment. She's having a hard go of it right now and needs a place to crash for a few months. My wife and I said, "Heck yeah!" and now we have to figure out how to be roommates to someone other than each other and our two meow-zers.

Having a roommate can be a big stressor in life and there are some good strategies to alleviate some of your difficulties.

My go-to with situations I'm unfamiliar with or struggling with is google. The other day I googled "How to be a good roommate." In the past, I've googled things like "How to get over a pet passing away" and "How to get rid of fleas." I love that google can open up my world to the thoughts of those who have gone before me. It helps me to see if my feelings are "normal" for a given situation and it can lead to some good strategies.

Anyway, roommate. Being a roommate often lasts long past college. With how expensive it is to have an apartment and how little many of us young adults make (especially those like me who are in school full-time), sharing space and rent can make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it can also bring stress with it. According to google and my own relatively-good sense, here is a list of things to do to be a good roommate, even with Adult ADHD.;

  1. Let your roommate know what is hard for you and what to expect when you're having a bad Adult ADHD day.
  2. Confront things head on and before the problem if possible. If something the other person is doing is bothering you, say so early and it won't build up until you bust.
  3. Talk openly about money. Who will pay what and when?
  4. Talk openly about chores. If you hate a chore, say so. Your roommate might just love it.
  5. Discuss quiet time schedules. If you're sensitive to noise or light, let it be known that at certain times it would work best for you to have fewer sensory inputs.
  6. Let your roommate know the best way for you to hear criticism etc. Roommates can be stressful and Adult ADHD often implies that your fuse might be shorter than your roommate's. If you tell them how you like to hear things and they comply, your living situation can be much comfier.
  7. Set boundaries. If something is yours and yours alone, say so.

There are probably about a million more strategies out there, but blogs posts are supposed to be fewer than 500 words and I'm already at 551. 552. Whoops. 554.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, November 18). Adult ADHD and Roommates, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

January, 9 2022 at 6:22 pm

I have ADHD, and info dumping is def what we do. We don't mean to, it just happens. But it also shows that we like and/or trust you. You walk in the door, and we want to tell you all the things that have happened. We don't want to do that to just any old bastard.
Re: the not overly responsive to what you're saying, often it's cause we're intaking all of the information you are saying, and it's going to take some time to understand and use that information to help us communicate. Once when I was first meeting a woman, we chatted about our house life, and she mentioned she had a dog. Literally, an hour later I was like "oh, I should ask about her dog!" and quickly sent her message to ask about the puppers. It's not that I was inattentive, it's just that the thinking process to help carry me through the social interation is quite slow.
As for the cleaning, yes, a lot of us are bad at cleaning. I, actually, am excellent at cleaning. I need a clean space and routine to help me function. I can cook if the counters are clean, I can work if my office is clean, and I can sleep and recover if my space is clean. My present housemates are actually the problem. They are the ones who are not cleaning up, and leaving the kitchen and general spaces a mess. So please don't assume that someone who has ADHD is going to be messy. Everyone is a little bit different, and the most important thing is to learn more about them and their styles. Additionally, if they were diagnosed much later in life (as I was), they may have learned coping mechanisms to attempt at keeping up with the "normal" people, to their own mental detriment (it's very fatiguing), but as a result, do have some of the cleaning skills.
Yes, patience is needed. But literally, patience is needed with every human we encounter.

marlyn morgan
August, 7 2021 at 5:11 pm

Hi, I have a question. I have just got a new roommate with ADHD and he doesnt seem like he is listening to me, although he says he is. He talks as soon as I come through the door, and follows me around, talking at me, before Ive even sat down. Its the same stuff he talks about, like hes off loading what must be going round in his head. Everytime I bump into him he says the same things. If I talk to him he talks over me. Sometimes he sits there while I am talking but he never reflects back anything I say. He is just silent. What do I do !!!!!!

Unlucky Roommate
December, 14 2021 at 3:30 pm

Its called "info dumping". Its stressful and my roomate also has adhd, untreated. We have asked her to get help for 18 months and its worse since covid started. We are at the point we are asking her to move out. There has been no real progress on her part, but lots of stress on our relationship, my finances (because she breaks a lot things) , constant messes around the house, yard, everywhere , and never picks it up until I'm so pissed off I have to leave the house. I can't do it. IMHO, they need to live with others who have ADHD or add and need to be close to family that can provide support. I am completely emotionally exhausted from living a person who has this condition. AND To boot, she smokes a ton of pot to deal with the stress, which, in my observations, has exacerbated the executive function issues she already struggles with. She has a good job, has good insurance, but I friggen done. I will never live with another person who has this condition. My personality type can not manage this.

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