Background: Me and my fiancée have been living together for three years, two in our actual residence. Half a year ago we invited a friend of mine, who was coming to the city we live in to study, to live with us. We didn't set a limit on how much time we would be living together. Said friend expects to stay for at least a year and a half more. We would like to be left alone as soon as the school year is over (three to four months).

There are no boundary issues, or disrespectful behaviour, or anything of the sort. The main reason we want to go back to living alone is that we want our "couple life" back. Many times we want to be alone in our living room, and it would be extremely rude to ask someone living in the same house to stay exclusively in their room, but at the same time it spoils our mood that we cannot spend quality time alone. So there's no real way of fixing the issue while remaining housemates.

On one hand, this will come pretty much out of the blue, though the time limit should be generous enough. When we invited my friend to come over we didn't specify how long the stay would last, and while we expected to last for the current school year, my friend's expectations differ. Until recently we thought my fiancée would have to go live somewhere else for a year for work-related issues, but in the end it will only be about a month. Knowing this, we really want to be alone again.

On the other hand, we know my friend has financial troubles, and right now her income is low and instable. While we have no issues if a payment is late or even doesn't come (since we were already living here and paying the full rental before my friend came), we know that somewhere else that could be an issue. So "kicking out" our current housemate might mean my friend has to leave the city and go back to the family house, and thus would be unable to continue studying.

What we want is to say "it's not you, it's us, so get out of our house" while remaining friends. If staying with us is the only option my friend has to continue studying we would allow the current arrangement to continue, but we are afraid that saying this will mean than only a minimal, token effort is put into searching for alternatives and thus would be fruitless. So how could we tactfully ask our housemate to leave?


5 Answers 5


Whether you remain friends or not will depend heavily on how mature and gracious your friend is. It's very nice of you to let your friend get away with not paying rent every once in a while, as well as being so considerate about her financial situation, however she is presumably an adult, and would have to figure her situation out if you were not around to host her (if you moved away, for example).

I would suggest sitting down with her and communicating your wishes in a polite a way as possible. Don't be rude, but don't be apologetic either - it's your apartment, and although you accommodated her while you could, things have changed:

Hey X, thanks for having this chat with us. We've enjoyed having you stay with us for the past year, and we hope it's been beneficial to you as well, but as you know our circumstances have changed - Y will not be going away for a year anymore -, and we're going to be unable to host you any longer. We don't want to rush you out the door or anything, but we'd appreciate it if you found different accommodations for when your school year ends.

This is when you carefully watch for her reaction. She should be mature about it, and not drag you into her personal issues (if she's not making enough money then she needs to get out and find a job ASAP). The only acceptable response is:

Oky doke, guys. Thanks so much for having me for this past year! I'll start making arrangements for the end of the school year.

If that's the case then you can volunteer as much of your help as you feel comfortable in helping her find a job/place.

However, if she even hints at emotional guilt tripping over her financial situation, you'll have to set your foot down:

Her: Oh. Did I do something wrong?
You: No, you most certainly didn't. Our plans together have changed, and we'd simply like our intimacy.
Her: Well, you never told me I was intruding before. This is a really bad time for me, you know.
You: We were more than happy to host you, and we hope that this situation will end amicably. I'm sympathetic of your situation, however you knew that this moment will likely come, and you have another 4 months to find a solution. I can offer some help in finding a new place.

What you need to always keep in mind is that you're not doing anything wrong by asking her to move out. It's your place, and your generosity, while appreciated while it lasted, is not owed her.

  • 1
    I wouldn't say "unable", since it implies there is some impediment beyond their wish to be alone. Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 16:22
  • 2
    "unable to do X" can be as simple as "will not put effort into X".
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 18:54

Things like this can be pretty easy, in my experience, if you just tell them what you told us:

Hey Joe, this is pretty awkward for us, but we found out that we just need more private time. And it is so embarassing for all of us to ask you to leave the room when we [insert favourite pastime here]. We asked you to stay with us, and would otherwise still love to have you around, but we found that we really need more time for each other. The next school break is a good point in time to do this...

Or something like that, in a tone and with words that seem practical to you.

She did nothing wrong, you did nothing wrong; there is no need to beat around the bush. Making it direct is my usual choice.

Edit: the comments gave rise to a few changed wordings, but note that the quote I gave up there is obviously not to be taken absolutely literally; but to show you a general mindset. There are more deliberations in the comments, if you wish to check them out, but the important thing is to have a firm end result in your head before you start "the talk", and don't view it as a discussion, but as stating a fact.


I'll assume she's not paying you a rent and even though theoritically you don't owe her anything, I understand it's difficult to tell your friend who's been living with you for quite a long time that you'd like her to find a new place.

Is she single?

If she's in a relationship or have recently been for a bit, I think she'd understand that you need some privacy with your SO. Plus you're engaged with her, so it's a strong clue about your plans for the future. Maybe you could approach it this way:

Hey name_of_friend, we're happy we helped you in these times during it was difficult for you to find a place to live. I'd like you to know that you're a true friend for us. However, Alice (your SO) and I have been used to live together, like just the two of us, and I have to admit that we both miss our privacy. We love to see you on a regular basis and we also believe you'd love to have a place of your own as well. Maybe we can help you find it?

Why is this a good approach IMO:

  • You make it clear you're not questioning your friendship, and that the matter is truly about your intimacy with Alice. As said before, if she'd any love experience quite recently it'd be easier for her to understand. But she needs to be sure that you're not asking her to leave because of her. Maybe raising the topic of your engagement/plans for the future would help, if you have any?

  • Offering your help to find a new place would make her confident that you're still friends and that you're not mad at her. Morevoer, stating that you'll continue to see each other regularly (of course not that often as currently, but at a pace that suit you all) will reassure her about your friendship as well.

Hope this helps.


I think that privacy for a couple is very understandable, she'll understand too if she's not being unreasonable. Bring your fiancée and housemate in a neutral place like a cafè and explain all of this (that you just want your privacy back and she did nothing wrong), then set a deadline which can be worked out and say something like "we'd like that you find another place to stay in, e.g., 2 months". If needed, help her searching for another affordable accomodation. Also, tell her that she can make a study loan if scholarships are not an option and her family can't help her, many people do that and given the fact that you are in Europe there should be various options which won't economically kill her.

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    Wouldn't the meeting set at a neutral place such a café look like a trap set? I mean, to me it sounds like "we asked you to come here so you won't make a scene when we tell you the big news". But if she's not oversensitive, well, why not?
    – avazula
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 7:32

Announce that you two are expecting! And therefore would need the room for the baby.

Nah, I'm kidding, mostly, but really, I've dealt with a lot of roommates over the years, some horrid, some perfect. In this situation, since you care about your roommates' well-being, I'd suggest doing some prep work before mentioning it.

Ask around to friends that might be looking for a roommate, see if they would be flexible regarding late payments. Be candid with any concerns, but also be sure to mention how the roommate has been pleasant to live with.

If no friends have space, try looking through housing adverts, see if you can find something that could potentially fit their budget.

Get a line on boxes, find where you can acquire some when the time comes. See if you have any friends with trucks that would be willing to help them move.

With this bit taken care of, you will be able to soften the blow by saying that you have taken it upon yourselves to try and find someone nice for them.

Start by mentioning that you weren't expecting them to stay as long as they have, and that you would like to have your home to yourself again. Just be open and let them know what you are feeling and whether or not you are flexible on their move out date.

It sounds like you guys are respectful of one another, so I'd expect that you will be able to handle this without much of an issue.


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