Awhile ago I was roommates with someone. We stopped being roommates on good terms (we both moved to different cities but are now back in the same one). My roommate became a cop. I'm still friends with him.

Without prejudice I just don't feel comfortable being roommates with a cop. I told him I was looking to move and he messaged me saying he is interested in sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with me.

How can I politely turn down his offer?

He may already be suspicious as I haven't replied to his message and usually do quickly. I usually like being as direct and honest as possible but in this situation maybe I should say:

I think I'm looking for something cheaper than the places you're considering.

  • 3
    I'm assuming that you don't want to be roommates with a cop because of their job and you're obliged to put on your best behaviour 24/7 in front of him? If so, do you know him to be a person who separates work and personal life? Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 1:37
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    Can you explain the problem being roommate with a cop?
    – puck
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 3:36

3 Answers 3


You personal living arrangements are purely at your own discretion. So you always have the option of just saying no.

If you want to live on your own, you can say: Thanks for the offer, it is well appreciated - but I think I just need to have my own place right now.

If you are in fact looking for a roommate, but not him, maybe something like: I value our friendship so I´d rather not burden it with arranging as a roommate right now. That way you emphasize that you want to maintain the friendship.

That said, most cops (I personally know 3) are the same in private as anyone else. As long as you don´t plan on committing serious crimes in front of their eyes or put them in compromising situations that should not be a problem. (if you did plan on doing something serious, any roommate would actually be a problem) So if it´s purely about the cop-thing maybe you should talk and voice your concerns to see how they are met.

Something along the lines of: Actually you being a cop makes me a little bit uncomfortable living together, like for example, when I have friend over and he happens to have a little pot wit him - do you have to arrest him right away? You know, it´s not that I plan on doing something illegal but it just feels like a little bit irrational like "big brother is watching you"

Maybe you can have a talk about that and see if your fears are well founded?

  • 1
    To your paragraph on "As long as you don´t plan on committing serious crimes...", one possibility is that the OP likes to engage in recreational drug use. This might not be a problem for many roommates, but it could be for a cop.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:02
  • @David K: Just my thoughts, that ´s why I used the example I did :) The cops I met in private would either have frowned a little, ignored it or maybe even participated. Just like anyone - you normally not change personality when you take up a new job.
    – user6109
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:08
  • @Daniel And somehow I completely skipped your second to last paragraph which pretty much addresses that point. My bad!
    – David K
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:15
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    @David K: Yea, I chose to employ the infamous hypothetical friend who is of course always the one committing all those heinous acts nobody dares to ask about for themselves ... ;)
    – user6109
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:19

I've found in my experience that being direct is the simplest way to go. It starts out sounding harder, but that makes all following conversations easier. This has worked for me when telling my best friend I was moving out to live with my girlfriend, when resigning jobs, when discussing challenges with my wife, and having conversations with friends.

I also find that attaching reasoning to any answer tends to complicate things. Really, people don't need to know why you made the decision; they only really need to know the decision. I've found that attaching an explanation, when none was requested, merely gives people something to argue about and that providing an explanation when asked also leads to people trying to change my mind.

In this case, I'd simply say, "Hey, thanks for the offer! At this time, I'm going to pass. Let's get together for coffee/tea/rock climbing/egging cars/whatever we like doing together this weekend." That responds to the question that you're not interested in rooming together while still indicating that you like spending time together. If your friend asks for an explanation, I'd respond with "I'm not looking for a roommate right now but thanks for offering". That sounds honest relative to what you're saying and doesn't offer any excuses.


As per @Daniel's answer, if you're not interested in a roommate and prefer to live on your own, then there is no issue.

If you want to avoid an uncomfortable discussion about your reasons for not wanting to share a place with that guy, you could make up an excuse, but I'd be wary of specific false reasons like the "cheaper places" that you propose: they could be understood as being up for discussion (e.g., your friend not getting the hint and offering to look for cheaper places with you), and they can be exposed as lies later (e.g., if you end up moving in a place in the same price range as him). So I would consider vaguer excuses. For instance: Thanks a lot for the offer! but as we've already been roommates for X years, I was thinking of trying out some new arrangement this time.

This may not be appropriate in all contexts: e.g., it might give him the impression that the two of you are not as close as you once were, it might be misinterpreted as implying that you disliked something about your previous flat-sharing arrangement. That said, the desire to try out a new arrangement is something that people may be able to relate to: you want to try something new, you don't want to feel like you're back in the same situation as X years ago, you want to figure out what it's like to share a flat with a different person. And the nice part about this excuse is that it can't really be negotiated and also that it doesn't constrain you much about what you end up doing in the end (unless you are also considering to move in with someone else with whom you've already shared a flat before).

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