Some background information: I’m international and I currently live with two American humans (let’s call them A & B - I’ve known A for a while, but I don’t know B very well; they’re friends.) in the U.S. I’m still kind of new to the area and not sure how some of the things work in this culture.

Basically I have to move out as soon as possible because of disagreements over cleanliness, and I don’t enjoy cleaning up after people. (We’ve talked about that, I’ve done my research, I now believe people won’t actually change their living habits). The disagreements have escalated but that’s not really related to this question.

I’m introverted, and I get anxious when I picture telling them I’m moving out (we never hang out these days) especially when I’m feeling more and more alone in this living situation. Also as you can imagine my non-native English doesn’t help much in this; my English gets worse when I get nervous, which in turn makes me more nervous.

I read somewhere that Writing a Note is impolite here in the US (if I take the time to write someone a letter explaining this situation, in my culture, that seems respectful...) so this isn’t an option for me.

So I’m thinking if it’s appropriate for me to talk to them separately. Our work schedules are very different anyways and it’s actually easier to meet with one at a time. Plus I’m way better at a one-on-one conversation (I don’t feel judged, and I can look the person in the eye).

How can I tell my two roommates separately that I’m moving out?

Edit: thank you everyone for kindly offering suggestions. I have talked to them and things eventually worked out. I find the answer extremely helpful in that it helps me come up with an opening line which I’ve been struggling with. Thanks again.

  • 2
    Do you feel the need to explain to them WHY you are leaving? Have you figured out where you’ll go when you move out? Have you checked any lease you might have signed about possible penalties for ending your arrangement early?
    – AsheraH
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 6:24
  • Agreed with @AsheraH - what about the conversation is making you anxious?
    – David K
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 13:04
  • Hi AsheraH, yes, because I’m friends with A (not sure anymore) for a while, and A is very outgoing and likely will ask a series of questions after I reveal my plan. I’ve figured out where I’m going (still in town), and I’ll find a replacement to take over my lease. But that has to be done after I tell them.
    – Ccc
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 13:37
  • What’s making me anxious is the living situation/our relationship right now (Going into how bad things are might distract us from the question, I assumed). I was on really good terms with A, but now A & B obviously get along better. The disagreements over cleanliness has divided us into two groups. Also I worry A’ll take things personally/become dismissive again.
    – Ccc
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


As an introverted person myself, I also feel much more comfortable in 1:1 conversations, especially when they're difficult ones. Yes, you're right about the letter, it is awfully impersonal as in you couldn't be bothered to take 20 minutes and talk to them, so it is considered rude.

There is absolutely no problem on talking to them separately, since there is no expectation of you doing an announcement on you leaving - it also helps to keep down the noise.

I had my fair share of breaking out the bad news during my job, so here are a few pieces of advice:

Before communicating

  1. As per AsheraH's comment - do your preparation ahead of time. Figure out where you're moving out to, if there is any penalties on the rent / lease or if there is any financial problem your roomates might run into with the move because they can no longer count on you to share the bills;

  2. If there is any fallout your roomates will need to deal with (like needing to find someone else to share the rent because of the finances), give them enough notice to deal with it and offer alternative solutions. This shows that you're also thinking about them;

  3. Get into the mindset that you're informing them. You're not asking for their permission, you are just communicating a decision you took. You don't have to give them a reason other than "it is better for me";

  4. Try to avoid "what ifs" in your head. They don't help at all and will make you more anxious. If you recognize yourself getting into this train of thought, go do something else for 10-15 minutes;

During communication

  1. My personal experience is that it is better to do it with the people you're more familiar with first, especially if they're friends with the other person you don't know that well. They can also help with smoothing things out later;

  2. Linked to #3: I recommend start with "I need to tell you something", "There is something I need to tell you", "I have some news" or similar phrases. This primes the other person to listen to what you have to say, and that the expectation is that they do not take an active role in the conversation or that there is no action for them on what you want to disclose. If you say "We need to talk" or "There is something we need to discuss" it implies that they'll have active part in the process, which is not true;

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.