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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than 20 years of expertise in counseling, relationship resolution and family therapy.
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I have a roommate for about three years. During the first year

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I have a roommate for about three years. During the first year and a half he paid his rent on time with no problems. Than he has run into financial difficulties has still paid his rent but distributed through the month. He has also become a really good friend to me. I needed help walking my dog since my dog walker left. I said that I would take 150 0ff of his rent for walking my dog. I am recovering from surgery. Thought it would be help full to both of us. He does walk my dog at least two times a day almost everyday except for the days he has to work. Then if I am not feeling up to walking her I have a back up dog walker that I call and pay. Something about this seems a bit off for me and I am not quite sure what it is?? Especially around the days he has to work and cannot put in the two walks a day. I need objective feedback as to whether this is an equal deal or am I some how getting caught in a situation that is not fair to me since this is my place and my apartment?

When friendship and business mix it is natural that clarity sometimes is diminished. Don't feel badly. This type of thing is very common in the small business world and is a topic of many industrial psychology discussions.


When emotions and uncertainty come into the money picture it is highly recommended by experts in psychology and business that best practice protocols take over. Simply said, there are recommended ways to handle these types of situations, and if followed, typically result in a good outcome.


The best way to handle this is to completely separate the activities and requirements of living from the requirements of friendship. This means that rent is rent, and it is due on a certain date and certain time, no exceptions. If dog walking is something that you need, hire your friend at a rate of pay that is comparable to what you pay the back up dog walker. That way there is no rent involvement and how your friend uses that money is up to him. Make it a cash agreement if you can.


The friendship can remain as long as your friend is following the rules and honoring the boundaries that have been set.


How do you set this up? You have an honest conversation with him using a lot of "I" statements. "I feel we need to talk. I need to make sure the rent and the dog walking is separate. It is too confusing combining the two. Could you agree to X dollars for walking the dog and paying the full rent on-time by the 1st of each month...etc." This way you set up a boundary that is fixed and easier to maintain. It also lets you see if he is being faithful in his monetary commitments and sets the record clean.


For yourself, so you do not go back and forth: Ask another trusted friend or associate to hold you accountable to this agreement. You do not have to involve them in the conversation with the roommate of course, but just ask that they check in with you monthly to make sure you are not vacillating between a clear boundary and not.


Although no system is perfect, this method often resolves a great deal of monetary/friendship issues. Steven

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi what do you mean by being faithful to his monetary commitments and sets the record clean??



By setting a very specific boundary, the rent is due on the 1st and dog walking is a pay for each service activity, not a rent reduction, it is then very easy to see if he is trying to be manipulative or taking advantage of you.


If he fails to make the rent after agreeing to this, or he tries to alter the dog walking arrangement back into a rent reduction or similar...well, you will clearly know that he is not acting in good faith.


Plus, by making it simple and straightforward as suggested in our first post it makes the past "clean" and allows both of you to start fresh, without all the confusion that has been mixed into this situation. Steven

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