Adulting, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?

Little Johnny

A few decades ago in a state far, far away there were two young ladies dispatched to the same military base at the same time.  Because they were coming from the same school, arriving at the new base within a short time AND they were both female, they were OBVIOUSLY meant to be roommates.  They accepted this belief without question.  The young sailors looked at a couple of apartments before they finally settled into a quiet, two bedroom, two bath, first floor unit.    The older and wiser of the two was a very sweet young lady with a thick Alabama accent which so intrigued the younger and far more obnoxious one of the mismatched duo.  The sweet one could scarcely utter a sentence without having a few of her southernisms regurgitated back to her with a poorly imitated accent.  The southern belle was far too kind to smack her roommate so she politely resigned herself to six months of dysfunctional living.  The northern girl was delighted when her roommate sped through yellow lights and referred to them as “pank” since they were not quite red.  Now the younger one wasn’t inherently evil but she was doing all of the things she thought young adults were supposed to do while not living with their parents.  She was under the impression that all of her peers viewed life through the same lens that she did.  To offset her misguided thinking, she was very fiscally responsible.  She was practical to a fault and furnished the entire common area of the apartment.  “Furnished” may be a bit of an exaggeration.  She purchased an uncomfortable striped hide-a-bed couch on credit.  The perfectly austere living room ensemble was rounded out with a solitary lamp.  The television provided by her roommate was the focal point of the room.  The new kitchen table turned out to be far less necessary than originally expected.  The place had about as much warmth and charm as a prison cell, but it was totally functional.  By the end of the lease, the stable one met the man she would eventually marry.   The young one had many more lessons to learn before she could be considered wife material.   She found her next roommate though a newspaper ad titled “Room for Rent”.

I’ve spoken to many parents who have expressed that they would like to have their young adults move out.  Apparently, “the economy” is the biggest reason that they are left stranded at home.  Or because they can’t find a roommate and can’t afford to live without one.   After listening to the story you just heard, you just can’t be too careful!  I never wanted to tell my girls that they had to move out, but I always tried to stay a step ahead so they would be prepared when it was time to go.  For example, it was understood in my home that a bachelor’s degree was expected to be completed within four years.  Some have a knack for meandering their way through school when going to school is supposed to be their full time job.  My solution was to figure out a reasonable fee schedule for room and board.  If my student were to take a minimum of 12 semester hours and get a C or better in all of her classes, then the room and board would be waived entirely.  Similarly, I had just completed my own degree and my employer’s reimbursement of my tuition was contingent on my earning a C or better.  Conversely, if they chose to take only 9 hours, they would get a 75% reduction in the agreed upon room and board.

Does anyone else feel this way?  You love him like crazy but you’re oh so tired of his attitude of entitlement, lack of a life plan and unwillingness to follow the house rules.  You want him to move out and start to assume some adult responsibility, but where can he go?  You’re not going to put him on the street. Are there any acceptable ideas between endless occupation of his childhood bedroom and putting him out to sleep under a bridge?   Well, maybe. Following are a few ideas that just might be worth consideration.

Friends and Family

The next best thing to living with parents is living with a friend or another family member who didn’t change their diaper or teach them to use a spoon.  While there is already an established relationship, it is probably not the type that will allow them to behave like helpless, dependent children.  Unless little Johnny pulls his weight, Aunt Sally will be a lot less tolerant than mom and far less hesitant to send him packing for bad behavior.

Social Media

My youngest daughter first went away to college when she was a junior.  Because she didn’t know anyone else who was transferring to her university, she found a chat room on Facebook to sift out a potential roommate.  She spoke to quite a few before she finally settled on one who shared her Christian values. Before they made a decision, they were able to first meet on Skype, and then in person.    The two of them got along well enough that they shared an apartment during their senior year also.

US Armed Forces

This is an excellent place to grow up.  The drill sergeant will definitely not be playing the role of mama, but they’ll be grooming your pride and joy for a potential career while teaching them how to live and play nicely with others within their organization.  They’ll have absolutely no idea who their roommates will be and that’s part of the adventure.  I was once assigned a roommate who was a bit, shall we say, odd.  Dungeons and dragons were not my thing, so I just stayed out of her way.  One evening, I walked into our shared room and saw a piece of raw meat thawing on the radiator.  That wouldn’t have been terribly unusual if only we had a kitchen facility, but alas, we did not.  When I asked her why it was there, she indicated that while some people were perfectly fine eating their steaks cooked “rare”, she was content to eat hers right off of the radiator.  And I was perfectly happy to find the next roommate who had a spare bed, which I did shortly afterwards.

It doesn’t cost anything to take a quick look.  It shows the available roommates within a designated radius of your city.  People are either advertising to have someone fill a room in their home or find someone who has a spare room that they can occupy.  There are a lot of potentially good choices out there.   Join for free to find a perfect match!

Find a Job in a Tourist Area

When my oldest daughter was ready to strike out on her own, she looked on-line and found a job at a ski resort half way across the United States.    Turns out that staffing during tourist season can be so challenging that they are sometimes willing to hire during a phone interview.   She was placed, along with 2 roommates, into worker housing.  Fees for their shared hotel room were deducted from their paychecks.   Just like in the military, seeing who you end up with is part of the fun.  In her case, after a short time in worker housing, she ended up signing a lease on a big house with her original roommates along with a couple more (to read more about this: How This 19-Year-Old Found a Way to Conquer the World on Her Own Terms ).

The two sailors, one from the north and one from the south, went their separate ways and did not see each other again. Thirty-five years have passed since I last heard her talk about petting her “keety” whose name was Cecil. I loved to hear her say that because I was so intrigued by her accent.  Yes.  I was the bad roommate.  All of my life lessons since have taught me how to be a good roommate. I cringe when I think of the former me that she would remember.  If I ever spoke to her, I would thank her for being such a kind, generous and tolerant human being and for not holding a pillow over my face after I went to sleep.

As for little Johnny, there are plenty of options for him out there also.  He may just need to turn over a few rocks and think outside the box.  One of the life’s great lessons begins when they step outside the safety and comfort of their parent’s home.   If you or someone you know has found a creative way to implement this lesson plan, please share.


4 thoughts on “You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?”

  1. Too many parents push their kids away from the military as a viable option for success. I myself went to the university, got my Bach degree, and went on to get a job that pays well enough to support myself, my wife, and our little boy. My brother, the more active one, took to the military, plowed his way through the ranks and now supports his own family. Same outcome, different but ultimately both successful paths.


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