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Redditor Balks When New Roommate Tries To Impose An ‘English Only’ Rule In Their Apartment

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Your home is your castle.

And you’re suppose to have freedom to do as you wish.

Now if you live with roommates, you may need to compromise on a few things.

But having a conversation is free speech.

Everyone is entitled.

Case in point…

Redditor Longjumping-Mail9702 to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for opposing English only rule a new housemate is trying to impose?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I live with 5 other people in a big house, we’re all students.”

“Unfortunately, one of the girls who was supposed to live with us (we moved in just a few weeks ago after the term ended) changed her mind and we had to find new roommate in her place.”

“This girl, Siobhan, is friend of a friend of a friend kind of person.”

“But we couldn’t really be picky as our rent would go up significantly if we had an empty room.”

“Anyway, English isn’t my first language although I speak it rather well (or I like to think that I do).”

“But because of that, I have friends and family abroad who don’t speak English thus when speaking to them, speak my mother tongue.”

“Obvious, right?”

“Well, apparently not to Siobhan.”

“She’s been growing more and more agitated with me because she can hear me.”

“She’s not even part of the conversation.”

“I’m in my room with doors locked, FaceTiming someone like my mom whenever I’m with my housemates, I speak language all understand.”

“Siobhan is really annoyed with that and told me that I’m being incredibly rude.”

“And that we shouldn’t introduce a rule that in this house we only speak English.”

“I laughed at her because I didn’t think she was being serious.”

“The rest of my housemates are on holiday at the moment, and will be back next week and Siobhan wants to vote on that rule when they’re back.”

“She also blew up at me yesterday because I was in the kitchen, having headphones on, chatting with my friend who lives abroad.”

“That’s where I might be an a**hole as the kitchen is communal area.”

“But am I the a**hole for not agreeing to speak english only in my room?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA that is a ridiculous and racist rule.”

“I can see asking housemates not to have conversations in a 2nd language when someone else is present as it may make them feel like an outsider.”

“But to claim it’s an ‘English only’ household?”

“The f**k out of here Siobhan.”  ~ Possumpipesup

“I mean, I’ve had French flatmates talk s**t about me while I was in the room because they didn’t know I speak some French.”

“It still never occurred to me to introduce an English only rule in any area of the flat.”  ~ bibliophile14

“I am very happy that you recognized implementing that rule would be racist (because a lot of people would not).”

“But the following sentence was problematic as it does not help progress humanity toward acceptance and unity.”

“I can see asking housemates not to have conversations in a 2nd language when someone else is present as it may make them feel like an outsider”


“If a guest is in the house and they ‘feel uncomfortable’ because someone else is speaking another language, then they are engaging in racist behavior.”

“Just like how you admitted that implementing the rule would be racist.”

“Furthermore, if that panned out in real life, Roommate 1 has Guest over and Roommate 2 is speaking another language so Roommate 1 asks them not to in front of Guest, that would be a microaggression.”

“OP: NTA. If you’re in the United States be safe, but please continue speaking and embrace your language and culture.”

“EDIT: A lot of people have mentioned that the context to the comment I replied was…”

“‘If three people are engaging in a conversation and two of them suddenly switch to a language the third person does not know…'”

“Versus my incorrect interpretation of…”

“‘Two people conversing, my housemate comes out of their room talking in another language on their phone and I tell them to speak English.'”

“Since the new context has been brought to my attention, I agree that it makes sense if a group is conversing that they continue in the language spoken by all.”  ~ Plutomite

“In a regular case for me, my dad doesn’t speak Bulgarian and barely understands it.”

“My grandma neither speaks nor understands a word of English beyond ‘yes’ and ‘no.'”

“Me and mom speak both fluently.”

“So on multiple occasions we’ve had moments where one of us is backup translating a conversation to the other.”

“It works perfectly since we all understand the dynamic and that everyone’s doing their best to work with what we’ve got.”

“OP, Siobhan can shove off.”   ~ keepoffmymanacookies

“NTA. Siobhan is ignorant and a bigot.”

“This alone does NOT make her a racist.”

“Nowhere in the OP does it mention OP being targeted by colour, race or even culture.”

“Languages can be spoken by anyone regardless of colour, race or culture.”

“Etiquette dictates that if two or more people are speaking a 2nd language and a non-speaker arrives then, assuming all the original speakers speak English then the conversation switches.”

“Same applies in a work situation.”

“Exceptions are when a conversation/meeting is specifically being held in that language due to a participant being unable to speak the majority language.”

“In that case this is explained and then the conversation continues.”

“This can be applied to a phone or online conversation.”

“But if it call doesn’t involve you and was started in a separate room then be mature about it and let them continue in peace.”

“Applying basic good manners and common sense isn’t racist.”

“Behaving like Siobhan is NOT using the above etiquette and is bigoted and bloody ridiculous.”  ~ ThreeRingS**tshow

“Not going to lie, I find it very ironic that someone with the name Siobhan is mad that OP isn’t primarily speaking English around the house.”

“Def NTA OP.”  ~ endofprayer

“NTA, and how entitled is Siobhan!”

“She should butt out of your private conversations regardless of what language they’re in.”

“And if she’s really agitated about it in the common areas, that should not extend to the privacy of your own room – what you do in there is entirely your business!”

“She’s either insecure/paranoid that you’re talking about her, or she’s more than a bit racist. Possibly both.”   ~ Pedantkitty

“NTA, even if you speak in another language in communal area if it’s to your family and friends abroad still you’re NTA.”

“Siobhan is being out of line here.”

“Just because she doesn’t understand your language and only speak English doesn’t give her any right to impose a language rule.”

“You’re paying equal rent as others so you have equal right to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t cross the limits.”  ~ dukekaboom69

“Tell her to shove her entitlement and monolingual insecurity.”

“Most of my family cannot speak english and I live abroad.”

“I speak to them in my native language all the time, in public.”

“You pay rent just like her, she has no right to tell you what language to speak with your friends and relatives.”

“You are courteous enough to speak english with her and with others when she is part of the conversation.”

“That is more than enough. NTA!”  ~ aatukaal_paaya

“NTA – your new roommie is TA.”

“You’re not talking to her directly, so why do you need to speak English?”

“You can speak whatever language you wish when on calls and with parents… and in your own room.”

“She’s being low-key racist.”

“Obviously, only speaking your mother tongue in the house while consistently excluding your roommie from the group conversations would make you an a**hole.”

“But your situation doesn’t indicate that at all.”  ~ldn_accmj

“NTA. Siobhan is unequivocally the AH.”

“When in a conversation, it’s courteous to speak in a common language with all participants or potential participants.”

“Siobhan is not a participant, and she would be rude to listen in or insert herself into any of these conversations you describe.”

“Therefore it’s none of her business.”

“And the language you speak is none of her business either.”

“She’s being ignorant and xenophobic in her absurd request.”  ~ DA1300

“NTA. As long as you aren’t trying to communicate with the people living in the house in your foreign language, then there is no reason you would be an a**.”

“Now if you were trying to talk to the rest of the people in the house who only speak in English in a foreign language, I would understand.”

“But that does not sound like the case in this situation.”

“Also this has nothing to do with the common areas.”

“You should be able to speak whatever language you want as long as again you aren’t talking to the people in the house who only speak English.”  ~ GlassSlipperSquad

OP, Reddit has your back here.

Sorry Siobhan, people seem to feel that everyone is free to do as they wish in their own bedrooms.

Hopefully this will be resolved when your other roommates return.