College Roommate Tips
Love them or hate them, just about every student lives with at least a roommate or two during their college career. Roommates are just part of the college experience. And a college roommate can make or break your college experience. A good roommate experience makes your time at school happier, easier, less stressful, and more successful. A bad roommate experience, well… you can see why finding ways to coexist happily with a roommate is so important.
If you are not sure how to move forward with a roommate or want some more strategies to help ensure that your roommate experiences are positive, then read on to learn more about peacefully sharing space with roommates!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Pretty much the most important thing that you can do to uphold your relationship with your roommate is to communicate, communicate, communicate. Honestly, this is one of the most important things you should do in every relationship. But it is especially important in a roommate situation because this is a person that shares such an intimate part of your life.
You split bills and finances with your roommate. You share belongings, like furniture and sundries, with your roommate. You share a living space with a roommate, something very humbling and intimate. Your roommate is the one who sees you stumble into the house after a long and crazy day and is the one to see you stumble back out after a long night of little sleep and lots of studying.
You want to communicate from the outset, you want to communicate to both avoid and resolve conflict, you want to communicate over the course of time. Basically, you want to always be in communication. This does not mean that you have to overshare or constantly have meaningless chatter with your roommate. But you should talk about important things, like creating boundaries and checking in with each other.
If something your roommate is doing is bothering or upsetting you, you need to communicate that. Without communication, the problem will 1) fester, leaving you upset with rising tension, and 2) remain unresolved because even though it may be clear that there is a problem to you, it might not be so clear to your roommate.
In order to both avoid and solve problems, you have to be willing to communicate with your roommate so your time together will be peaceful.
Part of communicating with your roommate is creating boundaries. But what is a personal boundary, and how can you create them with your roommate?
The University of Kentucky describes it like this: “Personal boundaries, just like the ‘No Trespassing’ sign, define where you end and others begin and are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behavior, and interaction are acceptable.”
For example, if you do not like other people, even your roommate entering your private spaces, like your bedroom, without your permission/knowledge, you can communicate this to your roommate and make that a personal boundary. If your roommate having guests over that you do not know makes you uncomfortable (especially in the time of coronavirus), you need to communicate that and then be willing to work with your roommate to create a system that works for both of you while still respecting your personal boundaries.
Personal boundaries are different for each person and while creating them, you have to be willing to communicate with your roommate and make sure you are accommodating and meeting the needs of their personal boundaries as well, not just your own. You both deserve to feel safe and respected in the sanctity of your own home and your wellbeing does not come at the price of your roommates.
Stick to Your Commitments
The pièce de resistance to peacefully sharing a space using the two strategies listed above is after communicating and creating boundaries, to then stick to your commitments. Creating shared boundaries is making a set of shared commitments, and communicating and setting the boundaries does nothing if you then do not follow them.
Do the things you say you are going to do. Come through on your commitments, just as you would like your roommate to do. And if for some reason you are unable to or feel that these commitments need to shift, refer back to the previous two strategies and communicate how you are feeling, and then create new boundaries, AKA commitments.
It may take some work (and it needs to be from both sides, not just your own) but it is certainly preferable and definitely possible to peacefully share space with a roommate in college as long as you try and implement these strategies, in whatever way applies to your situation.
College students have a lot of expenses and a limited budget. If you live with a roommate or two, buying taking advantage of buying in bulk can help save money. While sharing things like your favorite snacks or health products, sharing various other essentials can help save on costs. There are stores specifically designated for bulk purchases, but those often require a paid membership. Even buying things in bulk at your local grocery store can help you save money.
While buying food items in bulk on your own can seem unproductive as they may go bad, buying cooking essentials like eggs, seasonings, milk, ketchup, cooking oil, and flour in bulk may be useful. These things are used frequently across multiple recipes, so it is useful to have the bulk of these items so you and your roommate have enough for all the things you like making. If you have specific needs or brands that you prefer in these items over ones your roommate uses, make sure you have your own stash.
You and your roommates may have individual snacks that you buy in regular portions, but if you know that you all enjoy a specific snack and find yourself eating each other’s stash, you may want to consider buying those snacks in bulk. You may even be able to find healthy snacks depending on where you shop. Just be sure you are clear about individual snacks, and if you decide that you want to buy a snack in bulk next time you go shopping, make a note on a shopping list. Be sure to check expiration dates so that you do not end up wasting food and money.
Image: Nico Smit via https://unsplash.com/photos/PTv-B97DHNI
Things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and razors all cost less when purchased in bulk. Individual toiletry items can cost up to $5, but a large pack of even 100 can be $20. If you take care of these items and store them properly, you may be able to have a stock of toiletry items for the duration of time you are with your roommate. This allows you to split the box and split the cost. Not only will you be saving a lot of money, but you will also help reduce plastic packaging to help the environment.
Soap and cleaning supplies
Whether you live in an apartment with your roommate or a dorm, you will have to keep your space clean. Things like hand soap, shampoo, bar soap, laundry detergent, and soap for cleaning can add up when purchased in individual portions. Buying in bulk will help you save money and make sure you do not run out of supplies when you find yourself having to clean up a mess. You will likely need various types of cleaner, so having these in bulk can help make sure they last while you are with your roommate.
Textbooks, tuition, and a computer are all expensive enough, but as a student, you will likely need things such as pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, and index cards. These things can add up if you buy them individually or in smaller quantities. Since you are all in school, you will all likely need these supplies and will want to have plenty on hand, especially since pens tend to go missing. Before each semester, take a look at your syllabi with your roommate to see if there are specific supplies that you will need. Otherwise, stick with general supplies that you anticipate needing. That way, you will not have to panic when you lose your pen or have to do notecards for a project or exam.
Paper goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues often come in individual quantities, but since you are living with a roommate, you will likely need to have a bunch of these supplies handy. The good thing about paper goods is that you do not have to worry about them going bad, so you can have a large supply of them so you are not caught in an emergency without toilet paper or paper towels. College students are notorious for getting sick and spreading germs, so having tissues on hand can help ensure that you do not have to make a store run when you or your roommate are sick.
If you know that you will use a bulk item before it goes bad and you know your roommate will use it as well, it is worth buying. Otherwise, buy the smaller portion so you do not waste the money and food. Consider buying the store brand of the bulk items to help save even more money. Only buy things in bulk that you and your roommate both use and be sure to make clear what items are yours.
While the initial cost of buying in bulk may seem higher than buying in smaller quantities, if you sit down and do the math, buying items in bulk actually saves money over time. This is essential as a college student, especially if you have a roommate and can split the costs.
Living on your own versus living with roommates takes a great deal of compromise and patience. Sometimes things are smooth sailing in your roommate situation, and on the other hand, things can be difficult and frustrating. If you are living with a roommate and are unsure about your living situation, here are five signs you might need to make the push to get a new roommate.
1. Personal Boundaries Are Never Respected: When living with someone, it’s not only important but also necessary to respect the other person’s personal boundaries. What does this look like? Respecting personal boundaries can apply to a number of different situations, and not doing so can be borrowing clothes without asking, using toiletries like shampoo or toothpaste without asking, barging in your room at random times, or eating food that you bought for yourself. If you and your roommate communicate that certain items can be shared or used that is one thing, but if your roommate assumes that it’s a free-for-all and everything that is yours, is theirs- it’s time to perhaps start looking for a new roommate.
2. All the Chores Fall On You: No one enjoys doing chores all the time, though they are necessary to maintain a clean and functional living space. Living with a roommate, it should only be right to split the chores among the two of you the way that both of you see fit. If your roommate is grossed out by the bathroom, you take over to clean while they can vacuum and mop the floors. However, if you are the one constantly picking up after your roommate, washing the pile of dishes in the sink, and cleaning your home from top to bottom, that’s not fair. It’s all about balance!
3. Rent Is Always Late: Sometimes people fall into difficult financial situations- life isn’t always fair or gentle and it can be easy to fall into a bad spot. Unfortunately, life doesn’t wait for anyone and while it is tough to be in a bad financial spot, rent does still need to be paid. If your roommate is behind on bills or unable to pay rent, it can put you in a bad situation as well. Make sure to keep bills organized and determine from the get-go how bills will be split each month and who will take care of making surer they are paid on time. If your roommate is not upholding their responsibilities when it comes to their portion of the rent and utilities, though it may be tough to make the decision to leave, it will be better for your wallet and your renter’s record in the long run.
4. Tension and Fighting Are Constant: This sign may be obvious, but nonetheless, it is important to recognize. Though we all have our differences, it should go without saying that these differences should be respected. While you and your roommate might not be 100% compatible, there should still be mutual respect and a general sense of kindness in your home. If there is terrible tension in your space, such as the very sight of your roommate sends you into a spiral of anxiety, or it comes to a point where you don’t feel comfortable in your own home, it’s time to find a new roommate. Sometimes living situations don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer in the meantime. When things get bad, get out.
5. Unwanted Guests are Always Over: Again, this can tie into the first sign (respecting personal boundaries) but goes a little bit further, since it applies to who is coming in and out of your home, and when specifically. Part of the excitement of having a place of your own is having people over whenever you want. This is great but starts to go sour when your roommate takes this freedom and runs with it. If your roommate is inviting people over at all hours of the day, on weekdays when you have to study or do work, on weekends when you want the place to yourself, or when you clearly communicate days or times that you don’t want people over and they still don’t listen, it’s a sign to make the switch to a new roommate.
Going from living by yourself to living with roommates can be a large adjustment and can at times, prove to be difficult. If you are in a stressful or unhappy living situation with your roommate, pay attention to these signs and remember to always put yourself first!
Whether you’re living in a college dorm or renting an apartment somewhere off-campus, you’re likely to have roommates at some point or another. If you and your roommates get along really well, that’s great! However, if you happen to have roommates with whom you don’t get along quite so well — maybe they make a lot of noise while you’re trying to fall asleep or leave dirty dishes in the sink — you may find yourself in a difficult situation. Here are some things you can do if your roommates are inconsiderate.
Don’t romanticize the idea of having a roommate.
If you’re a first-year college freshman and have never had a roommate before, it’s too easy to romanticize the idea of becoming best friends with your first roommate. However, it’s not a good idea to get your hopes up because there’s no guarantee you’ll end up becoming best friends with them. High expectations can lead to resentment if you and your roommate have different levels of interest in becoming close. If you begin to realize that your roommate is not that interested in becoming good friends with you, try not to expect too much from the relationship. Then, if they do show signs of being inconsiderate, you won’t be too crushed or disappointed by their behavior.
Make a roommate contract.
If your roommate is starting to get on your nerves, it’s a good idea to create a contract with them. While it doesn’t have to be an official document, it’s still a good chance for you both to set some boundaries and come to an agreement on how you plan to share your living space. For example, you can set some house rules on whose responsibility it is to complete certain chores or how many friends you can have over at a given time. Creating a roommate contract will hopefully help lessen any future conflicts that may arise. Otherwise, if a problem does come up later on, you can both reference the contract you created together and see if you want to make any amendments to it.
Have a talk with them.
In addition to making a contract, you can set aside some time to have a talk with your roommate. In many cases, they probably haven’t even realized that they are being inconsiderate. One way you can start this conversation is by apologizing for not setting clearer expectations. You can start off by saying, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about x, which makes me uncomfortable,” before launching into the rest of the discussion. Instead of blaming them right away, you’ll be putting the focus on setting new expectations, which is much more likely to yield positive results. You should also be sure to offer a possible solution to the issue; for example, if it bothers you that your roommate leaves your shared living space a mess, you could propose a weekly cleaning schedule. Having a solution ready will shift the responsibility and blame off of them and show that you’re willing to quickly resolve things.
Once you let them know how their actions are affecting you, there’s a much better chance that they’ll respect your wishes compared to if you hadn’t said anything at all. (However, if you are in a particularly bad mood or very angry at the time, you should hold off on having that conversation with your roommate until you are able to think and act reasonably.) If you talk with them and their behavior still doesn’t change, don’t fret; after all, you can’t control how they react. There are still other things you can do to better handle the situation.
Consider your own behavior.
It’s entirely possible that, while you think your roommate is being inconsiderate, they are thinking the same of you. In such cases, it’s a good idea to take a step back and examine the bigger picture, including your own behavior. How have you been treating your roommate? Do you have any habits that could potentially come across as inconsiderate? Taking time to think about your own actions could at least help you have more patience with your roommate and relate to them a little bit.
Ask an outside source for help.
If all else fails, and if you’re living on campus in a dorm, you have the option to go to your resident assistant (RA) for assistance, as they often have resources to help you work through controversy with your roommate and might even help facilitate conflict resolution. When you tell your RA or anyone else about the situation, do your best to share the whole picture so that you don’t paint your roommate as the bad guy or leave out important details. Sometimes, having a third party intervene can be the best thing for your situation.
Dealing with an inconsiderate roommate can be tricky, but you can handle it by communicating properly and setting clear expectations for each other — which will perhaps help improve your relationship with your roommate.
Living with a roommate is a challenge in and of itself, but that challenge can escalate quite exponentially if living with a roommate of the opposite gender. While that’s not to say that you can’t live with someone of the opposite gender, it is to say that it can change up the rules quite a bit.
With that all being said, here are six rules to set if living with a roommate of the opposite gender to ensure the relationship moves forward as seamlessly as possible.
1. Be Honest About Relationship Situation
Stating upfront whether or not you are in a relationship is important when you have a roommate of the opposite gender for a variety of reasons. For one thing, as with any roommate, if you are dating someone, they are likely to be around fairly often, which can make your roommate uncomfortable.
Additionally, if you are not dating anyone, but plan to be, this raises the potential of having new individuals at your apartment on a semi-regular basis. In either situation, your roommate should be notified/prepared for the stage you are in in your dating life if you plan to avoid any issues down the road.
2. Be Clear with Intentions
Individuals of the opposite gender can and often do live together without ever desiring a relationship with their roommate. That being said, the opposite can also be true.
When moving in with a roommate of the opposite gender, it’s important that you lay out any rules regarding potential relationships. Whether you are already dating, are interested in them in that way, or have no interest in that regard, you should be honest and upfront before signing a lease, otherwise you are creating a recipe for disaster.
3. Any Guest Rules?
As mentioned previously, having guests over to the apartment is bound to happen. That being said, when living with any roommate, it’s important that everyone living together is on board.
For this reason, you should set boundaries when it comes to having guests over. For instance, is there a cut off time when guests should leave? Will you allow overnight guests? If so, are there any rules to be considered there? What happens when a roommate and guest don’t get along? These are all considerations that are important when it comes to setting expectations.
4. Cleanliness Rules
Men and women have different ideas of cleanliness, most of the time. For this reason, when living with someone of the opposite gender, there are bound to be arguments about cleanliness.
As with any roommate situation, you and your roommate should discuss cleaning schedules and responsibilities. Whether you decide everyone is responsible for their own spaces, split up shared spaces evenly, or have one individual clean one week and the other clean the next week, it’s important to talk about who is cleaning what and how often it should happen.
5. Develop Communication Channels
Communication is key when living with anyone, but especially when living with a roommate of the opposite gender. When two women live together, for example, there are certain things that will just come naturally in terms of communication that wouldn’t otherwise.
Sometimes, you’ll have to work a little harder to communicate with one another. It’s natural and should be taken seriously. Set the groundwork at the beginning in talking about things in an open and honest manner. The more upfront you are about the way you feel, the more likely they are to follow suit, which will make things much easier in the long run.
6. Set Up Boundaries
Last, but certainly not least, you should always be setting boundaries with roommates, but especially when living with a roommate of the opposite gender. For instance, is walking around in a towel a no-no? Are you okay with having company over unannounced?
Are there any regulations on using another roommate’s belongings? Do you always need to knock before entering another roommate’s bedroom or bathroom? Some of these may feel like common-sense rules, but sometimes, they aren’t. It’s important that you always set out any boundaries you want honored at the beginning, and you can always revise them as you move forward. But without setting expectations, things can go downhill rather quickly.
Again, living with an individual that’s of the opposite gender can be fun and exciting, but also difficult and rather challenging. Rather than sitting back and allowing things to progress as they will, it’s important to follow the above, six steps.
Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as moving in together and hoping for the best, and that goes for any roommate situation. So, don’t leave anything up to chance and make sure that all rules are squared away, communication is on point, and boundaries are set in stone before agreeing to live with them.
By Elise Nelson
Navigating life with a roommate, whether you’re living in a house, an apartment, or a dorm, can be stressful enough as it is. You may spend a lot of time reading up on roommate etiquette and coming up with detailed roommate agreements. Living together in harmony means working out bills, chores, conflicts, personal space, and more. On top of that, there’s now one more challenge thrown into the roommate mix: COVID. It’s a scary thought, but it’s important to think about what to do if you or your roommate test positive for COVID.
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
Remain calm and create a safe plan together.
Your roommate just got the test results back: they are COVID-19 positive. A few immediate questions may cross your mind: “Does this mean I have COVID too? Will I have to quarantine? Should I stay somewhere else for a while?” First things first: make sure your roommate is alright. Try to remain calm and avoid making any decisions. You and your roommate will be quarantined, so take some time to make sure you both have everything you need. Ordering groceries or takeout for contactless delivery is going to be your best bet, so make sure you’re set to use services like Instacart or Uber Eats.
Your first instinct may be to head home to your parents’ house, but this isn’t always the safest choice. Remember that the goal is to keep contact with others as minimal as possible, so it’s best to just stay put.
Get yourself tested as soon as possible.
Many schools have developed their own guidelines for what you should do if your roommate tests positive, so check your college or university’s website or contact the campus health department for specific procedures. Generally, the CDC considers roommates to be close contacts, so you should make an appointment to get tested for COVID as soon as possible – even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Some schools, such as the University of North Georgia, offer COVID testing at their Student Health Services locations. Otherwise, you can schedule an appointment with your health care provider, your local urgent care center, or CVS’s Minute Clinic.
Quarantine immediately. Self-isolate, if possible.
Even if you don’t feel sick, it’s important for you to quarantine after discovering that your roommate is COVID-19 positive. According to the CDC’s definition, close contacts of COVID patients should stay home for 14 days. Monitor yourself for any symptoms and check your temperature frequently. Your local health department may have specific qualifications to shorten your quarantine period.
Your sick roommate should self-isolate (stay away from others in the home) until at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or until symptoms improve. Of course, this isn’t always possible if you’re living in a dorm room. Check with your school to see if there are any temporary housing solutions available for sick students and close contacts. Penn State’s Eastview Terrace, for example, has been used as a quarantine and isolation space.
Avoid contact in shared spaces.
You should try to remain as isolated as possible, but it’s only logical that you’ll need to enter a common space every so often, like the bathroom or kitchen. Avoid being in these locations at the same time as your roommate. Disinfect thoroughly when you’re finished with the common space. The CDC also recommends wearing a mask when you do need to be in shared spaces.
In the same vein, avoid sharing any objects, like kitchenware. It may be best to include some disposable plates, napkins, utensils, and cups with your grocery order, and you should each have your own food items. Again, keep things as separate as possible and disinfect when you can.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Sanitize and disinfect a little extra.
No matter what degree of cleanliness you normally maintain in your home, it’s important to step up the sanitization efforts. Retrace your steps and thoroughly disinfect any surfaces and objects that you come in contact with, especially if they’re shared with your roommate. You’ll want to kill any germs as quickly as possible – even if you think you might be healthy. Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing are a must during quarantine. If possible, try to do some extra loads of laundry to take care of any worn clothing and your bedsheets.
Remember to support each other.
Above all else, you and your roommate should support each other. Getting COVID is a very stressful situation and the extra support is important when contact with anyone outside your residence is limited. If only your roommate is sick, you can care for them while still maintaining a safe distance, and vice versa. Try leaving any medications and food at their door, and make sure they are staying hydrated. You can also virtually keep each other entertained by texting, video chatting, playing online games, or using Teleparty to watch shows.
Remember that you and your roommate are in this together, and you will get through COVID together.
You don’t need to be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can still enjoy the holiday and celebrate the idea of love and the love you have for other people with your roommates.
Long gone are the days of being sad that you’re single on Valentine’s Day. It’s time to look at love in another light and celebrate this candy-filled holiday with the people you love to live with.
These are nine epic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates to ensure your holiday doesn’t go to waste.
1. Celebrate with Chocolate
What is the number one thing associated with celebrating Valentine’s Day? Chocolate!
Don’t wait for someone else to buy you some chocolate and do it yourself so you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates by indulging in a variety of chocolates. If you really want to go all out, get a chocolate fondue fountain and experiment with dipping different foods under it.
You’ll be sure to have a sugar high after satisfying your sweet tooth.
2. RomCom Marathon
Who doesn’t love watching a cheesy romantic comedy to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Heat up some popcorn, buy some junk food, and indulge in a box of chocolates at you and your roommates enjoy some of the greatest rom-com movies of all time according to Rolling Stone.
3. Spa Day/Night
You deserve to pamper yourself to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Whether you decide to book the day at a spa or do it at home, you and your roommates will feel relaxed and tranquil as you soak in healthy nutrients that make your skin glow and paint beautiful colors on your nails.
Don’t forget to light some candles and put on some relaxing music to really get in a calming mood.
4. Do a Craft
If you and your roommates and the DIY type, then doing a craft is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Browse Pinterest for some inspiration and ideas and choose which craft you’d like to do together then take a group trip to a craft store and get your supplies.
You can even all work on a craft that will serve as a decoration in your apartment such as a wreath, bar cart, or collage with photos.
5. Wine Tasting
What makes chocolate even better? Wine!
If you and your roommates have a special appreciation for different types of wines and the flavors that each bottle holds, a wine tasting is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day together. You can either go to a winery and have a professional wine tasting or have one at home.
If you decide to have one at home, have each roommate buy a bottle of wine and research what foods pair well with it (chocolate preferred.) Then enjoy your wine tasting and experience the play on flavors between the food and the wine.
6. Have a Tea Party
Are you obsessed with Bridgerton lately and want to host a traditional English tea party? Valentine’s Day is a great way to do it.
Get dressed up in your finest and most posh attire and sip on tea while enjoying light finger sandwiches and gossip about celebrities and high society. It’s a fun way to tap into your childhood and posh alter egos.
7. Volunteer for the Day
Spread the love on Valentine’s Day and volunteer in your community to give back. Whether you work at a food drive, volunteer at the library, or serve food at a community kitchen, you’ll surely feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing you’ve helped people who need it most.
8. Painting with a Twist
Pour yourself a glass of wine and paint a beautiful canvas with the help of an instructor with Painting with a Twist. While you can go to a studio and do it with other people, the company also offers virtual events so you can do it right in your home! Who’s thinking pajamas, wine, and painting right now?
9. Photoshoot Night
Is it time to give your Instagram profile an upgrade with some creative and unique photos? Pick a few of your favorite outfits, do your makeup, style your hair, and set up your apartment like a photoshoot studio and spend the night taking photos with your roommates.
Pro tip: Prop up your phone somewhere and use the self-timer to get cute photos of all of you together!
How Will You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Now that you have nine awesome ideas of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your roommates, how will you decide to do it?
Will you indulge in chocolate and wine or sit in front of the TV rewatching your favorite romantic comedies? Maybe you’ll get in touch with your creative side and do a craft or participate in Painting with a Twist.
No matter what you do, always appreciate the ones you love and those who love you back!
Even if you spend days or weeks searching for the perfect roommate and you are convinced that you found the one, things may not be so perfect once you actually start living together. Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, your space will likely be on the smaller side, and living in tight quarters with others can prove to be a challenge. If you and your roommates end up not being as compatible as it seemed you would be, there are things you can do to ensure that you all make it to the end of the semester without going completely crazy.
Communication is key
While it may be tempting to give your roommates the silent treatment if you end up not liking them, it is best to communicate, especially when issues arise. If you live with other roommates, do not talk about the roommate you do not like behind their back as this could cause further issues. When you talk to the person, be direct yet respectful. Ask your roommate(s) if there is anything you can do to help make the living situation better on your end. Listening is just as important, if not more so, than talking in order to help communication stay open.
As soon as you sense that things are getting a bit tense, arrange a time where you can have a conversation with your roommate. Consider meeting at a restaurant or coffeehouse. Be honest about how you have been feeling without pointing fingers. It is possible that your roommate might be dealing with stress and does not realize how they have been acting. However, if they are acting how they are because they genuinely do not like you, make a plan for how to move forward.
Other tips to help communication improve is to avoid hiding behind a computer or cell phone to have the conversation and to avoid being passive-aggressive when discussing your concerns. Also, initially, keep the conversation one-on-one. If things are not improving or get worse, you may opt to bring a neutral person in, but only do this if things do not get better.
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Avoid political conversations
Many incompatibility issues may stem from differences in political opinions. It is important to meet people with different views in order to learn, these differences become difficult if your roommate is unable to agree to disagree on issues or becomes demeaning of your views. If you do find yourself having an argument about politics with your roommate, do not take their opinions personally. Try your best to stay calm, avoid cursing, and find things that you can agree on. Ideally, you should try to avoid political conversations if you know they will cause major disagreements and fights.
Set boundaries and enforce them
Boundaries are always important, but they are especially crucial if you end up disliking your roommate. Creating a roommate agreement with rules to follow, such as guidelines for having people over and personal space, is a great way to enforce boundaries. The agreement can be amended if new issues arise, but the guidelines should be followed for the most part. Create set times for studying and figure out how you are splitting room and utility costs. Make a chart that maps out who is responsible for what chores and when they need to get done. Set up consequences for times when these guidelines are not upheld by you or your roommate.
One boundary that you may want to enforce is borrowing each other’s stuff and eating each other’s food. If these have been one of the causes of the problems, you may want to enforce rules such as not borrowing things, especially without asking, and not eating the other person’s food. Reducing the issues you have to deal with can make living with a difficult roommate that much easier. Include these rules in your roommate agreement so that you have them in writing in case you need to reference them later.
Once you set boundaries, make sure you are actually abiding by them. If you yourself are not living up to your rules and boundaries, you should not expect your roommate to. Do to others as you would want to be done to you, as the golden rule states, and it is very true in the case of dealing with a difficult roommate. Even if your roommate refuses to follow the rules and boundaries, you can rest assured that you are holding up your end of the deal.
You may not like your roommate, but you are stuck with them for the time being. Things will be much easier for both of you if you agree to respect each other, even if you are not the biggest fans of each other. Remember that you will not be roommates forever, so hang in there and try your best to not be a terrible person. Say hi, keep them updated on friends coming over, and do your share of the chores. This will help you survive until you can move out and find a new place and new roommates. Resist the urge to just give up and not care about your side of the rent and the chores, as this will shine a bad light on you. Keep your space clean, especially if you know that your roommate needs cleanliness.
Get another party involved
Sometimes, getting a neutral party involved can be useful in figuring out how to move forward. It may be your landlord or Resident Assistant, or even a campus counselor. Getting an unbiased opinion can help you and your roommate manage the situation of not getting along, or they may be able to help you figure out how to get out. If you have a roommate agreement, share it with whoever your unbiased person is so they can keep you accountable and step in when issues arise. Try to avoid asking family members or friends to be the third party as they may be biased toward whoever they are related to or are closest to.
That said, you should be careful of who you bring in and when. See if there are ways that you can help smooth the situation over on your own. Also, be sure that the person you bring in is neutral and does not favor one of you over the other. Be cautious of who you tell even before bringing someone else in, and take any advice from family and friends with a grain of salt. Close friends and relatives are likely going to see you in a positive light and point fingers at your roommate. This may seem comforting in the moment, but if there is something you need to do differently in order to make things better, you need to hear that side.
Image: Priscilla Du Preez via https://unsplash.com/photos/LxEsi17Au6U
Be willing to compromise
Being in a disagreement where you and your roommate are polar opposites and things seem impossible to resolve can be tough. However, if you show that you are willing to compromise and meet somewhere in the middle, it is likely that your roommate will follow suit. While it may not be the most ideal situation, meeting in the middle allows you and your roommate to each get a bit of what you want while helping to end the disagreement. Showing that you are willing to work together to solve the problem can help the situation be better.
When you talk to your roommate, you may discover that they are having trouble keeping their space clean or keeping on top of their chores because of mental health issues or life problems in general. While you may not want to take on extra work, offer to help them when they do their chores and try to be understanding. It is likely that your campus has mental health resources that you can refer them to so they can get the help they need. Being willing to compromise may mean taking on some extra chores to help them through their tough time, but set a time limit so they do not keep taking advantage of this offer.
Dealing with roommate issues is stressful, but it is better to handle the problems when you are level-headed. If your roommate does something and you get angry, walk away, and take some time to calm down. Confronting your roommate while you are still angry can cause you to say things that you may regret and can cause issues down the line. Being calm will help you explain yourself in a way that makes sense and does not necessarily point fingers at your roommate. If you feel yourself getting upset when talking to your roommate, take a few deep breaths and try your best to keep your cool.
Do not wait for things to worsen
You may not feel like the issues you are facing are bad enough to address them with your roommate, but things will only get worse as you continue putting them off. If you wait too long, you or your roommate are likely to explode in anger and frustration. As soon as issues arise, make a point to address them. It may be tempting to ignore the problem, especially if you and your roommate are both busy, but it is much better to address issues as they arise so things can get resolved. That way, you are less likely to have feelings of dread when interacting with your roommate.
Be willing to change
While it may be tempting and easy to point fingers at your roommate as being the problem, but if your roommate brings something up that has been bothering them about how you have acted, you need to be willing to change to help make things better. It can be difficult to see faults in yourself, but nobody is perfect. Being willing to change your thoughts and habits can help ease any tension that exists between you and your roommate. Also, do not expect your roommate to think and behave the same way you do. Everyone is different, and one of the points of college is to learn about ways of thinking that are different from yours. Keep your differences in mind as you are navigating any issues that may arise so that you can know how your roommate may respond and what your roommate is willing to do. Keeping an open mind is a crucial skill in many areas of life, and this is one way to practice it.
Spend time with others
You may be tempted to spend all of your time outside of class with your roommate, but if you are having issues getting along, it is important that you give each other space. Find some new friends to spend time with, and do activities that do not require being in your apartment with your roommate. Explore the city or town you live in and see things you have not been to yet. Try new restaurants and shop at local stores. Go to campus events and join a student organization. Getting out of your apartment and branching out to meet new people can give you new perspectives and help you navigate any issues that may arise with your roommate.
Hang in there
It may seem like time is moving super slowly, but remember that this situation will not last forever. Try to make the most of the situation by having a sense of humor. If things are truly bad, see if there is a way you can move out or get a different roommate. Remember that college is about learning, and part of that is learning about new people. Having a roommate is a unique experience, so make note of any lessons you learn through the struggle you face. Also, remember that tough times help make you stronger. It is frustrating when you are going through it, but once you get through it, you will be able to look back and be proud of all you have been through.
Dealing with an incompatible roommate may seem impossible to survive, but the situation will not last forever. You will get through it and you will be proud of how strong you are when you reflect on the situation.
Whether you are rooming with your best friend or a complete stranger, living with roommates is far from a breeze. Some type of conflict is bound to occur when you are living with roommates, from small arguments over whose turn it is to wash the dishes to larger situations where you can’t stand being in the same space as one another. Some conflicts may be resolved quickly with an apology, but some situations may need something more serious, or permanent, like a roommate moving out.
Unfortunately, you may find yourself facing the choice of evicting a roommate due to a conflict that just won’t be solved. Depending on the situation, eviction may be your only option and you may very well not know how to go about handling evicting a roommate. Keep reading to learn more about navigating evicting a roommate.
Explore your options
When you have any negative feelings toward your roommate, your go-to thought may be just to give them the boot. It may seem like the easiest option — making them go away would mean that all the issues tied to them will automatically go away. However, eviction may not be your best option, especially if you haven’t considered the other options you have for dealing with your roommate issues.
First, assess the conflict between you and your roommate. Try to look at the situation with all personal feelings taken out. Is the root of the situation really just a matter of multiple small arguments that have been left unattended, and have escalated into the situation you are facing now? Try to talk matters out. Sometimes a situation can be fixed with clear and effective communication between roommates that leads to a compromise that works for everyone. In these cases, eviction can be avoided.
These compromises may be a new cleaning schedule, a new schedule for who gets access to parking spaces, amended roommate agreements on your guest policy, and so on.
Unfortunately, not all roommate issues can be solved this easily and eviction can likely be your only available solution.
Check your leases
If you are living together, you most likely all have signed the same lease. While some may have the opportunity to sign individual leases, so that each person is liable for paying their own rent each month and adhering to the policies outlined in the lease, most are equally accountable once the lease is signed. So if your roommate conflict is because one roommate isn’t paying their monthly rent on time, it puts everyone in jeopardy for violating the lease.
Laws vary from state to state — LifeHacker recommends searching the name of your state and “tenant handbook” on Google to get more information about your rights as a renter in your state. When in doubt, go to your property manager or leasing office to learn more about what you can do in terms of your lease.
If you and your roommate are both on the lease, for example, search for joint or several liability on your lease. If you are jointly liable, you are responsible for paying the full rent regardless of who is paying or how they are paying. You may be paying your rent on time, but your roommate isn’t…and you are still responsible for that unpaid portion. If you’re severally liable, you are liable for your sole portion of the rent. If you are both, you are still responsible for your roommate’s rent but have the legal grounds to sue your roommate for their delinquent rent payment.
If you are co-tenants, you can’t file to evict your roommate, but your landlord can file for eviction. It is important to note that this eviction would appear in public records under both co-tenants’ names, but you can ask your landlord to sign an agreement that releases you from liability if you have been following your lease’s terms. You can file for eviction if you are the master/primary tenant and your roommate is a subtenant. You should have already had your landlord’s permission to sublet to another tenant. Make sure that you are always checking your individual state’s laws to see what rights you have.
Document the conflict
The age-old saying of “Pics or it didn’t happen” can definitely apply in the case of roommate conflicts. Sometimes, it may be a matter of your word against theirs when in an argument, or, when things escalate into a lawsuit. To protect yourself, document the ongoing conflict between you and your roommate.
This does not mean you should install hidden cameras around your apartment to track everything they do, but make sure you are keeping track of the reasons you are evicting your roommate. Are they destructive to the property? Take pictures of the damage they are doing or have done — broken fixtures, messy areas, damaged personal property. These can help you in the event that you need to provide proof for eviction.
If things are getting particularly nasty, such as exchanged threats, be sure to record/screenshot any threats your roommate may be making via text or social media.
Roommate conflicts are never easy, especially if your only solution is likely eviction. With this information in mind, navigating the process of evicting your roommate may be easier.
With the start of the new semester fast approaching, there are bound to be a few new changes that await you in this new year. One of them might be that you’re getting a new roommate, which could happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe you and your previous roommate didn’t get along very well and mutually agreed to switch. Perhaps you’re going back to campus, but your former roommate has opted to stay at home for the new semester, which leaves a spot open in your dorm. Whatever the case may be, adjusting to a new roommate mid-year might not always be the easiest thing to do — but there are a few ways you can get used to this new roommate and handle the situation well.
Be open and welcoming.
When you’re first getting to know your new roommate, it’s important that you maintain an open and welcoming attitude toward them. Whether you’re moving into someone else’s dorm or they are moving into yours, the principle of openness remains the same. From your first meeting with your new roommate, you’ll probably be able to gauge what kind of person they are and how interested they are in getting to know you better. From there, you can work toward forming a sort of relationship with them. Of course, this process will work most smoothly if you show with your body language and behavior that you’re very open to getting to know them. So don’t hide yourself away or let yourself become isolated; be as approachable and friendly as possible so that they feel comfortable talking to you.
Try to become friends.
Once you and your roommate have established some sort of relationship with each other, you can work toward becoming friends. Perhaps it may be a bit disorienting to try to make another new friend in the middle of the school year, especially if you already have an established group of friends, but chances are that it’s not as hard as you think. You two will likely spend a decent amount of time together, so you’ll have plenty of natural opportunities to get to know each other better, talk more, and potentially make plans to hang out.
Of course, if you’re trying your best to become friends with your roommate but it’s not really working out, you don’t have to push it. You’re not meant to become friends with everyone you meet, so it’s not a big deal. As long as you and your roommate are able to maintain a decently civil relationship while you’re living together, that’s the most important thing.
As with any roommate relationship, it’s important that you both set boundaries and expectations. Discuss with your roommate what you are comfortable sharing, what chores and responsibilities you each want to have, and anything else that needs to be established in order for your roommate relationship to function well. It may also be helpful to know if either of you is comfortable with having friends over (including how many and at what times of day or night), what time you both wake up and go to sleep, what your class schedules are, and whether you prefer to study and do work in the room or elsewhere, such as the library. Knowing these things can only help your relationship with your roommate, as you will both have clear boundaries and know what to expect from each other.
Plan time to hang out with each other.
If you and your roommate happen to hit it off, you may want to plan some time to hang out with each other. Intentionally spending time together can help you both adjust to being roommates with one another. The time hanging out will give you the chance to become better friends in a natural setting and do fun things together. It also can be helpful to find some common interests that the two of you share. Perhaps you both love watching the same TV show, or you have similar hobbies like playing badminton. You can use these common interests to find something fun and entertaining for both of you to do.
Have a form of conflict resolution.
Even if you and your roommate get along fairly well, there is still the possibility that you two could end up having a conflict of some sort, which means it’s necessary to have a form of conflict resolution in place. You and your roommate should have a smart, level-headed discussion about the issue so that nobody blows anything out of proportion and so you can come to a reasonable solution.
Adjusting to having a new roommate, even in the middle of the year, doesn’t have to be overly complicated or stressful. Make sure that you maintain a friendly, open posture and work on developing a good relationship with your roommate!