This topic is one I have far too much experience with. I’ve had over 6 roommates and 4 suite-mates throughout my undergraduate career and the experience was nothing short of ridiculous. The most notable moments were during freshman year when one roommate puked on my bed and drunkenly tried to eat our other roommates’ goldfish. Sophomore year was memorable too because my roommate accused me of turning off her alarm clock so she would miss class and then had her friend talk shit about me on Twitter (real mature). Junior year, one of our suite-mates was butt naked in the bathroom and my roommate walked in. The girl didn’t try to cover herself and started a conversation with my roommate like it was no big deal. This would’t have been too weird if it weren’t for the fact that 90 percent of the time our suite-mate wouldn’t talk to us because she acted shy.
At first I thought I just happened to have the worst luck. But, it’s not just me. One of my best friends had to drive her pregnant roommate to get an abortion and then two weeks later opened the door to a naked guy her roommate was having a foursome with. Though the naked guy was being responsible and asking for a condom, the entire situation was still unbelievable and made my friend look into other housing options.
Luckily I was able to grin and bear it through most of the crazy situations with my roommates/suite-mates. Unless you’re going to college with a friend that you’ve already lived with, you’re likely to run into problems. Here are some tips to defusing a tension-filled situation with a roommate.
- Consult someone else. Before you go apeshit on your roommate, talk to someone else about your situation. You might be acting unreasonable and speaking with a friend or even a parent can give you insight into whether the situation is a real problem.
- Talk it out. When your roommate(s) do something that bothers you, try to talk to them and explain what the issue is. This could go two ways: they could be understanding and stop doing whatever it is that bothers you…or they could get pissed off and start giving you attitude/keep doing whatever annoys you off. For example, your roommate might keep bringing guys over and kick you out of the room so she can have sex. In this situation you should sit down and tell her how uncomfortable and unreasonable her actions are. She’s entitled to alone time in the room but you shouldn’t constantly be asked to leave your room.
- Walk away. If your roommate is doing something that bothers you, like playing music while you’re trying to study, then try leaving. It sucks that you can’t enjoy time in your room, but I’ve found that walking away is the easiest and least confrontational method to dealing with shitty roommates. I usually go to the library or out to eat. It gives me time to cool off and relax.
- Get a mediator. If talking to your roommate one-on-one doesn’t work out, ask a resident advisor to step in and mediate. RA’s are there to make sure your living situation is physically and mentally healthy. They’re good at viewing a tense situation objectively and can find a solution that’s best for everyone involved. For example, if your roommates/suite-mates like to watch TV at night but you like to study, the RA might propose using the common living space as a quiet area for at night while your roommates/suite-mates watch TV in their rooms.
- Move out. If any of these above suggestions don’t solve the problem(s) then start looking for other housing options. If you need to move out immediately, some schools have open rooms that you can transfer into during the semester. If the move can wait, then tell your roommate you’ll be looking for another living situation next semester and start searching for a new roommate/apply for single housing. Don’t be afraid to
Whether you’re returning to a tense living situation next semester or it’s your first time going to live at school, keep these tips in mind and good luck!
Have you ever had to deal with a shitty roommate? What did you do to diffuse a tense situation?
*Feature photo originally posted on Instagram by @theshlocker