Whether you’ve decided to take classes over the summer or you’ve just scored your dream internship, you may be swapping out your room at school for an apartment this summer. Wherever you’ll be living, your roommates can often make the difference between an awesome summer and one you wish you could forget.
But what if your roommate situation is less than ideal? Subletters, randos, even rooming with your best girlfriends can cause drama over what you hoped would be a relaxing summer break. In case you find yourself in an awkward situation in the upcoming warm months, Her Campus has got you covered on how to deal with our situation-by-situation guide.
Problem: You and your roommate were getting along well, but now she only wants to hang out with you and isn’t making an effort to branch out.
“I had a lot of fun with her in the beginning, but she wanted to do everything that I did. Every time I left our place she would come with me, and she even made her class schedule similar to mine so we’d have the same breaks,” said an Ohio University student about her former roommate.
Solution: Although you’re probably getting flashbacks of Leighton Meester in The Roommate, try to think of how she’s feeling before you flip out on her.
Alyse Lamparyk, an Ohio University RA, suggests sensitivity first. “If she becomes overly clingy, that's when you might need to be more obvious and tell her, in a nice way, that you already see a lot of her because the two of you live together, so sometimes you just need your space.”
Problem:You’re taking a full class schedule, and your roommates are acting like they’re on an episode of “The Jersey Shore.” They’re disappointed that you don’t want to go out with them.
Solution: “It can be difficult to coordinate plans due to busy schedules, but there will be another opportunity,” said Alyse.
Tell your roommates you want to be able to come out, but that you just need to know ahead of time so you can prepare for it in your schedule. Leave certain nights free to party with them, so you can be a part of the group while also letting off some much needed steam.
Problem:You’re in a summer program, and your random pairing is making you wish you asked for a single room instead.
“She was extremely sloppy, disappeared for days on end without telling me, spoke extremely loudly, and burst into the room at odd hours of the night,” said one Harvard sophomore about her disastrous roommate.
Solution: “Bring up your concerns with her, but not in an accusatory way, because then it might turn into a 'war' of all the habits you dislike about each other,” Alyse said.
Let your roommate know that the way she’s acting is not okay, and you both need to work out an arrangement where everyone’s needs are met. If the discussion gets too heated, bring in a resident advisor to act as a third party.
Problem: You’re abroad or away from home for the summer, and your roommate’s homesick behavior is bringing everyone down.
Gina Mussio, junior at Ohio University, experienced this with one roommate during her summer in Italy: “About halfway through our study abroad experience she completely lost it. She realized she was out of money and cried just about every day. She often stole our food and never, ever cleaned up after herself.”
Solution: Being so far away from home can be tough, especially when you’re used to relaxing summers spent with loved ones. But don’t let someone else’s poor attitude ruin your entire experience. Sit down with your roommate one on one (so she doesn’t feel attacked by multiple people) and explain why her behavior is ruining everyone’s experience. Ask what you can do to help make her time better, but let her know that she needs to stop acting out. As a last resort, be prepared to contact the study abroad program asking for her to be removed from your accommodations.
Problem: Your roommate’s boyfriend has basically moved in with you.
“One of my roommates started dating her boyfriend and then he practically lived at our place 24/7...he left his trash, clothes and other stuff just lying around,” said Meredith Schlabig, a junior at Dayton University.
Solution: “She might be feeling as if they are meant to be and wants to spend every minute of every day with him, possibly making her sensitive to your comments. Be prepared for some backlash and possible references to instances when you had a guy stay the night,” Alyse said.
She suggests staying calm and expressing what is bothering you and why. Talk about what is and is not acceptable behavior for him while he’s in the apartment. To be fair, include times that your place will stay a guy-free zone for everyone.
Problem: Your roommates are taking advantage of your handling the bills each month. “I would let them know about bills due a week or so in advance, and they would pay whenever it was convenient for them,” said Ashley Baughman, sophomore at The Ohio State University. “Obviously, this wasn't really fair for me since it was coming from my checking account, and I was paying for every bill out of my wallet ahead of time.”
Solution: If you’re friends with your roommates, it can be easy for them to say they’ll pay you back later, and then you never get reimbursed. First, make your roommates aware that you are keeping track of the money paid and that they owe you. Next, explain to them that if things don’t change, you’ll be contacting your landlord and having him receive payments from your roommates directly so you avoid being the middleman.
Problem: You and your roommate started off great, but now things aren’t going so well and she’s acting distant.
“We seemed like we were going to be BFFs until she completely shut me out and wouldn’t even talk to me when I walked in the room and said hello,” said Meredith.
Solution: Although it can be awkward, Alyse recommends getting everything out in the open. Reach out to her when you know she’s not busy and ask if you’ve done anything to upset her, or what else might be bothering her. Try not to be too intrusive, because she might get defensive and accuse you of prying. Instead, let her know that you want to maintain a friendly relationship above all.
Problem: Your roommates are starting to use everything you spent your hard earned cash on for themselves, and it’s getting excessive.
Bryanne Sagers, a sophomore at Ohio University said, “My roommates always use my bathroom products, like my shampoo, shaving cream, and facewash, until they’re empty, and never offer to pay me back.”
Solution: Girls can be notorious for overusing beauty products and not realizing it. Take your products out of the bathroom and into your bedroom, somewhere you know your roommates will have to ask you to find. Then, when they ask where something is, use that opportunity to explain to them you feel like everyone is abusing your generosity, and you were worried the product might run out before you got your money’s worth out of it. Your roommates will get the hint and back off, or offer you money to keep using your favorite brand of shampoo.
Alyse Lamparyk, Ohio University RA
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