If you have a bad roommate experience, you’re not the first or the last. Plenty of other collegiettes™ have been in the same boat. Last semester I lived in a quad on West Campus with three girls whom I didn’t know. It was an awkward situation because I was the odd girl out with this group of friends. We had different lifestyles (read: they went out every night and didn’t come back until 3 or 4 in the morning). The breaking point came just before classes started when I woke up to my roommates and their friends recounting the events of the night before. It was a really inappropriate conversation for me to overhear and it became downright weird when they started naming some of my best guy friends as their (for lack of a more appropriate word) buddies from the night before (I haven’t been able to look one of my friends in the eye since). After escaping my room I decided to ask for a room transfer from the Housing Office. By the next week I was moving into my new single, free of awkward “this is what I did last night” stories.
Roommate issues are more common than you might think. Here are some strategies for dealing with difficult living companions:
Stay Calm and Talk It Out
If you and your roommate find yourselves arguing, it’s really helpful if you realize that no matter what the issue is, there is a middle ground that can be reached. Yelling at each other won’t solve anything and will only make the problem worse. Lauren ’13 says, “I would suggest sitting down and talking everything out.” A big part of it is treating the other person with respect (insert Aretha Franklin chorus here), since the Golden Rule definitely applies here.
Give Yourself Some Space
If you feel like a storm’s brewing between you and your roomie, give yourself some time to think about the situation before acting rashly. Mandy ’13 had some problems with her roommate but chose to spend time jogging instead of sitting around in their apartment. “I’d go for runs as soon as I got home,” she says, adding that it was a great way to give her some space from her roomie and give her clarity of mind so “there was no way I would argue or fight with her.” Being active and keeping a little distance between the two of you is a great way to reduce the possibility of drama and conflict. Plus if you do what Mandy did you’ll be in great shape by the end of the semester.
Above: Roommates often have different ideas of fun…
Deal or No Deal: Roommate Edition
Try to figure out concessions both of you can make to make living with each other as stress-free as possible. If you like classical music but your roommate would rather blast heavy metal, you can both agree to wear headphones while listening to music. If your roommate likes bringing her boyfriend over but it screws up your study plan, then you can mark out a few days on the calendar to be boy-free. On the other days, you can do something with friends or spend some quality time at the library. It might take a little bit of effort but it’s possible to work things out so that everyone’s happy.
If All Else Fails: Move Out
That’s what I did and it worked out for me. All I did was talk with the people in the Housing Office and told them everything that had happened since I moved into the quad. They were very nice about it and talked me through the entire process. This won’t always work but you should definitely consider it as an option. It is possible for you to go and talk about your options with the right people. They’ll be able to give you an idea of whether or not a room transfer is right or even possible for you.