Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall

Five Tips for Living With a Difficult Roomie

1) Have Realistic Expectations

It seems like growing up we’re all taught that your college roommate is destined to be your best friend forever, the maid of honor at your wedding, and who you’ll be letting your kids refer to as Aunt or Uncle. While there are certainly people who have had an experience like this with their roommate(s), it is by no means the norm. If you go in with an open mind and understand that your roommate could be your best friend or simply the person you share a room with, you’ll be more likely to have a positive experience rooming with them.

2) Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt

No one is fun to be around all of the time, and you can’t expect your roommate to have the same personality as you or to react to situations in the same way you would. Did they seem rude while you were moving in? Did they try to lay down ground rules early on when you were looking to have a heart-to-heart? Sometimes the best solution is to give them the benefit of the doubt, and not overreact just because you don’t understand their reaction. You would want them to validate your feelings, so it’s important that you validate theirs.

3) Do What You Can to Improve the Situation

If your roommate has been having a difficult week full of exams, trips to the library, and a lack of sleep, do what you can to brighten their day. This could mean tidying up the room when it’s not your turn, buying them a snack that they like, or anything that you might think would make them happy. Who knows? This could encourage your roomie to make it a point to return the favor and foster a much more positive rooming environment. 

4) Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to your RA

If you and your roommate have been having serious issues with anything from arguing to disagreeing on room rules, don’t be afraid to reach out to your RA (resident’s assistant) for some help with conflict resolution. In most cases, they will be happy to help you and want to see you and your roommate have the best experience possible, and they might even be able to help you create a roommate “contract” that you both will be able to agree to and follow. 

5) Know When You’ve Done All You Can

There comes a point where you need to face the facts with your rooming situation. If you’ve done all you can and your roomie has no interest in being friends with you, it’s important to accept that this is okay. You will have plenty of other opportunities to make friends in your dorm, on campus, or in any clubs or organizations you join. If your roommate has gone further than not being your friend and has gone as far as to in any way make you feel unsafe in your room or repeatedly violate the rules you have agreed upon, then the time has come to seriously consider filing for a room change.

Use these tips and your rooming situation is bound to be easier! Happy rooming!