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Best Ways to Tell Your Roommate You’re Leaving Them

Disclaimer: If you’re in a position where you don’t feel safe or are undergoing emotional or physical abuse, be sure to contact your dormitory manager, resident assistant or campus police. 

Most college students that have made the decision to live on campus have been in their dorms for a little over two months starting their 2021 academic year. Within this time, some of us have found our maid of honours and godparents among our roommates, while for some it is nothing out of a fairytale. 

Reasons for leaving a roommate can be that they’re just loud, messy or overall disrespectful. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be something awful. Maybe you’re looking for a roommate who matches your ecstatic energy or likes to fall asleep at 9 p.m. on the dot. Whatever the reason is that you want to leave, just applaud yourself. You made a positive first step in being aware of your needs.  

Let’s face it. A handful of us don’t end up with the best roommate, especially as first year students. And if that isn’t enough affliction in itself, then the process of deciding to move out is even more stressful. Your dorm should be a sanctuary where you feel safe and comfortable. It should be your home away from home. 

Below are five important things to consider when having a conversation with your roommate:

  1. Choose the right time: Choose to have the conversation where neither of you have a class in an hour or right when your roommate wakes up. After living with them for however long, you should have picked up a bit on their schedule. Find a time where neither of you are stressed with school work. 
  1. Choose the right place: Your safety should be number one priority. Choose a location where you and your roommate feel comfortable to express your feelings. The reason you’re even considering this is because you’re looking for the right place to room! Being in the right environment can provide a healthy ambience for a healthy conversation.   
  1. Avoid passive and aggressive language: Have open body language, and stay calm. This will show you’re prepared. Using aggressive language will turn the conversation into a situation. The news you are delivering can be considered “bad” so the last thing you want is to create that yourself. 
  1. Be direct: Being direct leaves no room for misunderstanding. This can possibly create a bond between your roommate. Although your living situation didn’t work out, this doesn’t mean you cannot be civil. You don’t need to burn a bridge that doesn’t need to be burned. Being direct clarifies where you are coming from. 
  1. Be open to listen: This shows you’re being mindful of what they are thinking. You can’t control how your roommate reacts. Although it might be way easier to speak your peace and leave without any acknowledgement, this just isn’t realistic. This isn’t an epic mic drop moment. Being open to listen to what they have to say can ease even more tension and clear up any preconceived notions you had about the circumstance.    

Telling your roommate that you’re leaving them can be awkward, yes, but it is an opportunity that you can take out of your college dorming experience in other areas of your life. You’re not alone in this. If you’re struggling to find the right words to say and go about those five steps, talk to someone who you trust for guidance. You are practicing and setting boundaries so that you can be your best self.

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Brianna DeJesus

Montclair '24

Brianna DeJesus is a sophomore at Montclair State University, majoring in Fashion Studies. She is a Contributing Writer and Social Media Correspondent. Driven by faith, hope, and love. When she’s not learning or writing about fashion, she is spending time making collages.
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