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How to Deal with Problematic Roommates

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

One of the most daunting things about going to college is the prospect of living with someone you’ve never lived with before. More often than not, you will be stuck with a roommate who – for whatever reason – annoys the crap out of you. I know I definitely had a few instances like this. But the trick isn’t trying to ignore what is bugging you. Rather, it’s to talk to them and discuss what you feel needs to change with your living situation. 

I know this can seem scary, but when you’re going to be living with this person for a significant amount of time, trust me when I say that you are not going to want to let that annoyance fester. Here’s a sure-fire way to discuss with your roommate(s) what needs to change:

Identify the Problem

First, make sure that what is bugging you is something that can actually be fixed. If you’re annoyed by your roommate’s personality, that would be an entirely different conversation. However, if you’re annoyed by how your roommate’s social personality causes them to invite a bunch of people over to your apartment at eleven at night, then that issue can be addressed.

Make a Game Plan

The biggest mistake you can make is going in blind and at an inopportune time. Make sure you know what you want to discuss. Don’t go into the conversation having to think about how, why, and you want to discuss with them. Make sure you have a valid reason as to why these things are annoying or causing problems for you. In addition, don’t bombard them with your concerns the second they walk through the door. A good way to avoid this is to just ask something like, “Are you available sometime this weekend to have a roommate meeting? I want to talk about some things with you.” 

Addressing the Problem

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to come off as being aggressive. Instead of saying, “I need you to stop doing this,” say instead something like, “I’m not sure if you’re aware but you tend to do this. I would like to ask if you could try to stop doing that as it makes me feel XYZ.” This way, you’re explaining clearly what the problem is and why it’s bothering you. 


Make sure you are listening to their concerns as well. You don’t want to be telling them what you want but completely ignore what they want. They are also more likely to do what you ask if you are willing to address their concerns as well.

When you have a roommate, it’s all about communication and compromise. Tension can be felt both ways. Talk to them! No one wants to live in a tense environment. Communicating with them will help to alleviate the tension which makes for a much more comfortable environment. And remember that their concerns matter just as much as yours.

Marin White

Northern Arizona '22

Marin White is an honors student studying English at Northern Arizona University. She has written many fiction and non-fiction pieces and is currently working on her poetry skills. Marin is currently in the process of writing her first novel that she has yet to title. She currently lives in Flagstaff while attending university. When she’s not in class, she spends her time writing or watching Netflix.
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