How to Avoid Being a Bad Roommate

A Somewhat Serious Article by Ceci Hansen

Having a bad roommate is pretty much a rite of passage. I’ve had one, you’ve had one, and we’ve all definitely been one at some point. Living with another person isn’t easy--whether it’s in college or at home, sharing a space is f***ing hard. My experience with bad roommates had turned me into a pretty petty person, the kind who smiles and ignores the issues until I can hardly be in the same room as the person, but hey, in her eyes I’m probably just as bad of a roommate. So this article is a list of ways on how to NOT be a sucky roommate. Hey, you may end up learning something about yourself and thanking your parents for putting up with you for 18 years. I know I can’t thank mine enough! Here’s a list of 10 things I wish my roommate would do but doesn’t.

  1. 1. Change the Gosh Darn Toilet Paper!

    There are two types of people in the world: The ones who change the toilet paper when the roll is finished and the kind who leave the crusty brown roll on the holder. I still don’t understand how someone could “forget” to change the T.P. when they use the last of it; it’s basic common courtesy people! Cut to me shedding a tear when I reach behind me to grab a sheet only to have to waddle over to the cupboard mid pee to get a fresh roll. Hey, I give my roommate the benefit of the doubt, maybe she doesn’t know how to take the holder out of the wall and put the new roll on, we’re all ignorant about something!

  2. 2. Take the Trash Out, Why Don't Ya!

    Here’s the rule of thumb for basic trash and recycling etiquette: If you have to stack boxes next to the bin, it’s probably time to take it out. I’ve gotten to the point where I take the trash out in front of my roommate when she’s watching T.V. so she sees me struggling with her many empty boxes and maybe deep, deep, DEEP down feels bad for me. (But that would require her to care, so I don’t know how effective that actually is.)

  3. 3. Leave the Apartment Once in a While

    It’s currently a quarter to three PM on Saturday, and my roommate has been on the couch watching “Gossip Girl” since 9:30 in the morning. Yup, a full 6 hours of Chuck Bass, who wouldn’t love that?! Well it gets a little old when all she does all week is hang out in the living room watching T.V. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen her leave the apartment for something other than class or work. I’m a homebody myself, but even I leave the apartment once in a while to get a change of scenery and to give my roommates some space.

  4. 4. Ask. Before. Eating. Someone. Else's. Food.

    All I have to say about this is she’s lucky I wasn’t on my period when she ate my last chocolate bar...

  5. 5. Ask Before Borrowing Someone's Stuff

    I have a theory that my roommate has been using my conditioner--that might I say is not the cheapest--for the last month. I mean for most things I’m cool with you using if you ask first, but  if you touch my hair products we’re gonna have a problem. (I’m totally kidding I’m not this protective of my stuff just freaking ask before you take your roommates sh*t.)

  6. 6. Speak Quietly on the Phone, Especially After 10 PM

    At least once in our lives we will have the joy of sharing a wall with someone. It’s honestly been the greatest experience of my life and a real bonding opportunity for me and my roommate. Especially when it’s 12AM and I can hear her fighting over the phone with her S.O., or when she’s on the phone with her friend in our SHARED bathroom, it’s truly an honor. I’m guilty of talking on the phone late at night, too, but there comes a time of night when it’s best for everyone in the household if you go to the lobby or the hall to finish your conversation. No one wants to hear that.

  7. 7. Don't Blast Your Latest TV Binge at 7 AM

    Oh my gosh our roommate watches a lot of T.V.! Ask any of my parents, Ceci LOVES a good “Friends” binge, but there comes a time when T.V. is no longer entertaining and I hit the magical button called the “power button” (too bad people don’t have one), and I do something else. Ground breaking, right?! Not only do we put up with our roommate watching 4-6 hours of T.V. at once, but once every couple days we wake up to the theme songs of her latest series. So far she’s watched the entirety of “Orange is the New Black,” “Friends,” and is now on season 3 of “Gossip Girl,” and I have to say the best alarm clock is “I’ll Be There For You.”

  8. 8. Lock the F*cking Door, Please

    Sometimes I think people feel as though they are immune to robbery. I personally don’t want a stranger rummaging through my things, let alone taking anything. Your parents teach you to lock the door when you’re alone, or when you’re the last one to leave the house, so lock the door! Especially if everyone else is asleep in the apartment, lock the door on your way out. It’s that easy.

  9. 9. Maybe... Clean the Bathroom Once in a While

    LOL I saw my roommate come home from break and clean our shared bathroom for the first time all quarter. Little does she know I clean it every week, take out the garbage and wash the rugs. I guess she feels like she’s contributed to the household by wiping down the mirror, so I’ll let her have her moment of glory.

  10. 10. Don't Be an Ass :)

    Having an apartment in your twenties is supposed to be fun, but when you have that one roommate of the bunch that is so negative they literally suck the life out of the space, it’s terrible. You are not expected to be best friends with every single roommate you have, but at least say, “hi,” “good morning” or “good night” to the people you live with. A college apartment is your home away from home, so don’t be the one roommate the others feel like they have to tiptoe around. From the words of the great Harold Styles, “Treat people with kindness.” That’s all.

Roommates are tricky. Sharing a space with someone you don’t know well is hard. But don’t be the one roommate that ruins the whole experience for the others. College is hard enough, we don’t need other people’s bullsh*t and petty drama to add on to the list of stressors in our lives. More often than not your roommate is fine, but on the off chance that you have the bad egg roommate, oooooh I feel your pain, (I really, REALLY do). My advice is, if the chemistry’s not working, don’t force it. Your kindness and friendship should be kept for the people who deserve it, not some a**hole you got stuck with for the school year. At the end of the day, the best catharsis (besides staring daggers at the back of their heads) is laughing about how ridiculous some people can be.