ASK ANDI: I'm Not Getting Along With My Roommate

Hi Andi,

My roommate and I were really good friends at first. We met before school started and even picked each other. Now that we live with each other, I can barely tolerate her. Almost everything we talked about before (like rules and pet peeves) she has gone back on. Her stuff is always on my side of the room and when her boyfriend is over, she has our mutual friend "take me out" so they can fornicate. I wouldn't have a problem with it if she told me straight to my face. What should I do?

Need Some Room

Dear Need Some Room,

You were lucky to have known your roommate beforehand to avoid the awkward phase in the beginning—however, obviously nothing works out perfectly. You both had the right idea to talk about your living situation and set some ground rules in the beginning. It’s now clear that your agreements didn’t last long, but the good thing is that this sounds like an easy problem to fix.

The first thing you need to remember is that not everyone is always aware of things they may do that are annoying or wrong. Even if you’re convinced that she aware she has gone back on her end of the deal, nothing will surely change if you don’t say anything to her. Waiting will prove to be a double whammy—she’ll probably keep up with how she’s acting and you’ll only build up resentment for her, meanwhile being completely miserable. So what you need to do is address the issue. Deciding how you wish to address it is your next step.

If you wish to talk to her directly, ask her when she’s available to talk. When you talk let her know that you want to bring the way you feel to her attention because it is only fair to both of you. Remind her about the things that you thought the two of you had previously agreed upon. Avoid being accusatory. You girls are friends and you don’t want to create tension or ruin a friendship. Moreover, recognize that maybe you have been doing things that she doesn’t like—acknowledge this and ask her to bring up any issues she might have too.

As for her having you removed from the room so she can be intimate with her boyfriend, tell her you know that she is sending you off for this reason. It may be awkward but addressing this will let her know that you respect her but she needs to be able to trust you enough to be honest with you. Let her know you feel disrespected for her to try and be sneaky, and that she can just be upfront. Tell her you respect her relationship and privacy, but that you feel like you are being kicked out. Suggest that she have him over when she knows you will already be gone, for example if you’re in class; this ensures you aren’t constantly inconvenienced to have to leave the room. Also try suggesting that she and her boyfriend alternate between their rooms—you shouldn’t be bearing the brunt of the inconvenience for both yourself and his roommate.

If you do not think this will go over well your RA is here to help with situations like this. You can schedule a meeting with your RA and she/he can assist you in many ways from providing talking points and advice to approach on how your roommate, to helping you both meet and write a roommate contract, to mediating a meeting with the two of you, to just listening to you vent and being there to understand.
Whichever way you chose to go about the situation, the most important thing is that you address it. The sooner you do, the better it is.

Xoxo Andi