How To Deal With A Toxic Roommate

I was lucky enough to randomly get assigned an amazing person as my roommate freshman year. In fact, we got along so well that we are still roommates as juniors and plan to live together next year too. She has become one of my best friends, and I do not know how I would survive college without her. There are many people, however, who are not as blessed as I am. I have some friends who have had to deal with awful roommates in the past, and I was there to witness the catastrophe that unfolded. Toxic people come in all shapes and forms, so it can be difficult to tell right away if someone is toxic or if you just do not get along. Some red flags to look out for include passive aggression, overreactions, emotional instability, clinginess or manipulative behavior. These behaviors do not always mean that a person is toxic, but they are very strong indicators. If you think your roommate fits this description, here are some ways to improve your situation:

  1. 1. Establish boundaries and rules.

    The first step to dealing with a toxic roommate is to establish a set of rules for living with each other and making sure no one’s boundaries are being infringed upon. That way if a roommate breaks a rule, you have a concrete foundation to fall back on to reinstate order.

  2. 2. Do not be afraid to put your foot down.

    I know a lot of people can be timid and shy away from confrontation (myself included), but that is something you need to overcome when dealing with a toxic roommate. You cannot be afraid to say no or to stand your ground if they decide to push your boundaries. If something is not okay with you, or if your roommate breaks a rule in your roommate contract, you need to speak up and bring the issue to light. If you never say anything, the other person will not know there is a problem and will continue their behavior. The room is shared by everyone living in it, so do not allow one member to dictate all the rules. 

  3. 3. Talk about your feelings in a calm manner.

    If your roommate is being passive aggressive and controlling, the best thing to do is to talk it out. They are most likely going through something that has nothing to do with you and do not know how to deal with their anger and frustrations in a healthy way. Therefore, if you notice that they are acting this way, you can bring it up to them calmly and state your emotions regarding their behavior. This might bring them to open up and talk about whatever it is that is bothering them, and after that, you can act accordingly. 

  4. 4. Spend more time outside of your room.

    If things are not sailing smoothly between the two of you no matter how much you try to fix it, you could try spending less time around that toxic person by hanging out with friends on campus or in your friends' rooms. When you see your toxic roommate less often, you will not have to deal with their toxicity as much. 

Living with toxic people is a real struggle and definitely not something you want to be dealing with on top of the stress from your daily routine. However, we unfortunately do have to deal with such people sometimes, so hopefully this has prepared you for any future situation that may arise. Just remember to always stand up for yourself and to not let people take advantage of you, no matter what it is that you are facing in life.