In the ideal world, you would meet that perfect roommate who lets you sleep in peace, cleans their half of the room, takes out the garbage on time, and is ready to be your bffl.
However, we all know that things don’t always go as imagined.
So yes, the bad news is that living with a roommate is NOT easy. But the good news is that conflicts can always be resolved! All you need is a little bit of wisdom and the courage to initiate the conversation…
HERE IS HOW YOU DEAL WITH A ROOMMATE WHO:
1. Drinks way too much (and doesn’t remember anything the next day).
Couple therapist Susan Heitler suggests that you sit your roommate down and explain to him or her how his or her behavior is affecting you.
Be as specific as you can, and put the emphasis on the consequences rather than the behavior itself (i.e. no finger-pointing or judging!). For example, you might say something like, “Hey, I couldn’t get much sleep last night and my teachers could tell. I kept falling asleep in class today.” Or, you can say something like, “I’m genuinely concerned about your health. Maybe you should take measures to reduce your intake?” If your roommate continues his or her drinking patterns/behaviors after a few “talks,” seek professional help.
2. Keeps bringing “friends” over (when you’re trying to sleep…).
Counseling psychologist Will Meek suggests having a “playful but serious” talk with your roommate. You can say something like, “Hey, it sure sounded like you were having fun last night, but I was wondering if you could keep the noise level down a little bit? Those earplugs didn’t help.” Awkward, but a must-do!
3. NEVER leaves the dorm room and has absolutely NO social life.
Give your roommate the time and the space he/she needs, but invite him/her into conversations or to small hangouts every once in a while. However, if the answer is a ‘no’ (or a mere silence), don’t take it personally. Instead, suggest movies you can watch together in the dorm room or recommend a book. Keep in mind that introverts prefer planned-out activities over spontaneous ones, so if you’re going to invite them to an event, do so in advance! Give them the time to plan ahead.
4. Piles up garbage literally everywhere.
Keep your side of the room CLEAN as an example/model, but don’t clean for them, as this will only reinforce their bad habits. A few “friendly reminders” is usually all they need, but if that doesn’t work, be stern and tell them that their mess is beginning to affect you.
Check out: How to Get Roommates to Clean Up
5. Doesn’t stop talking (when you’ve got exams to study for).
Motivational speaker Rick Kirschner advises giving a “nice-as-possible” speech to your roommate before he/she starts talking. Let your roommate know that you’d like some quiet time, and emphasize that it’s not a sign of any ill feelings. You shouldn’t feel guilty for setting a firm boundary!
6. Complains and whines too much.
Counseling psychologist Meek advises NOT offering yourself as the problem-solver or the therapist (as this will only get you sucked into the stress). Instead, suggest mindfulness exercises or direct them to other resources.
7. Makes you third-wheel with their significant other (who is half way across the world).
It was cute when you first met your roommate’s “bae” over Skype, but the last thing you want to know is what he or she had for breakfast or how much they miss their “bae.” In this scenario, kindly ask your roommate to use headphones (at the very least) and to limit their Skype sessions (to designated times and days). Let them know in advance when you will be out of the room so they can plan accordingly.