Roommate Tips: What To Do If You Don’t Get Along


College is pretty much the first time you aren’t living under your parents’ roof, with the roomies being the ‘rents and the sibs who spend most of their lives annoying you and taking awkward group pictures. Finding the perfect set of roommates isn’t always easy, but if you are one of those people who go “potluck” with their roommates, there’s always a chance that it’s not going to be a perfect match and you are going to spend a lot of time avoiding, fighting, or talking shit about your roomies. I had three roomies and to this day we are convinced that it’s a social experiment to see how long until one of us cracks. These roommate tips are useful!

Cry a lot. Like all the time.

Okay so maybe that isn’t the best advice. But those roommates are going to make you want to cry, and if it’s so bad that you want to cry all the time, there’s much better things you can do. These are 10 tips for what to do if you and your roommates are a match made in hell.

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Talk to the RA on your floor, in your wing, in the hall, or honestly just any RA in the building.

It’s hella cheesy to say that you should have a vent sesh with the person who’s job it is to make sure you aren’t killing each other, but they will most likely offer a viewpoint that you haven’t even considered to make things work. Also, they may just tell you that you and your roommates just aren’t supposed to live together and that the ideal choice would probably be to move into another room, because it’s unlikely that you are the only one who has roomie issues. RA’s are trained to help you solve conflicts and if you can’t confront them yourself, your RA will gladly come with you or help you confront the issue and hopefully resolve it. This is crucial roommate tips advice!

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For the not-so-clean roommates: Make a cleaning schedule and limit time the apartment can go without cleaning.

My roommates and I all live at different levels at what is clean and what isn’t clean, but one thing we can all agree on is no full trash bags and no dirty dishes in the suite (well all but one of us agree). So we sat down and made it very clear that dishes could not be in the sink for longer than 48 hours simply because we didn’t want to see it and we didn’t want to smell and we really didn’t want to touch it.

And honestly, just sitting down and talking about how gross the dishes are and how they need to be done in a timely manner actually helped. So sit down and talk about cleaning. Of course, it doesn’t work 100% of the time and sometimes it only lasts for a little while before they regress back into the dirty mode, but constant reminders help. If necessary, make a chore wheel. It’s childish maybe, but people feel accountable if it’s written down.

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Avoid being passive aggressive. Confronting the issue directly tends to work best.

Passive  aggressive never works. It just makes people angry. Don’t leave a passive aggressive note on the dishes because they are dirty or send a passive aggressive text about the one thing in the room everyone is waiting on one person to take care of. Don’t leave little clues about it. Just tell them, and there’s a chance that it might happen when you want it to. There’s still a chance that nothing changes but being passive aggressive is likely just to make people talk shit behind your back about how petty you are.

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For the one that eats your food: Clearly label your food and remind people not to eat anything with a name on it.

At the beginning of the school year, it’s best if you discuss how much food you are willing to share, but it’s also important that you make it clear what food you aren’t willing to share. Make a room rule that if it has a name it’s not public food. Or make it a policy that all food isn’t public unless someone asks beforehand. If food gets stolen still, there’s two options: (1) invest in a mini fridge so you don’t have to worry about anyone stealing your food or (2) sit down and talk to your roommates about how some food just isn’t going to be shared because honestly like you don’t even share food with your dog let alone some girl who happens to live in the same room as you.

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For the one who couldn’t care less about what you want in the place you have to live: talk it out.

Again hella cheesy, but talk to the people who can actually help when one of your roommates is honestly just disrespectful. Talk to the RA to see what options you actually have to fix all these problems because you live in that room and you have every right to feel respected in your living space. You should talk to other roommates (if you have them) and get them to back you up; especially if you have already made your points clear to all roommates, or if you have tried to talk to her before and she hasn’t listened. Talk to her, it couldn’t hurt to try and remind her, because there’s a chance that she might have forgotten, and just needs a reminder. If talking to her yourself doesn’t work call an RA or other roommates. This is the most important of the roommate tips.

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For the one who has different morals: have a clear system in place so no one sees anything they don’t want to.

Make it clear that roommates must be warned about guests of any kind especially the ones who aren’t just friends. Make a policy on what happens when your roommate comes home in a drunken stupor with a guy at 2 am and is ridiculously loud, like quiet hours in the hall. There’s always the classic sock on the door or a little warning text. That goes for you and for your roommate, no one wants to see something unexpected.

Revenge is the worst policy.

If you and your roommate don’t get along, everything they do is going to be the end of the world and some kind of personal attack toward you, so revenge is going to make things worse. After the split second of bliss, guilt is going to set in. Revenge isn’t the answer, because if you aren’t meant to be, there’s a chance that is clouding your vision towards your roomie and then it will become war between you.

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Call your mom.

This is my solution to everything (I called my mom seven times on Monday alone), but it’s a trusted favorite. Parents have gone through this before and can offer advice that you won’t get from someone still going through it or someone who had a wonderful roommate. Besides if it wasn’t your mom who had a bad roommate, she can always put a post out there on Facebook, and by morning there will be 800 moms offering help or sharing that their daughter is in the same situation. So yeah moms are superheroes when it comes to fixing petty girl fights, besides all their mom friends have daughters too. This is one of those common roommate tips.

Call your dad.

You would think this would go with the whole calling your mom thing, but the reason to call your dad is totally different. Dads are there to listen and tell you that you are right and she was totally in the wrong. Then they are going to encourage you to stay strong while they tell you a story about their roommates from college, but everyone knows its easier for guys to get along as roommates than girls. But hey dads have valuable stories too, so listen to those too. Plus sometimes a guy’s opinion is honestly going to be the best option because at this point you are ready to fight, and not much is going to stop you and your friends are pumped, and your dad is going to say something super practical and you are going to do that and things might be better for a while.

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Move out. Find another room, another floor, someone will switch. If not talk to the RD about moving out.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it’s just not working out and that one of you is going to have to move out. And it’s unlikely that she will, so it’s probably going to be you. Ask around first to find out if anyone else is having problems to see if there’s rooms available before you pack up all your stuff and demand a new room. If the situation is bad enough, talk to the RD about moving out immediately.

Also, if they can’t do anything right away they will put you on a list of other people who want to move out and if two people want to switch they will certainly encourage it. If necessary call your mom and dad and they will help you. College doesn’t mean that they won’t talk to the right people to make the right thing happen. Moving out can help you find the perfect roommate to make college (and finals week) bearable.

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Roommates are hard, bad roommates are impossible. There’s ways to survive a bad roommate before getting a whole new one. Like any relationship, the key is communication, and not just yelling and screaming matches, like actual for real communication where you sit down and talk and discuss issues. Also it’s kinda your RA’s job so go to their open doors. Follow these roommate tips and you should be okay.

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Let us know what you think about these roommate tips in the comments below!
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Alexis Swingendorf

Currently a freshman at The University of Toledo | Live for books and sports and ridiculously fluffy animals | Currently in love with the most perfect guy | happy and healthy | future doctor |

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