Unfortunately, sometimes it does happen. Whether it is a difficult college roommate or a difficult flatmate, we do sometimes end up stuck with people who aren’t really on our wavelength, don’t live the same way as us, or are just generally not great people. But, there are a few things that can help you deal with this!
1. Discuss Setting Some Rules
Perhaps set up a rota for cleaning, or discuss how often you’ll empty bins or who will use the bathroom when. Compare schedules, so your roommate knows what days you’ll need to get a good sleep to get up early, and let them know what nights you won’t be in so they can have friends over. Whatever it is that you’re picky about, make it clear from day one and start as you mean to go on.
If the person you’re going to be living with knows what to expect right from the beginning and you’re really clear about what you will and won’t live with and then if you’ve made some reasonable points and they choose to ignore these, it will only be them at fault.
2. Avoid Sharing Things
Buy your own things from day one and avoid sharing – this can often lead to arguments. Avoid it from the beginning and then you’ll have no chance of things going pear-shaped!
3. Consider Locking Things Away
If they’re using or stealing your things, try labeling them at first to make a point of saying “this is mine, please don’t use it”. If that fails, consider getting a safe or some locks for your cupboards and drawers. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, so don’t feel like you’re being rude or nasty.
4. Sit Them Down and Discuss It Like Adults
If they do something that you’re not happy with or that annoys or upsets you, don’t shout or start an argument, simply sit them down at a reasonable time of day and discuss the issue like an adult. Explain what they did that you didn’t like and why, and then talk about how you can avoid the situation again in the future. Always be respectful and reasonable.
5. Get A Mediator
If you can’t have a reasonable and adult-like discussion, consider getting a mediator. Whether that be one of your friends, a mutual friend, someone from the university, or even a parent, just find someone to sit with you both to keep things reasonable, respectful and calm. It’s always good to have someone that will see things from both sides and someone that can keep you both in order.
6. Speak To Your University Or College
If you can’t get through to them and they’re refusing to be reasonable, go to your student support or student advisor and explain what’s been happening – if you have any evidence or witnesses, take it/them with you. The university or college might move them or at least threaten to if they think your case is reasonable, so it’s worth going to them if you really think your roommate’s behaviour is impacting your studies or your mental health in some way – this is unacceptable so don’t let them get away with it!
7. Get Out Of Your Room As Much As Poss & Kill ‘Em With Kindness
If all else fails and you have no choice but to carry on living with them, just make sure to build yourself a good social life and get out of your room as often as possible and when you do have to be around them, be really nice and kind to them even when they don’t do the same for you – always be the better person.