Difficult Roommates: 9 Tips to Make the Semester More Enjoyable
It’s finally happened: you’ve been assigned a roommate for your college semester. You’re excited to start living with them and get to know them better. But as the days go on, you start to realize that this is going to be one long semester if something isn’t done about it.
Your roommate has annoying habits that are driving you crazy! Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we will discuss some tips for dealing with difficult roommates.
1. Talk to your roommate about the issues you’re having.
If you’re having any problems with your roommate, the best thing to do is talk to them about it. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s better than letting the problems fester and become bigger. Try to be open and honest with each other, and be prepared to listen to their side of things as well.
Too often, disputes turn into full-scale conflicts all because the parties involved are too immature or nervous to take the first step. Read books or watch videos on how you can break the ice without “coming in hot” and making your roommate feel defensive. Taking your time with the approach and speaking directly and clearly will make all the difference in the world.
2. Establish some rules and expectations for both of you to follow.
It’s helpful to have a set of rules in place that both you and your roommate agree on. This will help to prevent any misunderstandings or conflicts down the road. Some things you may want to consider putting in your agreement are noise levels, sharing of food and belongings, and how often each of you wants the room clean.
Ideally, you will have an in-depth discussion when you first meet so you don’t have to address the problems as they arise. Setting those standards up-front ensures that each of you knows where the other is coming from. And it allows you to confront your roommate with a clearer conscience if they’re not adhering to the agreement later down the line.
3. Decide on a ‘quiet time’ when the noise will be kept to a minimum.
If you’re someone who needs peace and quiet in order to study or sleep, it’s important to establish a quiet time with your roommate. This can be anything from an hour each day to a certain number of hours each week. Make sure both of you are aware of this rule and try your best to stick to it.
You might even decide to incentivize it in some way. Like one of you buys the pizza this week in appreciation of the other keeping things to a dull roar. Establishing a give-and-take rapport like this can go a long way in securing a good roommate relationship and maybe even a life-long friendship!
4. Invest in some noise-canceling headphones.
If your roommate is particularly loud, or if there are always distractions going on in the room, investing in some noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver. This way, you can still get your work done or relax without being disturbed by outside noise.
Really, technology has enabled many of us to create small pockets of escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You do need to be mindful, however, of the effects that too much technology can take on your life. Use it to augment the things you need to do.
Noise-canceling headphones with classical music while you study? Good. Noise-canceling headphones while watching Netflix and allowing your roommate to study? Also good. But any kind of technology as escape from the things you’re supposed to be doing? Bad, bad, bad!
5. Set aside some personal space that is off-limits to your roommate.
It’s important for everyone to have their own personal space, even when they’re living in a small dorm room with their roommate. If there are certain areas that are sacred to you, let your roommate know and ask them not to disturb those areas when you’re not around.
You can make this topic easier to broach by turning it around as well. Say, “this is how I am, I understand if you feel the same way about some things; please, let me know if there are some things you need me to avoid, and I will do my best to respect it.” That way, you’re not just making demands without offering anything in return.
6. Agree not to touch each other’s belongings without permission.
This goes hand in hand with establishing personal space boundaries; if you don’t want your roommate going through your stuff, make sure they know that and ask them not to touch anything without asking first.
It’s also helpful not to leave your belongings out in the open. Otherwise, they can easily be grabbed without notice. That is, your roommate might be guilty of taking your blue folder that looks like their blue folder but has your important term paper in it and not even realize it!
7. Draw up a shared chore list and make sure both of you are following it.
Shared chores can quickly become overwhelming if they’re not handled correctly. That’s why it’s important for both roommates to agree on a chore list and make sure that everyone is doing their part moving forward.
This will help keep the room clean and organized – two things that are key for any living situation. It will also help you both head off any resentments before they can become larger issues.
8. Try not to take things too personally.
Remember, you’re living with someone else, not a clone of yourself. When living with someone else, there will always be some conflicts that arise – it’s simply unavoidable.
The key is learning how to deal with these conflicts maturely and respectfully. Remember, you’re both adults, so act like it.
9. If all else fails, consider talking to your RA or dorm supervisor.
If things between you and your roommate are really bad and continuing to live together is proving too difficult, don’t hesitate to speak with either your RA or dorm supervisor. They may be able to help mediate the situation or find you another place on campus or off-campus where you can live.
Grant it, you want this to be a last resort. Life often is about working with people you might not see eye-to-eye with. Sometimes those people are even your direct supervisors or the owners of the company!
That said, there may come a point where you have to cut your losses. If that occurs, try to find the best way of resolving the problem without creating further conflict.
Dealing With Difficult Roommates Can Be a Thing of the Past
Living with a difficult roommate can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that it’s not always going to be this way. Talk to your roommate about the issues you’re having and try to come up with some solutions that work for both of you.
Establish some rules and expectations, and make sure both of you are following them. If things still don’t improve, consider talking to your RA or dorm supervisor.
With a little bit of effort, you should be able to live peacefully with even the most challenging roommates. Now we’d love to hear from you. What are some tips that have helped you in dealing with difficult roommates? And what are some of your most difficult roommate stories?
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