Handling bad roommates

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You can’t always get along with everyone, but not liking your roommate is a tough situation to end up in.

However, harassing your new roommate in an effort to force them to move out is a bad idea, as proven by a student at the University of Hartford who was criminally charged because of the extreme tactics she used to try to get her roommate to leave.

The Hartford student was charged with criminal mischief and expelled because she not only rubbed her used tampons on her roommate’s belongings, put moldy dips in her lotions, contaminated her utensils and inserted her roommate’s toothbrush into her rectum, but she also bragged about what she had done online. Her actions caused her now ex-roommate to suffer intense throat pain for a long period of time.

With most of the semester over, we all know if we get along with our roommate or dislike each other. Whether you already knew them or your new roommate is a stranger, learning to share a room with someone can be difficult. Even if they do something that annoys you or you simply don’t get along, you have to handle the situation like an adult.

The first step to dealing with a difficult roommate is to communicate with them. It’s necessary to talk with them about anything that you see could be a problem for you living with them, such as leaving the door unlocked, studying late at night, leaving the room a mess or watching the TV loudly while you’re studying.

Being passive aggressive about a problem doesn’t help anyone; loudly sighing while moving their clothes to their side or grumbling about being cold all the time without asking them to close the window won’t solve anything.

Instead, if your roommate does something that bothers you, talk it out with them. Tell them straight that you have a problem with what they’re doing. If they leave the window open and you’re freezing, just nicely ask them if they could close it.

Politely tell them what they’re doing that bothers you and why, and ask them to stop doing it. Rather than telling them, “Stop leaving the door unlocked,” it would work better to ask them and explain by saying, “The room being unlocked when we’re sleeping makes me feel uncomfortable, so could you lock it?”

From my personal experience, sometimes you can get along with someone just fine at the start, but at some point that could stop. An old roommate of mine and I got along just fine until she dropped her 8 a.m. class and started studying late at night. That would’ve been fine, except I was trying to get sleep before my 8 a.m. and couldn’t sleep with all the light.

When I asked her if she could study in the lounge so I could sleep, she suggested that I go sleep in one of my friends’ rooms since they didn’t have roommates. Needless to say this didn’t sit well with me, and we stopped getting along and mostly stopped talking. However, she did start to study in the lounge at night, which was much appreciated.

If they choose not to communicate with you or even think about trying to compromise with you about the problem, like maybe only having the window open during the day, then your options of how to solve the problem become more limited. When talking it out fails, you can always go and talk it over with your Community Adviser. This may seem like tattling, but the situation won’t change if they aren’t willing to compromise.

Your CA might be able to provide you with more suggestions on how to try and compromise with your roommate, or they could talk with your roommate about the situation in order to help it get resolved.

If nothing works and you really can’t live with them, then move out and find a new roommate to live with. There’s no point in continuing to live with someone who you can’t get along with or who makes you feel uncomfortable in your own room.