3 Ways to Deal with a Difficult Roommate

on September 29th, 2013 in Apartments, Roommates

If your best friend came to you with a trash session about how terrible his or her college roommate was, you may sympathize, you may doll out some tough love, or you may try to diffuse the sitch with some suggestions of pranks as a form of light retribution. But, whatever your attitude, you would probably deliver some pretty good advice about dealing with the problem. Your go-to solution might even be: “just talk to the person.”

Yet, as simple as this sounds, the majority of people would shy away from taking their own advice. We don’t want to be controversial; we don’t want to tell people the flaws we don’t like about them; and we definitely don’t want to hear what they will say back to us if we “insult” them first. However, dealing with a difficult roommate often presents us with the choice: say nothing and suffer or figure out what it means to be an adult who calmly expresses his or her concerns. Yay, college!

Here’s the best roommate advice you will ever get… aside from living alone!

  1. Recognize your own flaws - Yes, your roommate chews with his mouth open and you can now feel the tension of annoyance behind your twitching right eye, but you may not be perfect either. Ever leave your towels on the floor or hair in the sink? Your roommate could be equally sickened by your behavior. So, realizing you both have equal opportunity to be flawed may be the first step in overlooking, or at least feeling equal, about each other’s annoying behaviors.

  2. Say something before its awkward -Your roommate did something that you do not like. But, you let it slide this time, hoping that she never does it again. Then when she inevitably leaves crumbs all over the couch a second time, you feel you can’t say anything NOW, since you seemed to accept it the first time. The longer you let things linger, the more they will fester as you lose your nerve to correct long-standing behaviors. Say your piece – while you are only moderately annoyed and your comments don’t sound like you are on your last never.

  3. Learn to schedule your alone time - If you just can’t stand someone, learn how to avoid them! Don’t live moment to moment, put plan a schedule of avoidance that makes you comfortable. If you know that your roommate is going to stay up all night on Thursday and rage, don’t wait until he gets home to run to the library to study in peace for tomorrow’s test. When you get home from school on Thursday, take a nap while it’s quiet. Eat some dinner, pack up your study materials and head down to the library or coffee shop for studying with fresh eyes before your roommate even gets home and puts you in a bad mood.


It can be difficult to spend the year with someone you don’t enjoy, but you have several options: accept people who are different from you, make your wishes known, or avoid them completely. Hopefully one of these works for you, but ideally your school or apartment has allowed you to pick a roommate that you can get along with in the first place. If they haven’t, please be sure to request that they provide you this service on RoomSync.

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