How to Handle Roommate Conflicts


Think you’ve got the roommate from hell?  You might, or you might be in the same boat as the rest of us.  Most of us have (or had) roommates that just down-right annoy the heck out of us.  So how do you handle tricky roommate situations?

One of the first things you should do, if you haven’t done so already, is set up some guidelines.  They don’t have to be extensive or even comprehensive.  Just get a few basic guidelines together that you think you can stick to.  If you don’t want him/her to eat your food, make sure you guys talk about this.  Make one shelf or cabinet for your food, and one for his or hers.  If there’s common food, then perhaps that can be stored in another place.  Lay down the rules about whether or not you share other things as well, and make sure you also live within the rules of the dorm itself.

Learn how to compromise.  For example, if loud music bothers you, let your roomie know about blocks of time when it is fine for him/her to turn it up.  If you’re not sure whether a rule will work out, do it on a trial basis. 

Don’t do anything that affects the room or your roommates without asking first.  Don’t rearrange without asking, don’t have friends over late if you haven’t let your roommate know.  In short, if you’re going to do something that will affect them, let them know in advance or ask their permission.  Don’t just show up at 11pm with 10 friends and a case of beer without consulting first. 

Don’t issue commands.  This will piss of your roommate.  No one likes being told what to do.  If you have a problem, bring it up and discuss it.

Be generous and understanding.  Sometimes you might need to break the rules, and so might your roommate.  As long as it is not a regular, consistent thing, let it slide.  Sometimes stress, tests, big games and other factors can change the routine. 

When it all comes down to it, getting along with your roommate is a matter of communication.  Even if you are the complete opposites, by sitting down and laying out some basic guidelines you can begin to co-exist peacefully.  If all else fails and you just simply cannot get along and are at eachother’s throats, then maybe it’s time to talk to your R.A. or someone in student housing and request a transfer.  Switches can be done if needed, but keep in mind that it is much easier to do at the start of a new semester or quarter.  Mid-semester moves are trickier for them to do.

Comments are closed.