If you haven’t already experienced living with a difficult roommate, you are bound to at some point in your life. (Though, if you don’t, consider yourself very lucky!) We all make roommate mistakes and can find ourselves trapped in tight living corridors with an enemy. But no need to panic – There are strategies to get past the awkwardness, communicate like adults, and work things out in a civil matter in order for each of you to live happily. Here are some tips.
Know It’s Only Temporary
Whether you’re stuck with this person for a semester, or signed a lease for an entire year, know that it is really only a short period of time in the larger scheme of things. Over time you both will learn how to cope. The first step is to stay calm, evaluate what needs to be said or done in order to keep the peace, and focus on going about your daily activities independently. Give it time, and things will get better.
Talk It Out
Communication is the solution for almost anything. If things aren’t going well between you and your roommate, the best thing to do is sit down like adults and chat about your frustrations – (It’s really pretty simple). Lay everything out on the table and come up with a plan to work together to try to enjoy each other’s company. Realize that you don’t have to be friends, but you do have to respect each other’s personal space and living needs. Maybe there is something you do that aggravates your roommate; you never know. Confrontation is never easy, but usually the best method in this situation.
Create Your Own Private Sanctuary
If it’s hard to relax when your roommate is around, figure out a time and space in the house where you can be alone and comfortable. Your bedroom is a great space. You can assemble a cozy sitting area to watch movies on your bed, do homework, read a book, etc. However, do not hibernate in your room forever. Know that you are an owner of the home as well and are free to use it equally as much as the other person. The last thing you want is to feel as if you need to hide when you are home. Maybe give yourself some down time when your roommate isn’t home on the living room couch – Enjoy the peace alone when you can in order to balance out the uneasiness. If you’re stuck in the dorm, plug in some headphones and let yourself escape into your own world. The common areas in dorms are also perfect places to get away from the stress; that’s what they are there for.
Leave No Room For Complaints
If you’re roommate has a terrible cleaning habit the worst thing you can do is stop cleaning as well. Don’t fight fire with fire and do everything you can to keep the space clean, be respectful of their study/sleep hours, and do an equal amount of the daily chores. Give them no excuse to be frustrated with you. If you are respectful, clean, and fair then there is no room for them to complain or get angry with you. It may even prompt them to do the same. Be as civil and friendly as you can because there is no need for cattiness. Channel your inner Gandhi and be the peacemaker, even if you really hate their guts.
Like I said earlier, living with a bad roommate isn’t permanent. There will always be methods to help make things better. If the living situation is really terrible then seek authorities for help. Contact an RA to express the problems you’ve been facing, or ask the landlord how to go about subleasing your room. Though, avoid reaching out for help immediately. Allow for lots of time and genuine effort before making the big decision to move out. If you’ve tried everything you could for a reasonable amount of time, then move on! It is possible and fairly easy to change your environment. Telling your roommate that you feel like moving out may also instigate a conversation that could mend some issues. Just always remember to be calm, cool, and confront the situation like an adult. (Because you are one now!)