5 Common Roommate Problems – And How to Deal

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Unless you’re one of the few students who lucks out and gets a single, almost everyone who goes away to school must deal with a roommate. Although it would be ideal to become BFF with your rando roommate,  everyone doesn’t always bond like Rachel, Monica and Phoebe. And because girls like to get their  feelings out via emo Facebook statuses, rather than actually confronting the problem, situations tend to escalate fast.

Here are some problems you may run into within the walls of your shared space and a few solutions if/when you find yourself in a pickle.

She’s sloppy: Her clothes are always on the floor and on her bed, even when she’s not getting dressed. Strands of her hair line your dorm room floor. She has loose papers and party fliers sticking out of her textbooks and strewn all over her desk. And is it you, or does her side of the room smell like gym socks and onions? Unfortunately, all girls aren’t all that neat, clean and prissy. Some are straight-up foul! Maybe they’re used to someone else cleaning for them or maybe they’re just lazy. But if you’re with a sloppy sister, you will probably end up speaking to her about her hot mess on more than one occasion.

Solution: Starring at her mess with your evilest eye won’t suddenly make her realize that she’s too messy. Instead this is one of those situations where you’re going to have to be confrontational (but NOT hostile) and ask for a compromise. You can’t expect her to go from slopfest to neat freak, but you can ask her to make sure her mess doesn’t invade your side of the room and that she does her best to keep all smells at a minimum. Just asking her to “be cleaner” won’t get you very far. Give her clear suggestions like “please put your gym clothes immediately in your laundry and not on the floor.”

She’s noisy: While away at college, most girls enjoy an occasional catch-up session with their friends and family on the phone or on Skype. But what if your roommate is constantly talking on the phone, blasting her music and singing along, and inviting your entire hall over to watch the “Jersey Shore” premiere (at volume lever 50 or higher)? Then you’ve got yourself a noisy roommate. Some people are born with the gift of gab; they’re just naturally loquacious. Although you’ll probably end up wishing your roomie would shut up, at least you’ll avoid being lonely when your best friend can’t Skype. There will always be someone to talk to.

Solution: Throwing her speakers out of the window and locking your door when she invites people over will not solve this problem. Instead sit down and try to set a few ground rules for when it’s okay and NOT okay for her to be loud. It’s not unreasonable for you ask her to be quiet when you’re trying to study and sleep. It is unreasonable for you to tell her she can never have friends over. Suggest headphones for her music and maybe invest in a pair of Bose headphones for yourself.

She’s too Friendly: Your dorm room is probably one of the only places where you’ll find the most peace on campus. It’s your oasis in the middle of the crazy college desert. When your roommate is in your face constantly, you might as well be back in the student lounge or the noisy cafeteria. She always wants to talk to you and “bond.” Don’t get me wrong, establishing a relationship with your roommate is important. Plus it’s way better than boarding with a b-word (see “mean”). But man, can’t a girl sleep…and dress…and bathe in peace?

Solution: This one is tricky because she’s trying to spend time with you…and asking her to stop will make things awkward for the rest of the year. Try using visual clues when you want some peace and quiet. Putting in your headphones does wonders in passing that message along.

She’s thieving: She’s going through your closet, snatching your jewelry up! There’s always someone who wants what they can’t have, so they take it. When it happens to be the person you live with, it causes a lot of discomfort. You’d never want to accuse your roomie of thievery because it makes things too awkward. But when you notice undies missing from your top drawer and earrings missing from your accessory tree, it’s time to confront her and get a lock. Hide your clothes, hide your shoes!

Solution: This is the perfect time to be confrontational, because the longer you put off asking her about the stolen items, the worse it will get. Let her know that she’s welcome to borrow things, but she has to ask first. Then it’s up to you to say yes or no when she asks — say no a few times and she’ll stop asking. Many girls with sisters are used to borrowing from their sisters without asking and she might just assume that’s the norm. If talking to her doesn’t do the trick, then you should talk to your RA — no one deserves to live in the middle of a crime scene.

She’s mean: Mean girls are everywhere, and your school’s housing department may pair your with one or two. Not everyone is Miss Congeniality. Your roommate may not greet you every time you walk in your dorm or invite you to lunch. Some people have a hard time adjusting to sharing space. It may really hurt your feelings, especially at the beginning of the year when you want to meet new people. Don’t fret, there are other girls on campus who you’re bound to click with. Hopefully you’ll end up hanging out with them more and barely see the Wicked Witch of Your Room.

Solution: You’re not a trained therapist so don’t even try to de-ice her. Instead just accept the fact that your roomie and you are not going to be BFFs. And if the meanness gets worse for what seems like no reason, ask her what’s up. Maybe she has a family situation at home she’s upset about or maybe she’s annoyed that  your alarm clock ringtone is the soundtrack from Grease. You won’t know if you don’t ask.

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