5 Common Roommate Problems – And How to Deal

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.

    Related TopicsCollege Lifestyle roommates


    1. blackmediaprop08 says:

      never have roommates..they suck!….i had so many problems in college with roommates never worked out for me…:/

      Side Chick or Not (Site that Asks: Am I the Main Chick or a Side B^tch)

      1. obviously says:

        then your prob the ones whose a pain in the ass

    2. Jill says:

      i can admit to being the messy roommate, and i think the best thing my roommate did to get me in check was clean her stuff up too. as soon as i saw her pulling her crap together and becoming the neat and tidy one i immediately followed. it was a pretty genius of, in my eyes anyways, embarrassing me and getting me to fix the problem. And i know it was her tactic because she confessed to me at the end of the year why she cleaned so meticulously on Sundays.

    3. kell says:

      So it's okay when you're the one that doesn't want to bond with your roommate all the time but she's the mean one when she doesn't?
      Maybe your roommate sees you as the overly friendly one.

      1. I think that not wanting to constantly talk and being mean are very separate things. You can be polite and not social with your roommate without being mean or completely ignoring them.

    4. Sof says:

      Starring?… I think you meant staring.

    5. […] to say, that “wave clip” thing has me pretty intrigued… CollegeCandy shows you 5 common roommate problems and how to deal with them. Wow, this list is dead on: Blogging Typology breaks down the different styles of fashion blogs out […]

    6. Kelly says:

      What about when they walk around naked? Cuz that's happend to me twice.:/

    7. Casey says:

      Honestly, I didn't read past "starring at her mess with your evilest eye"…. as intelligent as ever collegecandy.

    8. Ayeima Lamaj says:

      what if she's needy? and ask you to do everything? or if shes wears your clothes without asking?

    9. oscarandjosh says:

      As a first year in college myself, I can say I've seen a few of these things with people on my floor. The advice I usually give them is to just respect their roommate and avoid saying things that could lead to problems down the road. The school year is only 8 months, so it's good to look at the bright side of things as well: I've made it this far, now just persevere through this and I'll have awesome stories to tell my friends in the summer!

    10. Michelle says:

      Well I personally thought the Bed Intruder references were great.

    11. It’s OK! says:

      […] refer to these 5 common roommate problems and how to deal with them the next time you want to slap your […]

    12. […] 5 Common Roommate Problems – And How to Deal ( […]

    13. These are great tips, but some of these problems can be avoided with the right planning.

      Living with a roommate can be a really tough arrangement. The best way to keep conflict to a minimum is to be super clear about the boundaries and expectations of BOTH roommates. Most of the time, the roommate relationship breaks down because of a lack of communication and clarity. Sit down with your roommate and sign an agreement like this one… to keep the air clear and tensions low.

    14. didigor says:

      I can relate, i have a roomate who heaps up dirty plates, her boyfriend comes over like 10 times a day, he eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner in my room and doesn’t even have the courtesy greet when he enters the room. They disturb my reading, and when i told her, she said i should take my reading to the class! I am so getting another roommate next time.

      1. craziness says:

        you and me both sister!!! i have a roommate that moved in her boyfriend since day 1. she didnt ask me if it was okay, she TOLD me. Once we apologized for us being mad over something, she pulls a scheme like writing a note and leaving it on the refrigerator saying im living at our apartment for free which is definitely not true. Her boyfriend is the one who is!!! There are real psychos out there… Do your research first before you room with somebody.

    15. craziness says:

      I think your forgetting having her boyfriend move in with you and her and not paying for anything

      1. craziness says:

        I love my roommate but I hate her boyfriend he never talks to anyone and always eats at our apartment without paying for any of the food (and he eats every 10 minutes) he spends the night practically EVERY night and what pisses me off the most is when she has an early class he doesn't leave with her, to me if she's not here he has no reason to be here (and vice versa with my boyfriend). The problem is we are both so non-confrontational and we get along great and I'm scared to tell her anything because I don't want to end up hating each other, we already signed next years lease!!

      2. Landlord says:

        Oh man, as a homeowner, with a housmate who has a weekend boyfriend, I can tell you this can be cause for some serious strife. He actually does stuff around the house and respects it as his, but there are times when I want to bust into their room above e and ask them " DO YOU EVER STOP F******?" Its bad sometimes…..

    16. Kamila says:

      I get where you are coming from but it isn’t lceessariny true.I know a few people who “came from money” but have very good financial habits and are very modest when it comes to talking about how lucky they were.I also know a few who “came from money” but completely reject it to prove that they can make it on their own or for some other personal reason.Then they are those like your ex roommate. The thing is though, it doesn’t matter if you had a hard life or an easy life. Your money habits develop on your own accord and is somewhat influenced by your friends and your surroundings.

    17. […] Stay Off Social Media It’s so easy to vent by sending out a tweet or a Facebook post — but just because you’re upset or irritated in that moment doesn’t mean you need to throw it out there for everyone to see. Stop sending out the passive-aggressive tweets! First try reasoning with your roommate — let them know what’s bothering you. If that doesn’t work, vent to a friend (not a mutual one) or a family member just to get it out of your system, but please stay off the Internet until you’re done fuming! Here’s a list of common roommate problems and how to deal. […]

    18. Roxy says:

      I would follow these tips, but I think that it's pretty much a lost cause when you have two other roommates who are messy, thieving, AND mean…

    19. […] your space. Maybe your roommate talks about you behind your back or they go to bed super late. The list could go on forever, but you get the point. Your disagreements don’t have to end in someone […]

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