College Q&A: Roommate Hell

"Why can't you be more considerate!?"

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Question:
I need help. Fast. Or my head is going to explode. I live with 3 girls and we all re-signed our lease for next year to live together again. The only problem is that one of them is driving me crazy. She’s become totally inconsiderate of anyone else in the apartment, especially me. She’s messy, she’s loud and she acts like she’s the only one that matters. I have tried to approach her (because no one else I live with has the balls), but she just gets all defensive. It’s not like I’m asking her to clean up (even though I want to) – I’m just asking her to be a little more quiet when we’re all studying or to maybe stop bringing random guys into our house when she could go there. I don’t know what to do anymore but I can’t live like this.

Party Girl:
First of all, why did you resign the lease with someone you can’t live with?? It seems like you would have tried to get ouf of that one beforehand. Moving beyond that, what you need to do is just tell her how you feel. No passive aggressive crap, no roommate meetings – just say  exactly what you feel. Possibly over a bottle of wine, so the words go down more easily. I’m assuming you guys were once friends, right?  Channel those feelings and try to express to her that she’s hurting you (mentally, emotionally, academically – take your pick). It’ll be a hard  conversation, but it has to happen…otherwise, you run the risk of your house degenerating into a prison of silent-treatments and  back-stabbing. Trust me, that’s not a conducive environment for a house party. Or life.

Busy Bee:
Ugh, the roommates…always a sticky situation. If this is bothering you so much, you need to get your other roommate, and have all 3 of you sit down and talk this out. Explain your concerns, lay down the rules, and say it like it is – NO SUGAR COATING! If she gets defensive or doesn’t want to make any compromises, then cancel the lease. I don’t know how it works with your apartment, but sometimes, you can cancel the lease and the only consequence is that they keep your deposit. On the other hand, if she is not willing to move, then you can leave! Even though the lease is under your name, you can find someone to rent out your room, and have the new roomie pay you to pay the land lord.

I know what it’s like to live with an inconsiderate roommate, so you have to stand up for yourself. It’s not worth it to be annoyed with this girl all the time – you are way too busy and ambitious with school and work to be bothered by such nonsense. It sounds like she’s not willing to change, so tell her to move out (take her name off the lease and get her out of the house), or you can just find a new set of roomies in a new place. It may sound ridiculous, but this girl needs to realize there are other people living in the house as well. Don’t put up with her any longer!

GPA Girl:
Well, this begs the question of why you re-signed the lease, but whatever–you did it, so you’re stuck with this girl for at least another year. I commend you for having the balls to confront her. Until she learns to have a balanced and considerate discussion, however, it sounds as if you might have to try an alternative strategy. Have you thought about writing a letter? That’s a good, non-confrontational way to get down your thoughts and give her time to process what you feel without going insane right away. Another idea is to get your other two roommates to grow some balls and confront the girl with you as a small group. You’re all friends at least a little bit, right? It’s a lot harder to act defensive when there are three people confronting you instead of just one, especially if you all make sure to speak kindly. Finally, as a last resort, you might think about talking with a counselor or RA at your college about what you could do with this girl that might offer some relief. They usually have great ideas to share. Good luck!

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