Dorming is an awesome experience that I recommend to everyone. Sure, you might get a rude awakening when your term bill arrives, but I’d say it’s worth. That’s one less commute you have to worry about when you’re stressed about making it to class. Unfortunately, living in a dorm usually means you have to share a room with a stranger.
Buckle up, kids. Here are the ten roommates you’ll inevitably run into:
Did your dorm get ransacked? Are there clothes everywhere, even on your side of the room? When was the last time the garbage was taken out? And how did a bra get stuck on top of the ceiling fan? If you have asked yourself any of these questions, chances are that you have The Slob. This roommate is probably taking advantage of the fact their their parents aren’t around to nag about their hygiene.
How to deal: Try to draw the line. No, literally, draw a line between your sides. Your best bet might be to use bright painters tape so your roommate can clearly see where their mess is allowed to be. It might sound mean, but I’d rather be the bad guy than wake up with used underwear in my closet that wasn’t even mine (I kid you not, this happened.) Also, buy air fresheners. A lot of air fresheners.
The Neat Freak
When I lived in my dorm, I thought I was clean. I did my dishes, I kept my things on my side of the room, and I always left the window open if I ate food in the room. The clean freak, on the other hand, can go a little overboard. You might even feel guilty from how messy they make you feel. The Clean Freak is definitely better than having The Slob, so just let them have their moments.
How to deal: When they get in a mood to clean, move out of their way. In the long run, they’re doing you a favor by keeping the dorm tidy. If they start intruding on your space, make sure to let them know that you’ll keep track of your mess. Even if they like everything perfectly organized, that doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to be on their level. Just be considerate and keep your space moderately neat.
You’ve seen the stray sock under the bed and maybe their textbooks on the desk, but you rarely see your roommate. Do you even have one? If you never see your roommate, you have what I call The Ghost. On the bright side, you practically have a single dorm for the price of a double. Win-win! Unless you’re lonely. In that case…sorry.
How to deal: There’s not much you can honestly do if they’re never there. When I had one, I pretty much left them a post-it note with my number in case there was an emergency. Lo-and-behold I woke the next morning with their number on a note in return. I think I spoke with that roommate in notes more than in person throughout the whole semester.
Is your favorite shirt missing? Can’t find the leftovers you were saving in the fridge? Did the money in your wallet magically disappear? You might have a roommate with sticky fingers. The Thief is one of the most annoying and dangerous roommates to have. Dealing with this one might take more than a verbal intervention.
How to deal: Keep your high-values under lock and key if you can. You can also casually bring up any missing items you might have and gauge their reaction. See if you can catch them in the act. If they like taking your leftovers from the fridge, you have one of two options: leave passive-aggressive notes for them to find or invest in those fridge lock boxes specifically made to protect your lunch. You might be laughing now, but I surely wasn’t when my chicken alfredo went missing. If the problem is really bad, it’s time for an intervention. Report it to your RA and maybe file a police report if they keep stealing from you.
Forget The Slob. The Smoker is why you keep the Febreeze stocked at all times. When your parents come visit, they’re the reason why you have to awkwardly explain that it’s not yours. And when the cops come because of a smell complaint? Just cross your fingers you’re not there when they do a search. Also, keep an eye on your snack stash. You’ll thank me later.
How to deal: Other than Febreeze, try to keep your windows open at all times. Ventilation is your best friend. Ask your roommate if they can take their smoking outside if it bothers you.
The Thirsty One
Writing about this is triggering me. Everyone knows about The Thirsty roommate, whether or not you hear them through your paper-thin walls next door or if they’re sleeping in the bed next to you. I had a roommate like this my freshman year of college and I hated every moment of it.
How to deal: As awkward as the conversation may get, your best bet is to talk it out with your thirsty roommate. Let them know it makes you uncomfortable to be the constant-third wheel in the room. Maybe set up a schedule so that they can have their “guests” over when you’re not there, or let them know what weekends you go home. Don’t feel like you have to be the one to leave the room. You’re paying to sleep there, not to listen to your roommates go at it like rabbits.
The Party Animal
If you don’t remember the last time your roommate was sober, you likely have The Party Animal. They drink more vodka than they do water and it’s a wonder how they’re passing their classes. If you’re nice, you’ve probably had to unlock the door for them since they were too drunk to put the key in. If you’re a saint, you’ve probably held their hair back while they puked their guts out.
How to deal: I’ll tell you now, asking you roommate to stop partying is like begging your professor to bump your B+ to an A. It’s not happening. Instead, try setting some boundaries and remember some past incidences that they owe you for like needing to pick them up in the middle of the night and holding their hair while their face was in the toilet. Invest in a sleeping mask and some ear plugs if they tend to be loud when stumbling through the door. If things get really bad, don’t be afraid to involve your RA. You’re not being a snitch. You’re being responsible.
The Night Owl
It’s 1am. You’re tired and you have an early class tomorrow. It’s time to hit the hay…except your roommate is still chatting away on their computer or listening to Skrillex at 3am. The Night Owl, not to be confused with The Party Animal, rises with the moon and sets with the sun. They follow a sleep schedule that you can’t comprehend. If you’re lucky, your Night Owl will consider your needs and stay quiet while you count sheep.
How to deal: If you’re a light sleeper, it’s best to lay down some ground rules. Just because your roommate can’t sleep during quiet hours doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a wink. Communicate with your roommate the moment their night owl tendencies bother you. Are they loud? Are the lights too bright? Consider both your schedules and make a decent compromise. Sleeping masks and earplugs are optional.
The Passive-Aggressive One
If you see a ton of post-it notes on your roommate’s desk on day one, don’t be surprised if you have this roommate. The Passive-Aggressive roommate appears more often when you have more than one flatmate. To be honest, I was this roommate when I shared an apartment with three other girls. To this day, I don’t think they caught on that the sweet and quiet roommate was the one leaving passive-aggressive messages on their things.
How to deal: Personally, the passive-aggressive roommate is comedy gold for me. I get a kick out of their complaints and an even better kick when I’m the one doing the complaining. If they’re really bothering you, don’t be afraid to start a post-it war. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make a new friend over the things you hate.
The Golden Ticket
You’ve done it. You’ve found The Golden Ticket. You’ve obtained the roommate to stand above all roommates. Everyone has their perfect roommate, so there’s no clear cut example I can tell you. For example, my last roommate was simply the best. We hung out every now and then but gave each other space when we needed it. Both of us were night owls and screamed at skater boys from our window in middle of the night. I don’t think I’ll ever find a better roommate.
How to deal: Save their number. Friend them on Facebook. Keep in touch. You don’t meet a roommate like this every semester. If you’re lucky, you can room with them again next semester to avoid the other nine roommates on this list. If you’re even luckier, you’ll still hang out long after you receive your diploma.