I can't count the number of times I said I hate my roommate in college. The girl was weird. She would wake up in the middle of the night and start talking to herself in the dark (talk about creepy).
And don't get me started on her mood swings. She woke up in the worst of moods. I would talk to her, and she would remain silent.
So one day, after many mornings of receiving the silent treatment, I decided to find out if I had done anything to offend her. I will never forget her response. She told me -- wait for it -- that I should read her face every morning and figure out if she is in the mood to talk (wait, what?)
Well, these are just a few stories about my roommate from hell, but the experience was invaluable. I mastered a few tricks on how to deal with the "I hate my roommate" situation.
And my current roommate and I are currently living the dream (at least I hope it's the same for her).
I Hate My Roommate: 12 Common Roommate Dilemmas and How to Solve Them
One of the worst things about living on-campus is that you can't choose who to live with because roommates are assigned randomly. If you're lucky, you'll end up living with someone who will be your best friend forever.
But sadly, the opposite is most common. The majority of people don't get along with their roommates for various reasons.
So if you're currently thinking, "I hate my roommate," and you don't have a choice but to stick it out, you'll need to learn how to solve the common roommate dilemmas.
These tips will do wonders for your sanity. So let's jump right in.
1. We're not compatible, so now what?
When was the first time you realized you didn't like your roommate? For me, it was the first day of freshman year. My sister was helping me unpack as I shared my excitement of experiencing college.
I remember telling her how excited I was to meet all the hot seniors. My roommate, who was obviously eavesdropping, interrupted our conversation and told me, "how about you prioritize your studies."
That's the moment I know we were never going to get along. All I could think of was how much I hate my roommate.
Compatibility issues are common among roommates because you both share different opinions, cultures, and backgrounds.
The best way to deal with it is to talk about it. Find out what the other person likes and doesn't like and share your likes and dislikes as well. Afterward, make an effort to accommodate each other's interests.
Also, go into the situation with an open mind. Chances are there are things they don't like about you.
2. The biggest dilemma of all
One of the biggest challenges you'll face with almost all roommates you live with is who does the chores. No one wants to clean up after their roommate while they lie on their bed doing nothing.
However, pulling all the weight and complaining about it won't solve the problem. You and your roommate need to come up with a system that works for both of you and split your chores evenly.
It's hard to quarrel about chores when everyone knows their duties. So bring that up the first few days you start living together.
3. Coming to terms with your different tastes and preferences
When you first move into your dorm, chances are you'll want to decorate it to make it feel more like home. But you may face a problem. Your roommate may not agree with your decor choices and may also want to add their personal touch to the room.
So how do you solve this dilemma? You have two options. First, you can choose to do it as a team. Agree to decorate the room together, taking into consideration each other's tastes and preferences. The result will be a room that you both love.
You also have the option of each of you decorating your part of the room.
With this approach, you both get what you want, and you can do it anytime you like because you won't have to consult. However, there may not be any cohesion in your decorations.
4. A roommate who needs to learn the art of compromise
Different people value different things. And when you start living with a roommate, you'll realize this.
One person may prefer to go to bed early and study in the morning, and another may find it best to burn the midnight oil.
In some cases, you may find that you and your roommate have conflicting schedules. One may have nighttime classes and another day time classes. In such situations, it means one of you will be sleeping during the day.
And sometimes it might be something as simple as one not being able to sleep with the lights on or not being comfortable sharing certain things.
The simplest way to deal with such differences is to compromise. If your roommate has to attend night time classes, allow them to enjoy peaceful sleep during the day by not bringing your friends over.
Once you start compromising on small matters, you'll find it easier to live together. Who knows, you may even go from I hate my roommate to I love her (okay, let's not get carried away.)
5. When privacy seems like a big ask
Another common dilemma among roommates is the issue of privacy. Since you both have equal rights to the room, it can be challenging to have some much needed alone time.
For instance, if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you may want to have them over some time. But this can prove impossible if your roommate doesn't seem to get the hint.
And let's face it, having that conversation with them can be really awkward.
But here's the thing, if you need privacy for whatever reason, the only way to get it is to talk to your roommate. And don't forget to grant them some alone time when they need it as well. It's a quid pro quo kind of situation.
6. Expenses: to split or not to split
A dorm room is not just the place you sleep. It's your temporary home when you're in college. For this reason, you may want to make it as functional as possible.
It's not practical for you and your roommate to have separate appliances and utensils, especially if you plan to be preparing some meals together. The only way to fix this dilemma is to discuss who buys what.
It's also advisable to determine who takes what when you move out of the dorm room. When you're both in agreement, you not only lower the financial burden, but you'll also be more comfortable to purchase things you use together.
7. Setting clear boundaries with your roommate
As we mentioned, people are different in terms of personality, tastes, and preference, among other things. So it's not unusual for you and your roommate to cross each other's boundaries without realizing it.
You may think it's okay for you to leave post-it notes reminding your roommate to get their chores done, but to them, this is a passive-aggressive move.
At the same time, you may be okay sharing your slippers and other personal belongings, but your roommate may not be a fan of it.
To establish a healthy living environment, you both need to communicate and respect each other's boundaries even when you don't understand them.
8. Culture clash and how to deal with it
A college is a diverse place, which means you can get a roommate from any part of the world. Cultural differences can be hard to deal with, especially if you and your roommate don't understand each other due to language barriers.
You may also find that the other person is comfortable doing certain things due to their culture that you're not. Living in such a situation may make you feel uncomfortable. But there's a solution.
One option is to talk to your roommate and explain why you're uncomfortable. You may come to an understanding and get through the awkward phase.
If you've tried everything and still can't deal with the issue effectively, it may be best to ask for a roommate re-assignment.
Off-Campus Living Situation: How to Handle an Unbearable Roommate
If you live on campus, you've probably thought, "I hate my roommate, but things would be different if I lived off-campus." You're not alone. Most students believe living off-campus is better because you get to choose who you live with.
But this couldn't be further from the truth. While living with friends is fun, things can get ugly very fast because living together reveals their true colors, which you may not like.
Here are some of the dilemmas you may face:
9. Finding the right apartment
There's a great chance you and your roommate will have conflicting opinions about what's important in an apartment. You may also not agree on rent or the location of the apartment.
If you don't settle this issue from the get-go, it may be a problem down the line. You don't want your roommate pulling the "I didn't even want to move into this apartment" remark every time you argue.
So make sure you discuss it and come up with a plan on how to search for the apartment if you have conflicting schedules.
10. Room allocation
Once you've found your dream apartment, another issue may come up. Who gets which room? The chances are that both of you will want the spacious room with a perfect view. But the question is, who will compromise?
This dilemma can be tough to overcome. But there's a way to fix it. Consider giving the first choice to the person who finds the apartment. Doing so will act as a great motivator for apartment hunting and will prevent any struggle over the best room.
If this doesn't work, consider giving the person paying more of the rent the bigger or best room -- that's fair.
11. The big one: Who signs the lease?
Everyone would like to avoid having their name on a lease because when things get ugly, it will be their responsibility.
However, since you'll be living and doing everything else together, it doesn't make sense for one person to take all the responsibility.
Therefore, have the conversation and determine who's willing to take on the risk. If both of you are unwilling to have your name on the lease, decide to include both your names.
That way, everyone has equal responsibility in case anything happens.
12. Guarantor: Who should take responsibility?
In some cases, your landlord may require you to give them a guarantor's name. A guarantor is someone who co-signs the apartment. They're responsible for paying for things like rent, repairs, and anything else you owe if you default on payments.
Deciding who will take responsibility for the guarantor is problematic because it's a huge responsibility.
So, the best way to go about it is for each of you to list their guarantor. By doing this, you'll both be carrying an equal measure of the load.
Still Can't Deal? Get Outta There! Because, Still, I Hate My Roommate
If you've tried everything and you and your roommate still can't stand each other, it may be time to leave. You may need to talk to your resident advisor and explain the situation to get assigned to a new room.
However, keep in mind that your new roommate may not be an "angel" either. So make sure you're sure about your decision before seeing the RA.
Have you gone through the " I hate my roommate" phase of college? How did you handle it? Please share your experience in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you.