What to Do When You Don’t Get Along With Your Roommate

What to Do When You Don't Get Along With Your Roommate - Roommate Problems and Solutions - Roommates

Whether you choose them or not, sometimes your roommates are the worst. Or, sometimes they’re not the worst, but you two just don’t mesh and can’t find common ground. It’s more common than you think, and it’s not the end of the world. There are so many things to worry about in college, and your living situation plays such a big role in your happiness. So if you and your roommate don’t get along and you’ve got a lot of roommate problems, read on to see if we can solve them.

1. Nip it in the Bud

As soon as an issue comes up, approach it with grace. It’s better to bring up an issue or conflict sooner, rather than later. The more you wait, the more tensions can build and the longer the issue will go on. While this won’t always fix the problem, it’s certainly more productive. Plus, when you eventually approach the RA, he or she will absolutely ask if you’ve tried to solve the problem one on one.

My guide 5 Common Roommate Problems & Solutions could be incredibly helpful in this case. Overall, make sure you approach the issue in a double ownership way. Avoid accusations and taking no responsibility. Instead of “We need to talk. What’s your problem with me?” or “You’re really difficult to live with!” try “Can we talk? I feel like we haven’t been on the same page.”

2. Speak One on One

As I mentioned, bring up the issue as soon as it arises. And, have a one on one conversation. Bringing someone else into the room can cause tensions and feel like an attack. Plus, bringing the RA as soon as a problem arises can come across as inconsiderate. Give you and your roommate a chance to work it out on your own. Since you share a room together, it shouldn’t be tough to have time alone.

It’s important to share your side of the story, but also to get theirs. You never know how your roommate might be feeling or what you may doing that upsets them. Keep the conversation on common ground and avoid turning it into an intervention-style roast.

3. Scrap the Contract

I know most RAs and college websites will tell you to do this, but let me be clear: roommate contracts are useless pieces of paper that will eventually end up crumbled behind your mini fridge. My first roommate and I had a contract with cleaning schedules and rules and, guess what? They didn’t get followed.

Rather than signing an arbitrary piece of paper, have a conversation. This isn’t guaranteed to work either, but it can help provide an explanation as to why you and your roommate want to set certain guidelines.

4. If This Fails, Approach the RA 

After you’ve tried to resolve an issue, visit the RA in person. Sometimes messages via Facebook or text can lose some of what you’re trying to get across. Explain the problems and ask for his or her advice. RAs generally don’t want to step in, but sometimes it’s necessary when you two can’t work it out. Do your best to explain both sides of the story and try to avoid entirely villainizing your roommate.

Keep in mind that sometimes this can worsen a situation. Some people don’t take too kindly to their roommate complaining to an RA behind their back. Don’t let that stop you from speaking to the RA, but do remember the RA isn’t a cure-all. 

5. Be Mindful of Who You Complain To

Complaining is a wonderful way to let off steam, but be mindful of who you’re speaking to when you complain about your roommate. never know who this person is friends with or who they know. If and when this gets back to your roommate, the situation will absolutely worsen, trust me.

6. Avoid Stooping Lower

If your roommate does something to bother you, don’t counter it by doing something to bother them. Hold the high ground, no matter how difficult it may be. When it comes time to speak to the RA, there won’t be anything to use against you. Plus, taking the high ground is generally the move when it comes to any conflict.

7. If Those Fail, Consider Changing Rooms

Some things simply can’t be resolved and sometimes two people just don’t work together. Where you live should be comfortable and safe. If you don’t feel either of those ways, look into changing your living situation. Tell your roommate if and when you will be changing rooms (it’s courteous and she’ll find out eventually). This is usually a last resort, but it can seriously change your college experience. Most colleges offer roommate and room changes each semester, so absolutely look into it.

8. Find Other Places of Comfort

Once you’ve gotten to the point where issues will not be resolved and you’re in the process of changing rooms or roommates, try to spend time elsewhere. Find new places on campus where you enjoy studying and lounging. It can be helpful to refresh your energy and find comfort outside of your tense room. This could be a friend’s room, the lounge, the library or even the gym. You don’t need to be confined to your room.

9. Keep It off of Social Media

Again, you never know who could be viewing that tweet or Snapchat. Avoid sharing roomie drama all over social media. Remember, the best way to solve the problem is by one on one conversation. If that fails, try getting the RA. And if that fails? It might be time to remove yourself from the situation by finding a new roomie or a new place to live.

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Sometimes you and your roommate are like fire and ice. The best thing you can do is to try to make things better and address the problem, but even still, that doesn’t always work. At a certain point, it’s easiest to just remove yourself from the situation and move somewhere else. Also keep in mind, if you’ve got a seriously dangerous or wild roommate who makes you feel unsafe, speak to someone immediately.

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  • These are all such great tips, Paige! There’s so many ways roommate drama can turn messy. I feel like as a junior, I’ve gotten a better grasp of how to handle these situations, but a reminder like this post is always welcomed. Thanks for sharing these, girl!


    • Thanks for reading, Shenga! I entirely agree, now that I’m a senior I’ve noticed roommate drama doesn’t go away, but I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with it!

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