5 Common Roommate Problems & Solutions

5 Common Roommate Problems & Solutions // eyeliner wings & pretty things
Living with someone else is never an easy feat. While there are plenty of ways to be a good roommate, there’s no way to avoid roommate problems entirely. Whether these problems are minor or major, they still exist and should be dealt with properly in order to avoid a total catastrophe. Let’s be real–you can print and sign all of the roommate contracts in the world but I promise it will most likely end up being a forlorn piece of paper that ends up getting lost behind your mini fridge or never looked at again. Roomie contracts are a great idea in theory, but aren’t most things?

On that note also, passive aggressive notes are never the answer either, and tolerating major problems for the sake of avoiding confrontation isn’t the solution either. Whether your roommate is a stranger from the other side of the world, an acquaintance or your best friend, here are some potential ways to solve common roommate problems.

1. Her side of the room is a total mess.

Oh, am I familiar with this one! I suggest bringing up the idea of a dorm room cleaning schedule. In fact, you can even say, “Hey, I saw this really pretty printable dorm cleaning schedule on Pinterest, would you want to try it? We can hang it on the back of the door!” It seems somewhat casual without saying, “GIRL, you’re a slob! Clean your shit!”

If the cleaning schedule doesn’t work, time to move onto Plan B. This is a bit more confrontational. When you’re both lounging about in the room, find a way to bring up the mess. If you’re feeling a little more deliberate and you’re a good actress, feel free to pretend to trip over one of her shoes/piles of clothes on the floor. It can spark the clean room discussion. That way might seem a little bit shady, but it works.

If you’re both in the room pandering around, talk to her. Avoid being entirely accusatory and be sure to tread lightly. The first route you can take is making the problem a “both of you” problem, which takes away the blame. Even if you know she’s the mess, you’re not calling her out. “Hey, (name), I know you’ve been really busy lately, but our room looks really messy, I think we should clean the room.” Hopefully this is followed by, “Yeah, you’re right, let’s do it now” and you can both work together to create a cleaner dorm.

Ultimately, you can call her out on being messy, but that’s more likely to lead to a negative reaction. Who likes being called out and accused of being a slob? No one. The best solution here is to place no blame and clean together. It might seem ridiculous for you to have to do cleaning when you’re not the messy one, but a clean room is a win-win for both of you.

2. She never leaves the room.

We all need some time to ourselves, it’s essential to keeping our sanity in check. If you have a roommate that’s got some hermit vibes and is almost always in the room, it is almost inevitable for you to start to get passive aggressive thoughts. There’s no nice way to say, “Can you leave the room for once? You’re always here,” so in this case, try alternate ways of solving the problem.

If your roommate is often in the room because she doesn’t have many people to socialize with, maybe suggest a club of interest to her. If she’s a lover of writing, suggest the newspaper or if she used to swim in high school, tell her you saw a sign for sign ups for the swim team and thought of her. Encourage her to join something without being overly pushy. This can be as simple as, “Oh! I saw a sign up sheet for the girl’s lacrosse team in the lounge and thought of you because you said you played in high school. You should try it, it sounds fun!” 

Don’t outwardly push your roommate out of the room, but you can offer the occasional nudge like mentioning how beautiful the weather is or how cozy the library is. If all fails and you don’t feel like pursuing a direct confrontation, utilize the time when your roommate is in class. Her schedule is now your alone time, take it or leave it.

3. She constantly has guests over.

If your roommate is either a social butterfly or the queen of sexiling you, this can be a huge problem. For this problem, being direct is the only way to solve it. Passive aggressiveness, such as the eye roll when she kicks you out or the door slamming when you leave are not going to solve anything. You don’t want to and can’t get her to become an anti-social roomie, but you can address the situation and potentially set guidelines.

For this problem, one of the most popular roommate problems, have a conversation when you’re both alone. Pinpoint the major reason all of these people in your dorm bothers you. If the main issue is being ambushed by guests when you’re in your pajamas or getting out of the shower, you can say something like, “Hey. I don’t mind when you have people over, but when you do can you text me first so I know there’ll be people here?” 

If your major problem is people being in the room really late, especially when you just want to go to bed you can say, “No big deal, but is it okay if after (TIME) you and your friends go to the lounge instead? I’m trying to go to bed early because of my morning classes.” or “Hey, it’s cool if you have people over, but can you just make sure they leave by (TIME) during the week?” 

If the problem is sexiling, make sure you’re fair to your roommate, too. If this is a super common occurrence, bring it up but if it’s a rare one, try to cut a little bit of slack. For the roomie who constantly sexiles you, suggest that they go to his room sometimes instead of yours.

4. She borrows your things without asking.

This issue is best tackled and brought up in the moment when you see your roommate doing this. If you walk in and find your roommate using your blow dryer, say, “Hey, I don’t mind if you borrow things, just ask me first, okay?” or if you really don’t want your roommate borrowing anything, just use a similar and slightly firmer line such as, “Hey, can you ask me before you borrow my things?” 

Honestly, your roomie shouldn’t touch your stuff without asking in the first place. If the borrowing of items without getting your consent persists, it might be time to get the RA to step in and take firmer action.

5. She controls the temperature of the room.

If you’re wearing sweatpants and a hoodie and shivering while your roomie is living life with the window wide open, intervene immediately. Don’t passive aggressively add on layers and glare at her out of the corner of your eye hoping she notices how cold you are. That’s the wrong way to handle the situation.

Politely say, “Hey, I know you’re hot but I’m freezing my ass off. Is it okay if I close the window? If you’re still hot you can borrow my mini fan.” If you’re sweating while your roommate is still cranking the heat, try throwing in a joke or getting right to the point. Personally, I’d suggest the joke approach. “Girl, it feels like Satan’s ass hole in here, is it ok if I lower the heat? You’re welcome to borrow some of my blankets if you’re still cold.” 


Also, remember that with all of these problems you have with your roommate, they might have the same problems with you. Be courteous and self-aware and make sure you don’t place all of the blame on your roomie–it takes two people to live together, not one. While you may be annoyed at your roomie for being messy, she might be just as annoyed with you for always having guests over. Be sure to have an open line of conversation rather than letting things build up. Even a simple, “This is so random, but I don’t want us to become passive aggressive roomies. Is there anything that I do that bothers you? If there is, please tell me so we can work on it.” is effective. It sounds like some Dr.Phil level shit, but in the long-run it’s better than letting an issue build up.

The *DJ Khaled voice* major key is to know when to confront the issue and when to fold. Some problems can be fixed without confrontation and others need some intervening. Use your judgement and, no matter what you do, don’t leave a passive aggressive sticky note.

What are some ways you deal with roommate problems? 

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