Roommates can be a lot of fun, but that doesn't mean your living situation is always going to run smoothly. In fact, I think it's safe to say that no roommate is perfect — but that's OK. Here are some of the most common roommate problems you're bound to run into, along with ways to resolve these problems quickly before things escalate (because they will... they always do). Nobody wants their dorm room to feel like a battle ground, and nobody should ever have to feel that way.
If you get stuck with a "bad roommate," don't let yourself get worked up. Worst comes to worst, you can always ask for a new roommate at the end of the quarter or semester. However, with the right tactics, you may be able to resolve your issues all on your own, saving you the awkwardness and hassle of changing roomies.
Learning how to live with somebody else is a valuable skill, so before you go running to your resident assistant or complain about your roommate to everybody you know, try your best to figure things out on your own. Always remember, nothing is permanent. A roommate who you don't immediately click with may end up teaching you more about yourself than you thought possible.
1. She has a different sleeping schedule than you
Some people are morning larks, some people are night owls — there's nothing wrong with either, unless you put them both together in the same minuscule dorm room for nine months of the year. The fix? Everybody should be able to have as much sleep as they need (and for some of us, that's a lot!), so talk to your roommate about going to a common space area on campus if she's making too much noise while you're trying to get some shut eye. The library, study rooms, student union, and dorm room common area are all great options for those looking for a friendly area to work. And if you're the one who likes to stay up all hours of the night? Well, now you know just where to go.
2. She's either a neat freak, or she's a total slob
So your roommate likes to keep things clean, huh? As much as neat freaks get under my skin, I think that if you're sharing a room with another person, you should do your best to keep the dorm straightened up — at least on your side. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard, but it only takes a couple minutes to throw your dirty laundry into a bin, and make sure you're emptying your trash and cleaning your dishes before you go to bed at night. On the other hand, if your roommate is a total slob, it might help to delegate chores. That way, she knows what tasks she's responsible for, and she can't get mad at you for calling her out when she doesn't live up to her side of the bargain.
3. She's always bringing over her boyfriend
This is a common problem in college. Young love can be overwhelming at times — but just because your roommate can't keep her hands off of her new beau doesn't mean that you should have to be a witness to it 24/7. The solution here is simple. Talk to your roommate, and let her know how you feel. If she's a decent person, she'll understand. If she objects and you continue to feel uncomfortable all the time, talk to your R.A. You're paying for the dorm room — your roommate's boyfriend isn't. They both need to respect that.
4. She uses your things without permission
Unless the both of you act like total sisters and have a "borrow what you need" type of relationship, it's never cool to use something of your roommate's without permission. The first time it happens, talk to your roommate. You shouldn't have to hide things or lock stuff up in your own bedroom, so if your roommate continues to use your things without asking you first, tell her you'll need to switch roommates if it doesn't stop.
5. She has poor personal hygiene
A roommate with poor personal hygiene habits can be a real stickler. You don't want to offend her, but at the same time, a young adult woman needs to be cleaning herself on the regular. Don't start Febreze-ing all of her things when she's not in the room. Instead, make her a gift basket of nice shower gels, and bring up in casual conversation how the room has been smelling a bit stale and stuffy, lately. If the situation doesn't improve, this is another instance where it's OK to involve your R.A.
6. She's never around
The fact of the matter is, you can't force your roommate to be friends with you, and if she has her own busy social life, it's likely that she's not going to be around that often. The best thing to do is to try and build your own friendship with her. Schedule lunches, study dates, and hangout time, even if it's not in the actual dorm room. Chances are, if the two of you become great friends, she'll want to be around more often.
7. She's always around
The opposite could also be true — you could have a roommate who never leaves the dorm, and that can be a real pain. However, it's just not right to try and kick somebody out of their own safe space. In this case, try to find some other places around campus where you like to hang out. The beauty of a large college campus is that there are literally dozens of rooms not being used at any one time.
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