7 Ways To Deal With A Rude Roommate, Because There's No Guarantee You'll Get Along
When you got your college roommate assignment, you immediately went to stalk (er, "research") her name on Facebook, and felt relieved when she seemed to be pretty cool. But, a Facebook profile can only tell you so much — there's a good chance that three weeks in, you might realize the two of you aren't the most compatible people on earth, and then scramble to figure out how to deal with having a rude roommate. Since you're not going to get along with everyone you meet, it's a big possibility. Imagine picking out a random name from the junior class of your high school yearbook, and then having to share a small space with them — the same is true with college roommates. You never really know what you're going to get.
Even if you're the most even keeled person on the block, fights and misunderstandings do happen. Heck, they even happen with people you know and love, so they'll likely happen with a roommate who you've known for just a couple weeks. Dealing with a difficult person is definitely a life lesson — you'll have to learn how to navigate relationships with plenty of them in your future, so consider this to be just another part of your education.
Unless things are getting dangerous (as in, she's threatening you, and you sleep every night with one eye open), here are a few methods to deal with a rude roommate that you can try before consulting your RA, or putting in the paperwork for a room reassignment.
1. Try to sit down and set up a list of rules.
This sounds boring, but it will help a ton in the long run. Maybe you're doing things that are annoying her as well, and you just don't know it. Communication is the key to any sort of relationship, and if you get together and develop a few "house rules," you'll be less likely to step on any toes. Maybe she doesn't know that listening to the same Katy Perry song on repeat is making you go insane, because you never told her. Maybe she's not even realizing that her laundry is slowly creeping onto your side of the room. College is almost always the first time that people live without parental rule, so it's possible that these are all just first-time learning errors, and not something that's intentionally being done to piss you off.
2. Get coffee together, and try to get to know her a little.
You might not be compatible roommates, but maybe you can at least find some common ground as friends. If you invite her for coffee and really try to get to know her, maybe the reason for some of her reactions and behaviors will become more apparent. Maybe she's a little less tolerant of you because she's had to share a room with a younger sibling for the past few years, and just wants the ability to feel free. Or, maybe she's really hating the college experience, and is accidentally taking it out on you. Listen, since you never know what you'll learn.
3. Find a place on campus where you can get a little peace.
If you feel like she's never leaving the dorm room, there are plenty of places on campus that you, yourself, can venture to for a little bit of peace and quiet. Even best friends can't handle 24/7 time together in a small space. Just like vacations help you refocus after exams, time away from the room will help you relax after suffering from roommate problems. Plus, it's a great way to explore the campus a little bit and maybe meet some new people.
4. Tell her when she does something you appreciate.
The phrase "kill them with kindness" is quite a good one — and if you make a point to voice when she's being kind of cool, she'll appreciate the fact that you noticed. Like, if she's totally fine with you hosting your visiting BFF, or if she gives you the last granola bar out of her box, that's worthy of some praise. It's a baby step towards a better relationship.
5. Be kind when you address what's bothering you.
If you're the kind of person who loves keeping the peace, you might be afraid to speak up when something's annoying you. But when that bottle of rage overflows, it'll lead to a messy, angry confrontation. Don't explode on her, and make sure to tell her if something's upsetting you from the start. Make sure your tone isn't accusatory or angry, and she'll likely respond to you better.
6. Make sure you're clear about what she can, and can't, borrow.
If your roommate is rude by totally borrowing your stuff all the time (and returning it maybe half of the time), be clear that you're fine with sharing if she asks you way ahead of time. If there's something you just don't want her to touch, or if she's really not getting the point that your closet isn't her closet, consider getting a lock box to protect your important valuables. At least you can have some peace of mind while you head to class.
7. Set up a financial system, if you're living in a place where you both pay rent.
The "non-payer" is one of the rudest roommates of all, since they keep you worrying about whether or not the electricity is going to get shut off. If you live off-campus, there's a chance that you'll have a bit more space, but more shared responsibilities. Asking someone about money will always be difficult and awkward, but it has to be done.
If your roommate is flaky with money, try to sit her aside and work out a plan that'll ensure she's paying her fair share. If rent is due on the first, but she gets paid on the fifth, make sure she's saving up weeks before. If she's having problems with managing money, maybe you'll want to have her make payments throughout the month, so that the bigger amount doesn't hit all at once. Just make sure you don't use the phrase "I'll cover your share," since that'll give her an excuse to not make payment a priority. You'll have way more issues ahead if you cave on this early on.
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