How to Deal with a Bad Roommate

When I packed up all my dorm gear and hoped in my mom's car for the 400 mile drive to my university I was only worried about one thing, my two new roommates. Yes, I was one of the unlucky few that had to share a shoe box sized room with two strangers, and to make it more difficult, they were best friends both named Jessica. And no, neither one of them went my Jessie or Jess, just Jessica After just a few days I fell in love with both of them, but I was lucky. My next door neighbor spent her entire first semester begging campus housing to reassign her, which never happened.

College roommates are a hit or miss, and while most people won't be terrible, eventually you will get housed with someone who finds a way to push your buttons like no one ever has before. Instead of freaking out until you eventually hate coming home at the end of the day, take steps to fix the problem on your own, and if that doesn't work call in some reinforcements.

First, calm down. 

I am very guilty of freaking out in the moment and going off on people, but hey, I had my reasons. Instead of doing this take time to relax because no one wants to be criticized by someone who is throwing insults at them that probably have nothing to do with the situation. Even if your roommate is a loud slob who never flushes the toilet, stay on topic girl, or at least don't bring it up till you dial down your feelings.

Get some space. 

You don't need to pack up and move out but I do recommend you not spend all this time around someone you cant stand, especially if they have no clue what's bothering you. Whether you get away for a few hours or a few days, space gives you an opportunity to calm down and think over what's bothering you. Plus, being surrounded by the person who is bothering you in ways they aren't even aware of is only going to annoy you more.

Related Post: A Complete Guide to Every Roommate You Will Have in College

Set up a time to talk. 

The worse feeling in the world is when someone corners you with a conversation you weren't ready to have. Letting your roommate know that you want to sit down and talk about xyz gives them a chance to gather their thoughts and think about any issues they might have as well. Setting up a specific time means neither one of you can back out or act is if you have no idea where all these opinions are coming from.

List what is on your mind. 

Writing down what exactly is causing you to be unhappy in your living situation will help you realize what doesn't really need to be mentioned and what thing bothers you the most. Plus, if you're just listing things as you go, you're much more likely to bring up things that are either out of their control or you have no right to ask of them. Make a list, it will keep the talk on topic.

Share a problem, but also provide a solution. 

This isn't applicable to everything but more often than not it's a step towards a resolution. If your roommate loves to have people over and you can't stand having company, instead of complaining about the constant visitors suggest that their be a set time that you are okay with having people over. By doing this you both can come to a resolution in that moment instead of saying you'll figure it out but never actually do anything about it.

Related Post: The 10 Most Effective Ways to Help You Study Last Minute

Be ready to receive criticism. 

Oh you thought you were the perfect roommate? You're not. Whether you lose way too much hair or have a bad habit of leaving your purse by the door, I'm sure you annoying quirks too. By letting your roommate know you want to talk about some issues you're having you are also giving them an opportunity to speak on the things bothering them. So listen up!

If nothing changes, reach out to your resident adviser. 

If after all this nothing changes, there's no shame in calling in a third party to help solve your issue. Sure your RA can't make your roommate talk on the phone less, but if your problem is something larger or makes your living situation undesirable, they definitely can step in.

If you live in the real world where there isn't an RA down the hall and your landlord would slam the door in your face if you ever told him your roomies won't do their dishes, good luck girl, I've been there. If you have crappy roommates and are living in an apartment/house with people you found on Craigslist, forget everything I said and just get even. Also maybe look into a new living situation.

Did you have any roommate drama while you were in college? Leave me your best horror story and I'll share one of mine!


  1. I always have to remember despite thinking I am easy to live with, I have my quirks that I am positive annoy my roommates too! Great post!!
    Miss Olivia Says

    1. oh, I'm a slob so not judgement here! I think as long as we can take a criticism any living situation should be manageable.

  2. I've had some pretty terrible roommates in my day, but also some really great ones. I think having that experience prepares you for the real world. In life, especially in the work life, you have to deal with a lot of duds. Having dealt with some lousy roommates prepares you for how to respond to them. It also makes you appreciate the good roommates when you them. :)

    1. almost all of my roommates have become good friends of mine, even the ones that drove me crazy at time. And yes, living with strangers definitely prepares you for having to deal with people who you can only wish you could freak out on at work (or home)