College is supposed to be the best time of your life. At least, that is what your parents say. But, sometimes it can be a bit too much. Moving away from home, new environment, trying to adapt, handling the workload… You might feel like you are in over your head. If you add to that problem with your roommate, well you are already on your way home, aren’t you? Well, why don’t we try to avoid that situation, shall we? Dealing with a difficult college roommate doesn’t need to be the end of the world. In fact, it can be a great learning opportunity.
We have previously written about different types of student accommodation. You can try to pick what suits you best, but one way or another you are going to live with a roommate. That means that you might have to deal with a lot of things that are new and unfamiliar. More often than not you are not going to know the person that you are going to share everything with. What if your roommate is messy? How should you behave if your roommate is always there? What if they really like using your stuff? It doesn’t matter what the problem is, the solution is almost always the same. So, let’s see how you can overcome this problem.
1.Dealing with a difficult college roommate is much easier if you set up some ground rules
Before you even have a fight that deteriorates the relationship, try to set up some ground rules. They should cover cleaning the house, paying for joint expenses, having people over etc. Your argument would be much easier to make if you have some basis, to begin with. The important thing to have in mind is that you need to respect the rules as well. Perhaps your roommate is messy, but he hates how you always talk loud on Skype. Their problem is no smaller. Try to be tolerant and do your part, so you can expect from them to do theirs. Put the rules somewhere visible and remind them if it is necessary.
2. Your first option should always be to talk to your roommate
Although it might not always be easy, this needs to be your first step. Avoiding the conflict will get you nowhere. We hope that sometimes things will resolve on its own, but they rarely do. That is why you shouldn’t take your time and hope for the best. As soon as the problems start and you see that things are not getting better – talk to your roommate. Try to see things from their perspective, and to understand what they are going through. They might even have an explanation for their behavior. Or, perhaps, they got so wrapped in their new college life, that they are not even aware that they are hurting you in some way. Be open minded and understanding. But do this once. Dealing with a difficult college roommate is worse if you keep letting him off the hook.
3. If the problem persists, face them with some serious consequences
Talking is your first option, but it’s not always enough. Some people don’t give that much importance to rules and agreements. Not all of us are the same. If necessary, you need to be firm and strict. If the problem persists, dealing with a difficult college roommate can turn into a nightmare. The important thing is to keep your cool. Losing your temper will get you nowhere. We know that is not an easy task, so we bring you some help. Read in this article how successful people manage to keep their cool when dealing with stressful situations.
While you are in college there is a lot of learning you will do outside of your classroom. Dealing with a difficult college roommate is one of them. Why is this important? Because later in life you will be faced with a lot of people you might not get along with. You will use the skills you obtained in college when dealing with them. It will be much easier if you already had to do it.
If your roommate doesn’t respect the rules and isn’t affected with talks, perhaps you should pull out big guns. Don’t be so serious but set up a deadline, or some sort of limit. Make them aware of the consequences of their actions. None of you are obliged to live together forever. If they don’t respect you, they will loose their place. Make sure that they are aware of the conditions, and keep track on whether or not they respect it.
4. Don’t be passive aggressive, mean and vindictive
Your roommate sucks, but that is not the reason to degrade your behavior. Leaving mean notes, throwing their stuff away, embarrassing them in front of their friends… All of that is childish, and more importantly, will not get you anywhere near your desired outcome. Yes, it is fairly easy to resort to such tactics. But unless you want your roommate to hate you, we suggest you don’t resort to these tactics. Don’t lose your dignity over something so simple.
Dealing with a difficult college roommate might not be the most pleasant experience out there, but you can learn a lot from it. Every challenging situation gives us an opportunity to grow. College life is filled with alternatives – to rise or to fall. If you choose to be less of a person than you should be, you will be the one that loses.
Resolving conflict is a skill you will need in your life so, instead of being so negative about it, use this as an opportunity. Try out different tactics, develop your communication skills and build your intrapersonal intelligence. Practice how to keep your cool and how to handle stress in a healthier way. If all else fails, look for a new roommate. But no one can say that you didn’t at least try.