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Dealing with a difficult roommate

By Edited Apr 25, 2016 4 6

Anyone who's ever lived with another person knows that it's hard to adjust to having someone else in your space. Roommates can be loud and rude, they can conflict your schedule or hurt your feelings. Take it from someone who knows a bad roommate when she sees one. I've lived in a pig sty with a girl who is constantly bringing home people I don't know and asking me to leave so she can "spend some time" with them for almost a year now. We are polar opposites. Everything from religion to school (we're college roommates) to washing dishes leads to a fight. However, we have learned to co-exist for the sake of getting through the rest of the year. Here's how we did it: First, get a mediator. If you are in a college setting like we are, that is why you have an RA, take advantage of having them there. It is important to get a third person that is going to be mature and unbiased; in other words, DON'T GET YOUR ROOMMATE'S BEST FRIEND TO MEDIATE. The purpose of the mediator is to let you say what you need to say in a controlled environment. In the presence of the mediator only, you can share your feelings about behaviors that bother you. Two things must be understood. 1) This is not an attack on your roommate, it is a time for you BOTH to share your feelings about one another and 2) anything said in the presence of the mediator does not leave the room. It stays there because if it is brought up elsewhere, it will lead to a fight (trust me, I've been there a million times). Second, each person must make a list of things that absolutely have to be changed, i.e. if your roommate doesn't go to bed until 4 am and plays her music so loud it feels like you're at a concert, you can request that she wear headphones late at night. These requests should be polite (it's best to take the high road in this situation) and reasonable (your roommate will resent you more if you make outrageous requests of her). Third, you must come up with consequences if these changes are not met. For example, if my roommate or I break our contract, we first have a meeting with our RA. Then if the problem persists and cannot be talked out, we receive a final warning. If the problem does not stop there, the roommate causing the issue will be asked to leave. (The risk of losing one's home is usually enough to make that person follow the changes). Now, a few things just to wrap up. There will be things you don't like about your roommate… that's okay. You don't have to be best friends with them. You will find that you are very capable of adjusting to other people's lifestyles and things that bother you initially will eventually fade as you get used to them, so don't run and find a mediator as soon as you move in, give it some time. Another thing. Always question your actions, how are they perceived by your roommate? If you fly of the handle with her, she will be much more likely to resent you and make living with her difficult. It is always best to keep your cool, if you need to vent, hit the gym and beat the punching bag or go grab breakfast with your best friend. Best of luck with your rooming situation!!!!



Apr 22, 2010 3:48pm
just space out paragraphs so it's easier to ppl to read ;)
Apr 22, 2010 4:00pm
Thanks, this is my first article and I'm still learning. I had them spaced out originally but messed it up when I pasted the article onto the site!
Apr 22, 2010 4:21pm
ur welcome... And if you need any tips, I'll be glad to help you out ;)
Apr 23, 2010 11:46am
How I wish I'd seen your article earlier! My granddaughter, a freshman, got a girl who is Bi-Polar and very mentally ill. Plus she has been spoiled by her parents who thought teaching any discipline at all was punishment. Schools often use no sense in assigning opposite types, in fact, justify that as "a learning experience." Some R.A.'s 'can't hear anything wrong" even when this girl is having tantrums and slamming doors.
So no help. The semester is almost over now so too late to do anything even if we could from a thousand miles away. Some schools sure charges a lot of money to slam good students into working harder to "just live" -- all while trying to find a hiding place to do their studying and homework.
Yours sounds very much like this. But Roomie didn't stop you from being a fine writer, which springs from a good mind. I hope to read more of yours.
Apr 23, 2010 3:02pm
Thank you for the writing complement! I'm sorry to hear your granddaughter is having a hard time. I can relate. Tell her to look to Christ and have a great end of the semester!!!
Jul 14, 2010 9:44pm
Excellent article! Very well put together and well written. Very nice writing style! A+!

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