I Don’t Like You: Roommates from “You Know Where”
You can read a thousand articles on how to get along with your roommates—about how to deal with them taking your stuff and your food without asking, about how to deal with them hogging the shower and never doing their chores.
But what could ever prepare you for the roommate that you just can’t learn to like and that just plain doesn’t like you? A thousand books on keeping your temper and keeping your heart at peace won’t prepare you for what’s in store when the war breaks out unexpectedly, but here’s a couple of things you can do to keep the flames in check and stop the fire before it brings the building down.
Figure out who the problem is
Reality is often tough to deal with. Nobody likes to admit that they’re the cause of the problem. But when you’re dreading the meet-and-greet with your roommate in the morning as you both head to the bathroom and you are constantly looking for reasons to go to bed early or to not come home at all, you need to assess where the problem lies. If your roommate is disrespectful of your belongings, your culture, your religion or your sexual orientation, or has a terrible lack of hygiene, bad sleep habits and bad study habits, it’s pretty clear where the problem lies…but remember that you are as annoying to them as they are to you.
If you’re getting a new roommate every semester, it might be time to start thinking about what you can do to be more flexible with others. They can’t all be bad—okay, if your luck is terrible, then possibly—and it’s more likely that you’ve set unrealistic expectations for what you want from a roommate. You can’t expect them to have the same religion, values, preferences, study habits, sleep schedule, friends and personality that you have. Real life isn’t an Ayn Rand novel where all drones live happily together and the dissenters are tracked like beasts in the woods.
Have a contingency plan
When you get a roommate from…you know where…it’s best to have a contingency plan already in place. If you are the lead lessee on the lease, make sure to attach a rider that your new roommate must sign, stating that if the situation is not working for you, you may require them to vacate (and make sure it’s signed and notarized). Making sure the rules are clearly outlined prior to the move-in will help keep things running smooth. Note: If you live in the dorms, get on a waiting list for a single or the honors dorms.
While no amount of books can prepare you for every situation that comes up when you’re living with a terrible roommate, it’s best to know everything you can in advance about how to handle poor living arrangements. Check out Linda Fiore’s “The College Roommate from Hell: Skills and Strategies for Surviving College With a Problem Roommate.”
When you are looking for a new roommate that doesn’t “stink,” check out www.NoStinkyRoommates.com.