Some people have all the luck when it comes to college roommates; they move in and connect with a perfect stranger on the first day of the semester, and they’re set for the next four years. Most of us, though, have a bad roommate situation at least once in our college careers. The perfect stranger might be your complete opposite, or rooming with your high school best friend might turn out to be a pretty terrible idea after all. Either way, these solid strategies for dealing with an annoying roommate might help you turn a nasty situation into something great – or at least livable.
1. Set boundaries. Good boundaries are important in any relationship, but they’re most important for people you’re living with. If you can’t stand your roommate’s sloppy habits or tendency to listen to loud music when you’re studying, talk about it. Chances are that you’re doing some annoying things, too, but you if you can both agree to boundaries, you’ll get along much better.
2. Rearrange the room. Sometimes setting boundaries needs to be physical, too. If you need your own space, try to split the room in half. You don’t have to draw a line down the middle like you did with your little sister fifteen years ago, but you can create a space of your own with some creative arranging.
3. Create a cleaning schedule. One of the main problems many roommate pairs have is deciding how and when to clean. Most likely, one of you will prefer things neater than the other, but if one roommate is a total slob and the other is the king or queen of tidy, it can be a huge problem. Instead of freaking out about it, draw up a weekly cleaning list. Make sure you both agree to it, and if you need to, sign it. That way, if one roommate isn’t keeping up his or her end of the bargain, the other has a document to say, “This is what you’re supposed to be doing. Please do it!”
4. Vacate the premises. If your roommate is just too annoying to handle or if she doesn’t respond to any of these other tricks, just try getting out of your room as much as possible. Take your books to the library to study, and find friends to hang out with in the evenings. If getting out of the situation is all you can do, then you should just do it.
5. Let go of the little things. Some things that bother you about your roommate are legitimate, but some of them are things you probably just need to get over. If you find yourself freaking out every time there’s a glob of toothpaste in the sink or your roomie’s cell randomly rings at midnight (if this doesn’t happen often, anyway), just learn to let go. Living with another person is tough, but it can be a learning experience if you learn to loosen up.
6. Become a better roommate. You may be able to fix some of your roommate issues by becoming a better roommate yourself. Be the person who is willing to go the extra mile out of consideration for your roomie, and you may be surprised at what you get in return. Even if things don’t change on your roommate’s part, becoming a better roommate will make you become a better person, and what’s college for if not growth like this?
Crystal is the owner of GreekForMe – a licensed fraternity and sorority Greek merchandise In her free time, she volunteers at her kids’ school and also actively supports Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. store.
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