6 tips to deal with a difficult college roommate

Moving into the college dorms usually means having a roommate. Many college students won’t know much about their roommate until they have to share a dorm with them.

If you’re lucky, like me, you’ll get along fine with your college roommate, but sometimes the two of you just can’t get along. Here are some college tips to get along with your roommate.

1. Know you have a problem.

Sometimes it’s very easy to tell that the two of you will not get along. Other times it might not be so clear cut. Communication is key. Always, the first step should be to simply start a conversation. However, you might have a problem when: “Your roommate may not want to talk to you, may leave the room when you enter, or may be complaining to friends about you. Your roommate may become annoyed with you over little things. If you start to notice these things, you should not ignore them. If a problem is addressed early, there is a better chance of it being worked out amicably,” suggested a writer in “Room Transfer Requests” posted at Sarah Lawrence College.

2. Set boundaries.

Even good friends need boundaries and rules to keep the peace. “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 if you can both agree to boundaries, you’ll get along much better,” said a writer at CollegeTimes.co in “6 Ways To Deal With An Annoying Roommate,” posted January 8, 2010.

3. Create some rules that you can agree on.

…such as no music after 10 p.m.; no phone calls in the middle of the night; if you make a mess, clean it up. You can also make a list of cleaning duties. If you don’t see eye-to-eye on sensitive subjects like religion or politics, then agree that you won’t talk about those subjects. Find something you have in common, like music, sports, clothes or school subjects. Part of moving out of your parents’ home and into college is becoming an adult. This means learning to get along with other people, making compromises and not freaking out if you don’t get everything your way.

4. Make sure you each have some alone time.

College is a great place to socialize, but you still want some quiet time for yourself. “Find a study room in your dorm or apartment and make note of what times they are in class. While it may be frustrating that you’re rarely alone, understand that your roommate might be a homebody type who is more comfortable staying in. Invite them out with you once in a while and introduce them to some friends,” said Allison Raeck in “The 10 types of roommates you’ll meet in college,” posted in USA Today College July 28, 2015.

5. Don’t try to change your roommate.

If your roommate is a slob and you’re a neatnik, don’t think you can teach neat habits. People are the way they are and don’t like being told they have to change. You wouldn’t appreciate someone else trying to turn you into a messy hoarder. The best you can do is to agree on ways to compromise and create steps that will help you live together for three or four months.

6. Get a new roommate.

If you’ve tried everything else, but your personalities are just too different to get along, you can request a different roommate. Talk to your Resident Assistant on moving into a different room or dorm, or talk to the friends you’ve made to see if they need a roommate or can suggest a different living arrangement.

How have you tried to get along with your roommate? Share your tips with us in the comments.

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