5 “Types” of Roommates and How To Handle Them

One of the scariest parts of starting college is potentially living with someone you have never met before. Some incoming students live with friends they know, but most are randomly placed with someone new from the university. Living with someone new can take a lot of adapting.

I had a unique situation my freshman year because I had a different roommate first semester than I did second semester. So it is safe to say I have seen many different situations.

Here are some common situations, or “types” of roommates you may encounter, along with some methods of dealing with particular problems.

1.  The Partier: College is most people’s first dose of freedom, and your roommate might enjoy taking advantage of it a little too much. Your roommate may stumble home late, vomit in your basket/bathroom, knock things over, or all of the above. A more serious problem might include them drinking too much in the dorm room, subjecting both of you to reprimand by your Resident Assistant or dorm coordinator.

  • How to deal with it: My go-to method for confronting problems with people is simply talking to them about it, so start there. But at risk of sounding like a “buzz-kill” you could try mentioning the issue to your Resident Assistant in case a legitimate write-up is in order. When it comes to avoiding dorm write-ups and a bad reputation, getting someone else involved to back you up is never a bad idea.

2.  The Live-in Roommate: This type of roommate is often found in one place; the room. I happened to experience living with a roommate first semester of my freshman year that literally never left the room. This type of roommate often skips class, watches television all day and may only leave to eat in the cafeteria, but will most likely order in food so they don’t have to shower or get dressed that day. This description fits my freshman year roommate perfectly.

  • How to deal with it: This is one of those situations where the only feasible solution is addressing your roommate. Having a roommate that never leaves will surely wear on you by making it hard to attend to your own responsibilities, including being able to have your own freedom. Try confronting your roommate by emphasizing the difficulties it causes you when getting your work done, having friends over, and relaxing when you want to. If phrased the right way, you can point out to your roommate how the room should be shared to do homework, enjoy company and relax.

3.  The Germ: This type of roommate is possibly the most difficult to deal with. Basic hygiene is the main concern for “the germ.” This roommate can commonly be found in need of a shower, with dirty clothes scattered about both sides of the room, food wrappers and bowls piling up, and papers stacked to the ceiling. Not only is this irritating to the organized student, but also can be unhealthy for both of you. Old food can only lie around so long before bugs find it…

  • How to deal with it: Again, first try discussing the matter with your roommate. But because bad hygiene is often a life style choice, simply telling them to pick up after themselves might not affect change. Getting your Resident Assistant involved would be wise since this is a matter of health. Resident Assistants can usually provide residents with a “roommate or living agreement,” which can help the two of you set boundaries to describe what pushes the limit for each of you. If something like this is written down, it can be referred back to later if the problems do not cease.

4.  The Flirt: This roommate is never alone. They are constantly occupying the room with a significant other, and even worse, they kick you out or keep you out of the room when the flirt wants “alone time.”

  • How to deal with it: The fact is, the room belongs to both of you. While it should sometimes be acceptable for both you, you should ask your roommate to possibly balance coming back to your room with a significant other, and going back to the other’s room. You will come to realize balance is the key word to college, in many ways. If you being kept out of your room is affecting your ability to do homework or live with basic expectations, involve a Resident Assistant.

5. The Best Friend: For anyone lucky enough to get the “best friend” roommate, I am happy for you. This is the good roommate (yes, it can happen), who you get along with, hangout with and have a fun, sharing relationship with. It is a rare feat, but when a relationship like this is fostered, it can lead to a life-long friendship.

  • How to deal with it: Enjoy it while you can!

There are many “types” of roommates you may encounter, some positive and some negative and there are many more that are not listed above. Remember that the first year of college is all about adapting and is a huge learning experience. Hopefully my advice above can help you in your future endeavors with potential college roommates, and good luck!

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Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet is a sophomore at Michigan State University, studying journalism and philosophy of law. Aside from reporting, Madeline enjoys tae kwon do, reading, writing, researching and traveling, and can be considered a music enthusiast. Madeline currently works as an intern for thecollegehelper.com, and is a banquet server at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, MI. Perfecting the storytelling side of reporting is something she looks forward to in her future career as a journalist.
Madeline Fetchiet

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