Roommate Problems

Have you just about had it with your college roommate?  Do you think that he or she has just about had it with you too?  This is not uncommon.  Most college students typically experience roommate problems to some degree before they graduate.  Unfortunately, this is just one of the stresses that come with being a college student.  Not to worry, with a little patience and communication, you can overcome your roommate problems.

Believe it or not, roommate problems can be solved without screaming your head off.  Follow the 5 steps below to find out how:

Step 1: Calm Down – It’s never good to try to have a civilized conversation with your roommate in the heat of the moment.  Take some time to calm down first…take a walk, go visit another friend in another dorm, grab a bite to eat, do anything that you can do to get out of that room and clear your head.

Step 2:  Identify the Issue – After you’ve calmed down, take some time to really figure out what’s bothering you the most.  Is your roommate not respecting your things? (For example, does he or she borrow your things without asking? Or does he or she eat your food without asking?)  Is your roommate coming home extremely late each night and waking you up?  Is your roommate’s girlfriend or boyfriend ALWAYS over?  Try to nail down exactly what the issue is and then write down relevant examples.

Step 3:  Talk It Out – Sit down and talk to your roommate in a calm manner.  Use this format in order to not make your roommate feel attacked:  “I feel ____ when you do ___ .“  Hopefully this won’t make your roommate get as defensive.

Step 4:  Listen – There are always two sides to a story.  Maybe your roommate has a legitimate explanation for his or her behavior.  Maybe there’s something that you did or said that prompted this behavior.  Listen to your roommate’s side of the story.  Take a minute to put yourself in his or her shoes.

Step 5:  Compromise – Now that you have everything out on the table, work with your roommate to come up with a solution that will work for the both of you.  Suggest your ideas, but let him or her suggest their ideas as well.  The compromise can’t be one-sided.  If you just can’t come up with a compromise, then seek advice from your RA (resident advisor).  Maybe an outsider can help you both come up with reasonable suggestions.

If this doesn’t work then you both should consider other roommates.  Some people just aren’t meant to live with each other, and that’s okay.  You shouldn’t walk away feeling like a failure.  Recognize that this was just one minor hiccup in your college career, keep your head up and keep moving.

Throughout it all, the most important thing to remember is to keep a positive attitude.  After all, your next roommate situation can only get better! 😉

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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