Roommate Troubles

By Jessica Jacobs

Roommate conflict—we all know it. If you haven't dealt with roommate drama, then I promise you will eventually encounter a roommate who conflicts with your ideal living situation. Here are some tips and tricks on how to handle different scenarios of common roommate conflicts.

Their significant other is ALWAYS there.

Single or not, seeing someone else constantly attached to their partner by the hip can be annoying, especially if one of those hips belongs to a close friend. You might get annoyed because you miss quality time with your friend or just because you dislike their significant other's habits.

Solutions:

  • Talk to your roommate about their partner's effect on your personal spending.

  • Ask your roommate if you two can talk alone when you are both home. This will avoid the uncomfortable misunderstandings of text messages. Not only that, but it will allow you to express in-depth how your roommate’s partner affects you. This is your time to make a compromise or bring problems to the surface.

  • If you two can't find a solution, then it's time for a new roommate.

Your roommate is a slob!

No one sane wants to live with someone who hides in their own musk and piles of laundry, especially if you're sharing the same room. However, this can be a sensitive topic. What you need to do is acknowledge the problem with your roommate and understand that the two of you might have different standards of cleanliness. Let's face it: Not everyone had to do chores growing up. So in this scenario, both parties need to be understanding and acknowledge their own preferred and realistic goals of a clean space.

Solutions:

  • Make a chore chart in a shared space. Get a whiteboard and write down all the "daily" and "weekly" chores that need to be done. Assign each person a task to do for each of those subjects for fair distribution. When someone finishes the job, they should initial next to that item on the whiteboard.

    (Note: You can use this chart as a way to communicate with your roommates as well.)

  • Call for a roommate meeting. Send a group text to your roommates explaining that you want to talk about your household and your needs for comfort. The goal of this message is not to isolate one person and shame them. Instead, this meeting is an opportunity for your roommates to set standards for cleanliness and discuss each other's struggles in the environment.

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Your roommate isn't paying rent?!

Now, this is probably the worst situation to encounter. If your roommate isn't paying rent, then you need to split from them ASAP. However, not everyone has a monthly lease. So how do you fix this problem?

Solutions:

  • Talk to your roommate one-on-one and be as transparent as possible that they need to hold up their part of the rent. Otherwise, you'll be homeless.

  • If they still won't budge or they end up making an empty promise, then you can call their closest relative or friend. This will show them that you're not scared to bring in a third party, and also allows that person to help make sure that the monthly rent is being paid.

There are conflicting sleeping schedules.

Some people are night owls, and some people think the early bird gets the worm. So what do you do if you and your roommate have polar opposite sleeping schedules?

Solutions:

  • Notify your roommate of your sleeping schedule. This way, they aren't alarmed if you fall asleep at 8 p.m. or 4 a.m.

  • Don't snooze your alarm! That alarm might not annoy you, but it will surely wake up your roommate.

  • Be quiet if you're coming in later than your sleeping roommate. Prepare your stuff for bed before they go to sleep. And please, don't eat chips, ice, or anything else crunchy in the room when they are asleep.

  • If you're a light sleeper, get a sleeping mask and earplugs to help you stay asleep when your roommate comes in late.

  • Always communicate so that your roommate isn't surprised by anything!

Food is money!

Yes, sharing is caring, but sometimes it sucks! Especially if you don't have a lot of money to spend on groceries. So what do you do when you feel like your roommate is an unwanted rabbit in your garden?

Solutions:

  • Let your roommate know that you don't have a large budget and can't afford to share food.

  • Tell your roommate that you need them to ask before taking some food from your side of the pantry.

  • Label foods with your name if you don't want to share them.

  • Remember: Just because they are willing to share their food doesn't mean you have to.

You need a guest policy.

I'm sure you don't want anyone intruding on you when you're dancing in the mirror or in the middle of changing. So, you need to create a guest policy for your home.

Solutions:

  • Ask your roommate to text you an hour before they are bringing someone over to hang out.

  • Let your roommate know a day before you bring over a guest who plans on sleeping over.

  • Let your roommate know how long their friend is staying.

  • Set boundaries with your roommate on your comfort levels with their friends.

Remember, you are paying to live in your apartment or house with your roommates. This means you all should always feel like it's a safe space. A confrontation may be scary, but avoiding problems will make your home a nightmare. Do yourself a favor and follow these guidelines for appropriate solutions.