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How to Survive Living with a Horrible Roommate

Updated on September 1, 2012

Help! I Hate my Roommate

If you find yourself at college or in a new home living with someone you despise, you must be pretty miserable. But, don’t worry. There are ways to work around this common issue and many people survive even though you may be thinking it is impossible to spend another day in the same room with that person.

The following article will help you deal with this terrible roommate and how to work toward a comfortable living situation where you don't feel like you are walking on eggshells.

Set up Some Rules

When I moved into college, I was placed into a “forced triple”, which means that the room was built for two, but they shoved three of us in there to make it work. You can see how no matter what the situation or who the other girls were, there was going to be some tension forming in such tight quarters.

My school was smart, however. They made us complete a checklist of rules and hang it on the back of our door. These rules were things like “No playing music out loud when someone is sleeping,” and “No friends over after ____pm.” For every rule that sounded good to all of us, we put a check mark next to it. Every time we had an issue, we would just have to point at the list, which made situations a little less weird.

Now, it may be too late for you to make a checklist, but is it too late to make some ground rules? Every house or room should have rules, otherwise you may end up having to deal with some pretty awkward situations.

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Enforce the Rules

Beyond making the rules, you need to enforce them. What is a rule if you don’t follow through when someone decides to break them? (If my parents didn’t send me to timeout when I was younger, I may have kept pulling my cousin’s hair to this day!) Be confident when you explain why something doesn’t follow the rules you agreed upon and don’t let them undermine you. You can always move out and they can always learn to respect your property or self.


Dealing with a Roommate that is Messy

You may be a neat-freak or you may just like to have things in order, but either way, it could bother you that your roommate either makes a big mess or doesn’t contribute when it’s time to clean up.

If your roommate declines to clean, try to talk to them about it. If you have done this and the mess is still out of control, you can always pull the classic sitcom trick. Put a line of tape down the middle of the room. Specify which side is yours and which is theirs and how you will only be responsible for cleaning your side. Now, their side will get very messy, but resist the urge to clean and keep your area neat. Eventually, they will realize that your side looks amazing and in contrast, theirs is a pigsty. I bet you that they will make a change before you have to tell them twice.


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