We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our roommate. That said, a roommate interview is similar to a first date or a job interview – we put on our brightest smile and try to give the best possible impression of ourselves. Often, it’s not until the lease has been signed and everyone has settled into their new home that the cracks begin to show.
Arm yourself with the best possible chances of success before agreeing to live with a new human by understanding the best way to find a roommate. Failing that, if you’ve already moved in with someone and you just hate being around them, what can you do?
Short of hiding out in your bedroom or moving back in with your parents, let’s check out your options based on some common situations.
They’re super messy
If, like Reddit poster ohgirlfitup, you’re struggling to co-exist with a messy roommate and have already brought up the problem, what steps can you take?
“So my college dorm roommate is still as messy as ever, which I believe I have been fairly tolerant of. However, her stuff continues to flood into my space, even after I’ve brought it up to her. I like to think I’m a direct person, and not a pushover, but I don’t want to seem pushy and keep asking her to make sure she keeps her stuff in HER space. The worst part is that this wouldn’t even be a problem if she would just use all of her drawer, cabinet, desk, and closet space. It’s really driving me mad how inconsiderate she keeps acting.”
It’s easy to fall into a deep pit of resentment towards an inconsiderate roommate. But, bottling things up often just leads to an outburst from you (and then things get really messy.) When talking things through doesn’t lead to the nice, neat outcome you’re hoping for, there are some other solutions you can try:
- Pick your battles. We get it; your roommate’s habits are making your skin itch, but complaining about everything won’t help. Confront them only on those bigger issues that affect how you’re able to use your living space.
- Assign your own spaces. Determine which spaces “belong” to each of you and which are communal. If their stuff crosses into your boundary, you can simply put it back into theirs.
- Create a cleaning roster. Write up a schedule of daily and weekly chores, so you’re splitting the cleaning tasks evenly and you’re not left feeling annoyed because you’re always the one to scrub the bathroom.
Their social life doesn’t match up to yours
Reddit user handakun, was sharing a bedroom with someone that rarely left the room and didn’t seem to want to get to know her:
“Let’s call my roommate Tiffany (not her real name). She and I are both first years and we’re sharing a dorm room. When I first met her, she seemed really kind and genuine so I didn’t think much about it. However over time, I realized she doesn’t go out that much. She’s almost always in the room either watching videos, talking to her friends or family over the phone, etc. She doesn’t make any effort to get to know me or any of our hallmates.”
If you’re in a similar situation, it’s time to mentally remove yourself and take an objective point-of-view. Okay; so your roommate parties less (or more) than you do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong for doing so. Everyone is different, and you may just need to set some boundaries between the two of you, or learn to accept that everyone lives their own life.
As long as their lifestyle doesn’t affect your quality of living (e.g. they’re waking you up at crazy times), you can learn to live in harmony. Try taking part in activities together, such as cooking a meal, watching a TV series or inviting them out with your friends.
They’re generally difficult to live with
Sometimes, your roommate doesn’t have just one annoying habit – they have lots! Think sleeping with the light on in your shared room, blasting music you hate, cooking smelly food and loudly blending their green smoothie at 6 a.m.
We’ve all been there. If you think you can get through the rest of your tenancy without breaking the lease, yelling in their face or leaving passive-aggressive notes on the refrigerator, we’ve got some tips for you:
- Talk things out within 24 hours of a negative event to set rules and boundaries early on
- Don’t address problems when you’re already annoyed – stay cool, calm and collected
- Start the difficult conversation by apologising for not letting them know [insert roomi issue] annoys you at the beginning
- Suggest possible solutions or ways to land on some middle ground
- Discuss issues in person, rather than via text messages
- Start by making a joke about the issue, to see if that fixes things up. Address it delicately and avoid veering towards sarcasm. If that doesn’t work, address it more directly
Using a platform like Roomi affords you the opportunity to get to know potential roommates before they move in and you realise the living situation is less than ideal! We conduct background checks on your behalf, and you can choose to connect on social media beforehand, to get a better insight into your separate lifestyles and how they align with each other’s.