Every roommate experience takes some tact to navigate, but sometimes you and your roommate are so obviously mismatched that you are more likely to win the Space Olympics—which is not a thing that exists—than you are to finish the semester with both of you alive. She's a Capulet; you're a Montague. She's from Mars Borough, Pennsylvania; you're from Venus, the town in Texas. She's clean, reserved, and responsible; you currently have a hoagie tucked into the waistband of your gym shorts for later. The relationship appears destined to fail.
It's not, though! Coming to terms with a roommate who clearly hates you is just a matter of problem-solving. Most of the time, of course, you're not even sure what it is you did wrong. So you stayed up one night rapping some Ghostface lyrics into the mirror and pretending your hoagie was a microphone. So what? And yeah, you have your share of bad habits, like when you accidentally dump your breakfast on the floor and go "ehh, the dog will clean it up," knowing full well that there is no dog. But who's perfect, right?
What you may not realize is that these qualities are driving your roommate ever closer to blithering, murderous insanity, and the only way to avert a meltdown is to make the peace overture yourself. Here's how.
Talk Things Out
Your natural impulse will be to have this chat at whatever totally spontaneous time is best for you, e.g. when your roommate is asleep because it is nighttime. Repress this urge, and approach your roommate as though this is a topic you're taking seriously; this may also require a change in behavior for you (example: if you stuff a handful of Cheetos in your mouth first, all that's going to come out is "MPH HRRFPH, ROOMPATHE!" and also some Cheetos). Try to have this conversation as soon as you sense problems, because otherwise what could be a simple explanation ("I am mad because you often steal my laundry detergent!") may instead be expressed in a much less civil way. ("HAVE ALL THE DETERGENT YOU WANT, FOREVER," your roommate will cackle, pouring detergent on your battered, unresponsive body.)
Diagnose The Problem
Actually identifying your conflicts will vary depending on your roommate's gender. Women will often be diplomatic, saying "Oh, everything's fine!" when what they mean is, "You didn't invite me to the cafeteria with you guys, even after I said I didn't want to go to the cafeteria with you guys! Harumph!" Guys will usually articulate their concerns in a more direct way, such as "WHY DO YOU LISTEN TO SLIPKNOT?!! I WILL KILL YOU!!" Either way, there is probably something identifiable that you can fix, and it's just a matter of tricking the weirdo into admitting what it is.
Implement Some Stupid Rules For Jerks
Some people like things done a certain way, and if you're the easygoing type, it may take a while to wrap your brain around this. Yes, the TV stand you rescued from the town dump was free, and is therefore awesome; nobody's arguing that. But maybe your roommate doesn't like furniture that is garbage, or maybe he is upset by the family of racoons that lives inside. Things get even more precarious when you're actually paying for any of your utilities, and varying degrees of infractions will set different people off. "Your girlfriend visited and checked her e-mail so I am owed four cents for internet usage!" some roommates will argue. "You stole all my textbooks and sold them to buy a pogo stick!" others will protest. The solution is just to determine what kind of agreement you can both settle on to keep you from each others' throats.
Try To Be Awesome
Roommates are kind of like friends, except that instead of choosing them, you don't, and instead of being friends with them, you're not. But other than that, they are like friends, in that people like fun friends. Nobody ever says "Oh, let's invite Dumpy the Grouch to the party! He is so fun, the way he mopes around and whines about the weather and draws pictures of knives!" Sometimes making your roommate appreciate you more is just a matter of being more fun. Once you've thrown her some 4 a.m. parties and hit her in the face with a couple of pies, things are bound to brighten up.
Screw It, Just Be A Disgusting Monster
If you really have done your best, and you've tried everything you can think of, then nuts to your roommate. Crank everything that is terrible about you up to eleven. Go right back to dumping unwanted food in your laundry pile, storing unwanted laundry in your fridge, and bringing up your poop in casual conversation. With any luck, your roommate will shoulder the burden of actually switching rooms, and the only roommate you'll have to put up with will be yourself. Of course, now there will be nobody around to balance out your irresponsibility, and you will die as you lived: listening to Nickelback, surrounded by scattered, mismatched socks.
Have you ever had a roommate hate you?
Related post: My Roommate Hates Me!