It's about two months into school, and while you're curled up with friends watching Russian Unicorn for the jillionth time, your roomie's busy giving you the stink-eye and licking her Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. It may seem like you should bail, but before you get up in your RA's face about a room transfer, here are a few questions you might want to ponder:
Have you heard her out? It's really easy to for little problems to snowball into a big hairy deal, so her overflowing messy side of the room and aggro music and random visits from friends at 3 AM and "borrowing" your sweats and general inconsiderateness can build into a mountain of bad feelings before anyone says word one. Thing is, if you don't talk about this stuff, you'll never know if the crusted ramen she left on your pillow was an accident or an actual act of aggression. It would probably benefit you both to pick a time to calmly, thoughtfully hash this stuff out without a lot of blame or shame. Instead of screaming at each other, talk about how you feel, and start statements with the words "when" or "I." Examples include:
- "When you throw up in my laundry hamper and don't clean it up, I feel like you don't respect me."
- "I feel hurt when you leave my stuffed animals in compromising positions."
- "When you pass out on top of me as though you are a human blanket, it makes me feel like my boundaries are being violated."
Is there any way to work it out with him? Yes, he's the anti-you, but is this past the point of compromise? Once again, this might require a conversation or an email chain. If you guys don't know each other very well, you might not know that he's an only child, and living with a roommate for the first time has been a super-hard adjustment. Maybe he's a neat freak because his parents are hoarders. Maybe what you perceive as his being passive-aggressive and judgey is actually him being intimidated by you, or wanting to spend more time together and not knowing how to say so. Try to be sensitive to his side of the story, because you never know what he's going to say.
Can you live with this? Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually have to be soul mates with your roomie. It's great if you are, but if you love Manchester Orchestra and she patterns her life after System of a Down, you guys don't have to shoehorn yourselves into being BFFs. As long as you have a foundation of mutual respect (and maybe some room rules), you can go on your way, she can go on hers, and you can both peacefully ignore each other/co-exist.
Do you feel threatened? Disagreements and rudeness? Fine. They happen. Stalking, discrimination, theft, harassing, intimidation, violence, or anything that'd wind up on a Law and Order: CI episode? Not fine—time for a new dorm assignment. If you feel like your roommate is a threat to your safety, gather evidence, take notes of what goes down and when, go to your R.A., and make your case. Odds are that Housing will want to get you out of there faster than you can say "lawsuit."
How do you deal with roomie problems? We have one word for you: BARRICADE. MADE OF TRASH CANS.
Related post: What to Do If Your Roommate Hates You