Auntie SparkNotes: Roommate Privacy 101
I'm another freshman in college with a problem... so I'm asking for your help because I'm losing sleep over my situation. It's really simple, actually. During the first week of college, my roommate just "clicked" with 12 other girls on my floor (basically the rest of my wing... except for 3 other people and me). They became this little clique that did EVERYTHING together: eat meals, do laundry, go to class, do homework, got to the gym, and go out together at night.
I had suspected that my roommate's friends knew the key code to get into my room, but wasn't going to confront anyone about it without solid proof—but then recently, one of these girls let herself into my room when I was dressing from a shower. It was so EMBARRASSING! When I asked how she knew how to get into my room she told me nonchalantly, "Oh, ______ told me. We all know each other's key codes because we always are in and out of each other's rooms and leaving stuff behind. Sorry, girl."
I was furious that my roommate let everybody on our floor know our key code, but I let it go because I didn't want to cause any problems. I thought, "As long as they're careful and don't touch my stuff, then I'm okay." And you know what? They never touched my things. But... I've come back from class several times to my door wide open. At first, my roommate said it was her and that she was sorry. However, recently, when I've talked to her about it, I heard her mumble, "Damn it... they've got to start shutting my door."
What do I do, Auntie? I know none of the girls have given me reason not to trust them with my things... but I feel like my security has been violated. Heck, I don't even know if there's anything that could be done to reconcile the situation. I'm really nervous though, because what if I return to class with all of my valuables gone and the door wide open?
What, indeed! And man, Sparkler, this situation stinks and I do not envy you. Because in a way, living with a person who gives out your mutual security code to all her friends (and who doesn't apologize profusely for the violation of your privacy even when they aren't leaving your door wide open) is a lot like living a person who sleeps with her shoes on, pees on the carpet, and likes to spend her spare time punching baby bunny rabbits in the face.
Which is to say, your roommate is so completely oblivious to—and in violation of—the rules governing decent human behavior that it is actually kind of terrifying. And under the circumstances, it's unfortunate but not particularly surprising that you've been reluctant to confront her. I mean, when a person appears to have no sense of decency to begin with, where do you even start?
But you do need to confront her, and soon, because this girl is capital-O-oblivious. She is never, ever going to figure out on her own that she's on her way to winning the Worst Roommate Ever Award; speaking up is the only hope you have of setting things right. And because we're all adults here, you'll try to work this out one-on-one before you go the official route. So, in order, tell her that:
a) you should have said something sooner, but
b) you know she gave out your room's keycode, which
c) she should have discussed with you first, because
d) it makes you extremely uncomfortable, especially given that
e) her friends clearly can't be trusted to respect your safety and privacy by closing the door after visiting your room.
And now that she knows how you feel, the two of you should be able to work out an agreement, moving forward, on who gets access to your room and when -- and including, if necessary, a change to your keycode. (Note: You may get some blowback defensiveness like "I didn't think you'd mind!," in which case your response is, "Well, I do mind, and now you know that, so let's discuss what happens next.")
Which, hopefully, will be all it takes to restore your privacy and salvage your relationship! Though if she won't do her part to make things right, your next stop should absolutely be your RA, who is trained to deal with just these sorts of situations. But that'll only be a problem if your roommate is an actual, bona fide, honest-to-goodness human crapbag—rather than a relatively nice girl who's just really, really dumb when it comes to understanding the basic principles of respectful behavior. Including the fact that compromising your roommate's privacy without consulting her first is 100% Not Okay.
Which it isn't.
Just in case any of you were thinking of doing that.
DON'T DO THAT.
How would you handle a roommate who hands our your keycode? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related post: Seven Crazy Roommates