When to give in and when to put your foot down

Making the best out of a bad roommate situation

You’re going to live with one at least once or twice in your life: a bad roommate.

It happens especially in college whether you live in the dorms or an apartment or you share a house. And if you live in the dorms, you’re lucky—most times they’ll allow you to switch rooms with someone else or move into another room completely. But if that’s not an option for you, it can seem nearly impossible to survive living with a bad roomie for a whole school year. But I am here to tell you it is possible.

A bad roommate is pretty subjective. It depends on what you think makes a bad roommate. It could be that they never do the dishes and turn their music up way too loud. Or they constantly have random people over when you’re just trying to watch the new episode of “Sherlock.” Or maybe they randomly break out in song in their sleep. All of those things can be extremely annoying, and to a certain point, unbearable.

But the best thing you can do is compromise. If they want to listen to the Weeknd full blast, that’s fine—but maybe ask them to do it when you’re not around. And if you are, ask them to keep it at a reasonable volume. As for something like dishes, ask that they always put their dishes in the dishwasher right after they use them, or hand wash them if you don’t own a dishwasher. This seems like a bit of hassle, especially if you’re super busy, but it really helps.

Compromise can be used for most things, but if that doesn’t work, your best bet is to just put your foot down. Let them know what they’re doing annoys you or makes you angry. I’m not saying you should get into a screaming match with them, but you should be clear on what you don’t like, and ask them to stop or change up the way they do things.

If they still don’t budge, there’s not much else you can do from there. You could break your lease contract early if you live in an apartment or house, but that usually comes with a fine and then you have to find someone else to sublease it. That can be tough and a little expensive. So if that’s not something you want to do, you might be stuck living with that person for a while.

Trust me on this one, though—you will survive. It just sucks. Living with another person is not easy, especially if they’re a stranger or even your best friend who you learn is obsessed with cockroaches or something. (For real, move out if this is a thing.) What you don’t want to do, though, is be a bad roommate right back. When you live with someone else, you should both want each other to feel safe and comfortable. A good roommate would make sure of that, even if they don’t always feel that way.

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