Dealing with difficult people is a skill most adapt to by the end of college; living with them is another story. Home is supposed to be a restful place, safe and comfortable. But when it’s a center of tension and stress, it adds unnecessary anxiety to the already intense college life.
As an alumna of bad living situations, I truly believe the first step that must be taken when addressing living issues is to reflect on yourself. It’s so easy to throw the blame on others and return rudeness for rudeness until eventually the whole semester catapults into a blur of petty revenge stories.
If this is the case, a simple, sincere apology can go a long way.
However, if you can honestly look at the past and find nothing (I really think that there is always something, however slight it may be) then there are series of steps that can help rise above the situation.
- Evaluate the seriousness of the issue. Is it a couple of dirty dishes in the sink, or a week’s worth of gross food, pots, pans, and plates stacked up? When you live with people you get different lifestyles and some things are not worth addressing and causing offense. Some things are ok to let slide.
- Be direct. This cannot be stressed enough. There is no need to broadcast the situation to all of your acquaintances and friends, or even other roommates. If you have an issue, go straight to the individual and confront them kindly. There is no need to be condescending or rude.
- Have a discussion about what is important to each of you. Some people are convinced that cleaning means folding the living room blankets and putting the TV remote in its spot. To others, cleaning means breaking out the chemicals, vacuuming, and dusting as well. With communication, a compromise can usually be created.
- Do not be passive aggressive. It just escalates the situation. If you need to stand up for yourself, by all means do so. But be aware of what words you choose to use and be respectful. Be straightforward and open with the individual.
At the end of the day, not everyone is made to live with each other. That’s ok. If all else fails, semesters do not last forever and moving is always a possibility. Sometimes, people are just jerks and it does not matter how nice you are or how hard you try. It those cases you really just have to do your best to stay in the right and keep your head high- rising above the situation.
Attached are a few roommate horror stories that have occurred here at Millersville University. (For confidentiality purposes, the victims and perpetrators described in these stories will remain anonymous.)
“Ok so I was sleeping in my bed which is right near the wall connected to our bathroom. When all of the sudden I hear a BANG. I wake up. I was so mad that I got woken up and I just wanted to continue my nap. But when I finally got up from sleeping at 5 PM, I went to go pee and I saw a giant hole in my bathroom wall where the handle slammed into it. I was so mad and didn’t even think to text her about since I knew I was asleep and thought she’d fess up. Then at 9 PM at the library I get a text from her saying ‘holy f**ck, did you see the huge hole in the bathroom wall?’”
“So my roommate last year fought with her boyfriend all the time and would scream so loud I could hear through the walls. One morning I woke up at like 2AM because of how loud she was screaming at him. Yet when I brought my boyfriend over she’d rat me out to the RA for laughing too loud.”
“At 9 PM he went into his room on a Tuesday night and as loud as he could he started singing, ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,’ and on and on. It felt like there was no end in sight.”
“My room is right next to our bathroom. And the walls are insanely thin. You can hear literally EVERYTHING. And for some reason my roommate is not aware of this. She and her boyfriend at the time would be in there for two hours at a time, I’m not exaggerating, and were so gross. I could hear them hack up loogies and spit and fart and it was horrifying. Oh, and most of the time this happens in the middle of the night.”
“I had a roommate have sex on the top bunk while I was sleeping on the bottom. I’ve had roommates not pay their rent and almost get me kicked out. I’ve had a roommate match with the same guy on tinder as me and talk shit on me to my boss after I got them hired.”
“Once I woke in the morning and went to shower and there was puke all over the toilet that took four times bleaching it to get it off…it happened again on Friday! Also, I came back home after a week away and there was moldy pizza and glasses of mild all over the counter top and four bags of trash…I ended up taking it all out and cleaning it up.”
“I wrote a really good paper that got published and I hung a copy of it on the fridge, you know as a joke, like your mom does when you’re a kid. Well it took up next to no space, I used a magnet, it was G rated, and the next day it was all crumbled up in the corner. So, I put it back and the same thing happened the next day! This happened three more times. Then, when I found my favorite coffee mug tucked into the cabinet in broken pieces, I called her out on it. She got all nervous and just about peed her pants.”