We have heard the horror stories. We have been exposed to the tales of territorial battles and screaming brawls that have left us wary of ever sharing a 9-by-12 foot dorm room with another living soul. But while smelly, messy and loud are all criticisms that we are familiar with, the murderous psychopath roommate is a complaint that is slightly less commonplace.
Hollywood has taken the common college student’s worst fear, the terrible roommate, to a dark and twisted level that will probably have you thinking your roomie isn’t so bad.
Below are some common classifications of roommates and the best ways to approach these different individuals.
Some unlucky souls will have the misfortune of having a roommate who steals. You may not recognize it right away, but when items begin to go missing, you may wonder if this is all just coincidence. So how do you handle this situation?
The most important step to take is to set clear boundaries for borrowing items when you move in. This will leave no room for error so your roommate will know what he/she can and cannot use. If you didn’t do this from the get-go, discuss it when an issue pops up.
Second, if you do find your stuff missing, make sure there is no possibility that another person has access to the room. You don’t want to accuse your roommate. Calmly approach the person and explain your frustration. Don’t be afraid to say you will go to the resident assistant or resident director if the stealing continues.
Most people gossip from time to time. Venting to friends is a normal occurrence and sometimes gossip can be a fun pastime. But what do you do when you hear your roommate has been talking smack about you?
You have two options: you can either ignore these comments or confront the person. If you choose to confront your roommate, don’t accuse him/her of the comments he/she has made. Instead ask them if they have been saying stuff about you.
But what if the person denies it? If he/she denies it, which may very likely happen, finish the conversation with a comment that lets the person know that gossip is not OK with you. Chances are the person will be embarrassed he/she was caught and won’t do it again.
Remember the days when parents told you to quit whining and you wondered why it was such a big deal? Some people experience the annoyance of a whiner during their college years and finally understand the suffering parents endured.
The whiner feels that nothing in their life goes right, is ever fair and ever goes their way. They love to complain and constantly play the victim card.
If you encounter such a person, don’t put up with his/her attitude. If you want to have a conversation with them, ask them questions until they come up with a solution to the problem on their own or find a way to point out that you cannot help them. Then they should leave you out of it.
A whiner is a negative person; therefore the less time you spend with him/her, the better. Try to hang out with other people, spending as little time as possible with the negative nelly.
This is probably the scariest of all the roommates to have. An aggressor can make you feel uncomfortable, and at times in danger. Such a person can be either verbally or physically aggressive.
If you are verbally attacked, wait for the person to stop speaking and ask if he/she is finished. If the person continues, make it clear that you don’t appreciate the yelling. If problems persist, you may need to go to the RA or RD.
If you are physically attacked, remember safety first. Protect yourself as best you can during the altercation and try to leave the room as soon as you can. Report the incident right away to the RA or RD. Colleges do not tolerate violence and the housing department will decide what to do with these dangerous individuals.
The obsessive-compulsive vs. the slob:
Some people like to clean their room and keep everything in the perfect place, while others don’t care if that month-old pizza is rotting under the bed. If you are paired with your polar opposite, difficulties may occur.
For the clean person: Don’t let the little things get to you and don’t clean the other person’s side of the room without permission. Let things slide, but when a big issue comes up, bring it up with your roommate. For instance, don’t freak out if your roommate’s bed isn’t made, but you should approach the person if he/she splattered yogurt all over your laptop.
For the sloppy person: Don’t take advantage of the clean freak. Don’t let him/her clean your side of the room. If you notice your side is getting a bit out of control, do the polite thing and straighten it up. Things don’t have to be perfect, but your roommate will appreciate the effort. If your roommate begins to touch your stuff and clean up after you, let him/her know you’re not comfortable with it and ask to tell you next time if cleaning is needed.
College isn’t just a time for learning. It’s a time for exploration and figuring out what you want to do. It’s a time for making new friends and relationships. It’s also a time for partying.
Most students view college as their last hoorah — saying goodbye to childhood in exchange for the adult world. It’s their last chance to get drunk and have a good time. But what happens when your roomie gets out of control?
If the person is completely schwasted, help out. Get him/her to the toilet or get the ever-so-lovely puke bucket. Don’t let him/her sit on his/her own vomit, but no need to clean it up. Let them clean up their mess the next morning.
If a roommate does not look good and is not responding, do not be afraid to call 911. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and in the end I’m sure the person would much prefer life and the consequences with parents, police and possibly the University to more serious issues.
Lastly, if you notice your roommate beginning to develop a drinking problem, don’t be afraid to confront him/her. If you do not feel comfortable addressing him/her yourself, then find a close friend of your roommate or possibly a family member to talk to him/her. Alcoholism is a serious problem and needs to be addressed for the sake of the individual.
Hopefully most of you will never have any of the aforementioned roommates in college, but for those that do, we hope this helps.