Speaking up about roommate issues

Claire Fisher

Your food is mysteriously disappearing faster than it should be, the dishes never seem to get done and someone is constantly up late being incredibly loud. If your roommates aren’t driving you crazy yet, they probably will soon. It’s part of living with other people. 

If you’re having trouble with your roommates or even with your friends, speak your mind. Speaking your mind must be done respectfully, will hopefully lead to a solution and will keep you from blowing up in the end.

Whether you’re living with your best friend or some stranger you were randomly assigned to live with, the fact of the matter is that you’ll have to make this relationship work for the rest of the school year. You’ll need to be able to communicate effectively and you don’t want to be that friend who always complains about their roommate. While you may have a bunch of mildly humorous stories about your roommate woes, it won’t be worth the stress and frustration it puts you through all year. You want to feel comfortable in your own home and finding a way to solve problem peaceably with your roommate is an important first step.

When you’re telling your roommate what’s bothering you, sit them down and tell them calmly what’s wrong. Have a scheduled time to sit down and have a conversation about being roommates. Go into the meeting knowing what you want to say and what you would like to see change. Do your best not to blame them or attack them. Only state how you’re feeling and try to understand where they might be coming from.

Instead of holding back what you’re thinking and biting your tongue until you eventually explode, say what you need to say. If you don’t let it out, you’ll eventually end up screaming at your roommate about the ketchup or leaving a passive aggressive note about the garbage. Your roommate will lose respect for you and you’ll feel like a jerk. Take your time, think through what you need to say, and solve the problem.

If you haven’t spoken your mind, you relinquish your right to be angry. You’ve given your roommate no chance to fix the problem that is driving you so crazy. And while the anger builds up in your system, your roommate will continue doing that thing that bothers you because they have no idea. If you haven’t said anything, there is no way that they could stop. If you haven’t said anything, you’re the one that’s doing something wrong.

Once you’ve kept yourself from blowing up, got your roommate to sit down with you, and have talked to them calmly, don’t forget that the goal here is to find a solution. You’ll need to compromise and you’ll need to come up with something that works for everyone. Keep in mind that they may have complaints about you. Try not to freak out at them and remember that you could be in the wrong. Or you could just be doing something that happens to bother your roommate. Regardless of what happens, don’t leave the meeting without a concrete solution that everyone is content with.

While it might be fun to complain about your roommates, and give you interesting conversation for that kid you sit next to in class, it will eventually drive you crazy. Don’t let the little things build up and turn you into that person who yells at their roommate. Take some time and speak your mind. You’ll never solve anything if you don’t say anything.