Roommates, Student Life

What I Do About My Clingy Roommate?

Your roommate seemed cool until you noticed that they started appearing right behind you every time you turn around.  You also started to notice that they invite themselves out with you when you’re going out with your friends.  They’re there when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you eat, when you study; you’re even half-expecting them to be standing just outside the curtain when you shower!

Scene from the film “The Roommate” directed by Christian Christiansen
Photo from http://www.totalfilm.com

You’re starting to feel creeped out (if you haven’t already been creeped out after that time she somehow ended up in your closet), and you need to do something about it.   But let’s be honest:  How can you tell someone gently that they’re officially creeping you out?

Be sensitive, be kind, and be honest.  The key here is to not say what is exactly on your mind; don’t tell your roommate that she’s creepy and that you think she has dependency issues.  That will only make matters worse.  The other thing you want to avoid is completely ignoring her; don’t just stop talking to her because you think she’s creepy.  This is because 1) there is most likely a reason for why she’s developed a sort of dependency on you, and 2) she has feelings just like you do. While, like we said, it’s not a good idea to tell her you’re creeped out, you definitely want to let her know that what she’s doing is not making you feel comfortable.  Think of the reasons why it doesn’t make you feel comfortable, and explain this to her.  You just have to be cautious when doing this because, like we said, she is most likely doing this for a reason. Be sensitive to that; use statements that focus on the specific actions she does and how that makes you feel rather than focusing on her flaws.

Avoid blaming her and criticizing her for anything.  You don’t want to blame her for why you’re friends don’t seem to want to hang out at your place anymore, or why, for some reason, she widens her eyes when she’s watching you eat your breakfast.  Be sensitive and considerate to her feelings.

Be calm, respectful, and level-headed.  This is not the time to freak out on her for other things she’s done and it’s not the time to completely diss her.  You want to plan out what you are going to say ahead of time and consider her feelings when you say it.  You also want to give her a chance to speak; maybe this way you can get some insight as to why she follows you around.

Overall, no matter what kind of roommate you have, it is always important to talk to them when issues come up.  The best thing you can do is be honest, be respectful, be calm, and be considerate, because you’re roommates: You need your space, but you also need to live together peacefully (for both your sanity).

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Roommates, Student Life

I Hate My Roommate: What To Do When Your Relationship With Your Roommate Goes Wrong

More often than not, you’ll find yourself in a disagreement with your roommate. While not every disagreement will end in a full-blown fight, there may be times when it will.  The only thing you can do is to prepare yourself for those times and to be ready for anything.

For example, say your roommate has been having their significant other over to your place too much.  When you go to talk to them about it, they get defensive and the issue never gets resolved.  Let’s say that after that point it gets very awkward around your place and you end up leaving each other notes, ignoring one another, and/or just not speaking.  What would you have to do?

In every case, you should always try to talk with your roommate again.  Avoid leaving passive aggressive notes for one another (you can see why that might not work on www.passiveaggressivenotes.com) and giving them the silent treatment.  It’s time to act like adults; you’re in college (or maybe out of college, depending on who’s reading this).  Take some time and plan out what you’re going to say to them.  Focus on how their actions make you feel and avoid making it about defects in their personality.

You also want to be sure to talk to them when you are calm and levelheaded; they won’t listen to you if you scream at them.  Be sure to detail your feelings, but also be sure to listen to what they have to say.  No matter what, try hard not to take things too personally or become too defensive; this only makes matters worse.  Instead, try to think logically about what they have to say; this means being able to criticize yourself.  What could you be doing to upset them?

If talking with them doesn’t seem to work and it only seems to make things worse, the only thing you can really do from there is to be civil to one another.  Maintain your consideration and respect for one another.  Being roommates doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be friends, or that you even have to like each other; just as long as you respect one another and are considerate, your relationship (or lack-there-of) can work.

While fighting with your roommate can be traumatic, it happens to a lot of people.  The only thing you can do is prepare yourself for those scenarios when it doesn’t work, and sometimes you do just have to concede that you don’t see eye-to-eye or that you just don’t get along.  Although it stinks when you and your roommate don’t get along, it is better that you both can at least come to an understanding and share mutual respect for one another and your space.

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Housing Advice, Roommates, Student Life

How to Deal with Roommate Issues

Let’s be honest here:  You and your roommate(s) are never going to see eye to eye on everything.  Whether it is about doing dishes, who’s buying the paper towels, or whether they can have friends over at 12 am on a Tuesday night, things are going to come up that you just won’t agree on.  However, you certainly don’t want to end up in a bickering match or giving each other the silent treatment for the rest of the year.  This is why you need to be prepared before it comes time for you to have a talk.  In an article we read at MSN.com, they gave some tips on how to talk with your roommate when problems arise:

  • Avoid passive aggression.  The sticky note you leave your roommate detailing their wrong doings never goes over well (beware not get yourself on this site!).
  • Emphasize the positive.  Before you talk with your roommate, be sure to make a list of their positive qualities.   This will help to remind you what you like about them, and it will help keep you positive when you talk with them.
  • Consider how you could be contributing to the situation.  Usually issues in a relationship are never black and white.  Maybe your roommate never does the dishes because you never do.  You will want to consider how you could make changes too.
  • Be prepared.  NEVER GO INTO A SITUATION LIKE THIS UNPREPARED.  I repeat:  NEVER GO INTO A SITUATION LIKE THIS UNPREPARED.  This is perhaps the most important item on this list.  If you go into a situation like this with your roommate and you have not thought about what you are going to say beforehand, a myriad of (not-so-good) things can happen.  However, what will most likely happen is one of two things:  1) you won’t actually say what you meant to say, or 2) you won’t say it right and it will cause more friction between you and your roommate.  Be prepared!  Think about what you want to say and how you want to approach the situation.  You’ll also want to consider their possible reactions and how you will approach their responses.  You may even want to write down some notes and practice what you’ll say beforehand.  You don’t have to be afraid to talk with your roommate; you just have to be prepared.
  • Pick a comfortable location and time to talk.  You want to pick a time and place where both you and your roommate will be relaxed.  You may even want to set up a time with your roommate to talk with them.  This will help to prevent any outside influences (work, school, etc.) from affecting the outcome of your talk.
  • Be tactful, even-tempered, and clear.  Be clear about what you want to change, and make sure there are no “grey” areas.  You want to keep a cool head and be strategic about how you say what you need to say.  At least then one of you will be levelheaded.
  • Use “I” statements versus “you” statements.  Be sure to avoid focusing the discussion on what your roommate is doing wrong.  Instead focus on how the situation and their behavior makes you feel.  This way you’ll prevent them from shutting out what you are saying.
  • Don’t wait too long to talk to them.  Talk to them within a reasonable amount of time.  If your roommate had a party while you were away, you don’t want to wait 3 months after the fact.  Talk to them within a couple days of when you return.  This way it will be fresh in both of your minds, and it will prevent any future incidents.
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