How to Deal With a Bad College Roommate

If you’re reading this because you’re not getting along with your college roommate, don’t fret. BFF roommates are the exception, not the rule. It’s far more likely that your college roommate will simply be someone who helps you figure out what you don’t like in a life partner. If that’s the case, here are a few ways to deal with a bad college roommate that might help you avoid getting into a blood feud your freshman year.

Talk to Your RA

Your resident advisor is there to do just that. They advise. They are usually there to advise specifically on roommate issues and are often trained in conflict management. If you feel like your situation is untenable, use them as a listening ear. It’s likely they’ll have some good advice for you, and they’re probably way easier to lock down than a counselor. Also, if it does become apparent that one of you will have to move, they’re most likely going to be the person that will kick start that process, so better to get to know them sooner rather than later.

Document Everything

If you roommate is problematic from the start, but you don’t think anyone will agree with you at first, start writing down what you don’t like. This way, when you decide to either confront them or seek assistance from someone else to deal with any problems, you’ll have a well-documented pattern of behavior. That kind of thing will go a long way toward making you look rational and mature. And, let’s face it, you probably are.

Don’t Gossip

If you’re having an issue with the person you share a small space with, it’s best not to invite anyone else into that space. Odds are you share some mutual friends, but however satisfying it may be to vent to those friends about how horrible your roommate is, it’s not worth it in the long run. Gossiping that gets back to the other person involved has a nasty way of turning what could be a small problem into a giant, hurt feelings, tear-jerking feud. Spoiler alert: this is college, not Vietnam. There is nothing that happens that is so bad you can’t keep it to your parents or your RA.


Sometimes, despite best efforts, things don’t work out. It sucks, but when colleges put together anonymous people to share small spaces, it’s not going to work out 100% of the time. When it looks like it’s not going to, figure out how to move, fast. This is a relationship that has an incredible amount of power over your life. Having roommate problems will make it difficult to concentrate on your classes, and class is the reason you fought so hard to go to Alabama State University or USC Online or wherever you worked really hard to go to. If you can’t get along with the random the school assigned you, move out and make your life better. Don’t make it a point of pride to be the one who “wins” the crappy freshman dorm. It’s not worth it.


5 Helpful Tips for Getting Along With Your College Roommate

One of the unique parts of going to college is the experience of having a roommate. Because most schools tend to put you with people you’ve never met, then force you to share small spaces with them, here are five tips to help you get along with whomever the starts align you with.

1. Know Your Deal Breakers

It’s best to go into a roommate situation knowing what you absolutely need for the relationship to work and what you absolutely cannot live with. This is something that could have a direct effect on your academic performance, so you need to treat it with extreme care. Make sure that you figure out what you need to be happy and healthy in your living space before you arrive on campus. Only then will you be in a position to ask for those conditions from your roommate.

2. Avoid Being a Control Freak

Having a roommate means you aren’t the final word in your living situation. Like a married couple, you’re going to have to share a space in a way that makes two people happy, not just one. Once you’ve identified your priorities about your living space, think about a few things that you can be flexible on. If your roommate is good about no overnight guests and lights out by 10pm, perhaps you can lighten up on where they put their shoes or whom they have over during the day. If you give a little here and there, it’ll go a long way toward them doing the same.

3. Set Firm Ground Rules

When you first meet your roommate, have a discussion about what’s allowed and what isn’t. Then write down those rules so they’re set in stone. This means you’ll have both clearly communicated what you’re willing to live with, so if either of you deviates from it, you’ll be able to have a good jumping off point to resolve the conflict. If you don’t do this, both of you can claim ignorance if you annoy each other in the future. Trust us, that’s not a situation you want to be in.

4. Remember You’re Roommates First, Friends Second

This relationship could grow into a beautiful friendship, but it’s important to remember that’s the exception to the rule. Most often roommate relationships either end in peaceful co-habitation or feuds. Don’t enter into this experience with the expectation that you’re going to be best friends. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and friction. Concentrate on making the room a place where you both can study and sleep. Once you’ve established that,thenyou can work on the friend thing.

5. There’s No Shame in Moving

If you don’t get along, you don’t get along. It happens. While emotions can run high in this kind of conflict, it’s not a time for pride. Say you’ve always wanted to go to Alabama State University. Are you going to let a bad roommate ruin that for you? This is your living situation and it can have a drastic effect on all areas of your life. If it isn’t working out, move. If the other person does it first, that’s great. But, if they don’t, there is no shame in just getting the heck out of that situation as soon as possible. You’ll be surprised by how much you don’t care about pride once you have your peace of mind back. When it comes to personal growth, you can learn more from your roommate in college than you can from your actual classes.