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.