College roommate trouble: How to know and what to do if you’ve chosen the wrong roommate

Roommate troubleHigh school and your parents are in the rearview mirror — life is good, right? Well, that may depend on who turns out to be sharing your dorm room. Finding a college roommate that you mesh with can be harder than it looks. And, even if you managed to hand-pick yours, things may not work out the way you planned. Here’s how to know if you may have chosen the wrong roommate and how to switch before you drive each other nuts!

Roommate compatibility

Finding a college roommate is really no different than finding a roommate at any stage in your life. The hard part is that it is probably the first time you have had to go through the process and there can be a learning curve. On June 27, 2012, Alyse Whitney wrote “Here’s How To Weed Out The Psychos And Find A Roommate on Craigslist” for Business Insider. In the article, Whitney explains how to search for a roommate after college, but many of her tips apply to anyone searching for someone to share their space with. Here are her top three points that translate directly to college life:

  1. Opposites don’t attract: Whitney suggests getting a sense for your potential roommate’s personality and lifestyle. If you don’t mesh, then the living situation will most assuredly be difficult — “you must be on the same page, even if you aren’t best friends,” she explains. If this sounds like your situation, it might be time to explore other options.
  2. Love it? List it!: Also relevant from Whitney’s advice, “The easiest way to find someone else you’ll get along with is by identifying shared interests.” So, make a list of what you like and share it with your roommate. If he or she cannot make heads or tails of your interests, it may not be a perfect match.
  3. Meet and greet: If your current roomie isn’t “the one,” try connecting with some other people and seeing how their routines fit with yours. Ask questions ranging from “Are you a morning person?” to “Do you prefer quiet weekends or wild parties?”

Lesson learned

Think finding a college roommate can’t possibly be that hard? On February 29, 2012, Tony Buhr wrote a post for The Daily Evergreen, Washington State University’s paper, titled “Be careful who you live with.” Buhr writes about the difficulties that can arise when you don’t pick the right college roommate. He explains, “I lived with a guy my first semester of college who I knew I would butt-heads with immediately upon entering the room. All of his items were stored in containers in a precisely organized manner and I have never been known for my cleanliness. The difficulties only increased from there.”

The lesson Buhr learned was that not only is it wise to pick a roommate that makes similar lifestyle choices, but that you should also keep your personal thoughts about their choices to yourself — or the inevitable drama will ensue. If you find yourself in this challenging position, make the best of the situation until you can find a way out. Nothing is going to be gained by deliberately driving each other crazy. Talk it over, find a way to peacefully coexist during the time you have remaining and know that you will be a little wiser the next go-around.

So, if you’ve chosen poorly

A bad roommate is one learning experience you can do without in college. If after all your best efforts, you can’t make it work, try the following:

  1. Be honest about your concerns. If you’ve gotten to the were every little thing annoys you or you become passive aggressive, get out of the situation before it becomes hostile or ruins your friendship. Having the ability to have an honest conversation will ensure that you both are on the same page with each other.
  2. Get your RA involved. If you’ve tried everything and there are still issues with your roommate, try getting your RA involved. Maybe they have some techniques or advice that will help.
  3. If all else fails, request a transfer. If nothing else has worked and you cannot live in your current conditions, you can request a transfer out of the dorm room. This might be the thing you need to get a fresh start by either living solo or with a new roomie.

Ultimately, try to avoid problems by choosing wisely and being honest about what you are looking for and how you like to live. You will make your life easier in the process and enjoy your college experience a whole lot more.

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