Column: How to deal with crappy roomates

By: Shaya Rogers, Managing Editor

The problem with roommates is that you cannot live with them, but you cannot afford a place to live without them. In college, we often hear horror stories from friends and acquaintances about all types of roommates.

Like many aspects of adulthood, sharing a home with someone does not come with a guide. It is figured out through trial and error, which depending on the error can be a terrible experience.

The Chronicle has put together a few options to consider when choosing a roommate, and what to do when dealing with a crappy roommate.

A good way to ensure a peaceful living situation is to choose wisely. Choosing someone with somewhat similar life goals and qualities should provide a head start to co-existing.

When one roommate is uncomfortable with parties and the other wants to have people over almost every night, it is going to create problems. Pay attention to the little things and set a solid foundation. Do not be scared to interview a few different people to get a feel for their communication skills and their likes and dislikes.

Making a contract sounds a lot more intimidating than it should be. It is fairly easy to sit down and agree to a few basic guidelines. This contract should not include nit picking every small detail, but should map out a few major issues including sharing utilities, a cleaning schedule, sharing food, sharing electronics and noise levels. Keeping an open line of communication and about important guidelines is a good place to start and will hopefully inspire an open dialog. The longer the conversation is put off, the harder it will be to approach and no one wants to deal with a roommate that is freaking out about cleaning the bathroom.

A good rule of thumb, let go of the little things. Try not to let negative feelings linger. If there is a big issue that needs to be addressed, then take care of it. Do not let personal quirks get in the way of the living situation. A messy room is allowed, however, a messy shared space is not. Let go and realize that roommates are going to be annoying and that is just part of living with another person. Take a moment to consider if an issue is worth making a big deal about.

There is a possibility that someone may need to move out. If the living situation has become unbearable and there is obvious awkward, uncomfortable tension, moving out may be a positive thing. It is not the end of the world, sometimes people just do not get along. Try to approach the split in an objective way, making it clear that it is not going to work, and give at least one month’s notice. Most of the time, the feeling will be mutual anyway. Try to find a place that is paid for month to month rather than getting a place with a lease. This way, just in case it does not work out, no one is trapped into staying somewhere they do not want to be.

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