5 Common Roommate Issues and How to Address Them

There’s no doubt about it — sharing a dorm room with someone for the first time comes with its fair share of adjustments. Take a look at these five common roommate issues and see how we suggest addressing them.

1. Your roommate leaves a mess everywhere.

We all have our own personal organization styles, and that’s totally cool, but it’s easy getting irked when your roommate lets their messes pile up in your shared space. Especially if it involves leaving food and dirty clothes around!

The solution: Let your roomie know you’ve been thinking of putting together a cleaning schedule and would love to work on it together. That way, it feels like less of an accusation and more like a group project. You guys can both put your heads together and work out your cleaning expectations in a civil manner.


2. Your roommate always has friends over.

Does it sometimes feel like you have a third roommate…or even a fourth or fifth? When you feel like you can’t even use your dorm room to study, take naps or just relax, it’s definitely an issue.

The solution: Have a chat with your roommate and come up with a system you both agree on. For example, you can both decide on a time of day when guests are off limits, or you can agree to shoot each other a quick text before bringing someone over.



3. Your roommate takes your things without asking.

Do you ever walk in after a day of classes, only to see your roommate rocking your favorite new shirt? The one you haven’t even gotten a chance to wear yourself yet? Or maybe you go to grab a granola bar before class only to reach into an empty box…And you know you didn’t leave it that way. Sharing with your roommate is great, but there needs to be a mutual understanding of what’s cool to take and what’s not.

The solution: If you’re not comfortable with direct confrontation, set the precedent by asking to borrow something of theirs. It can be as simple as, “Hey, I love your black heels and was wondering if I can borrow them for recruitment next week.” If they agree, you can finish off by saying, “Thanks! I’d love to share with you too sometimes, so feel free to ask me if you see something you want to borrow — just so I have a heads up.”


4. Your roommate is loud when you’re studying or sleeping.

Whether you get woken up at the crack of dawn by your roommate slamming the dresser drawers shut, or they put the TV on blast when you’re clearly sitting at your desk studying, excessive noise is an annoying issue.

The solution: Try some less confrontational solutions first, like putting in headphones or taking your study materials to the library when you can. If that’s not enough to put the issue to rest, you’ll have to address it head on. Try saying something like, “Hey, I should probably tell you that I’m a very light sleeper. Can you try to keep the volume to a minimum while I’m sleeping? I’ll definitely make sure I do the same for you.”


5. Your roommate is mean to you.

This one is rough…Sometimes people just aren’t very pleasant! It’s really uncomfortable sharing a space with someone who’s rude and just generally acts like they don’t like you.

The solution: First, try to talk it out with them directly. Let them know you want to make sure you guys are both comfortable with each other, but you get the feeling they have an issue with you. If this doesn’t solve anything, reach out to your RA. They can either help mediate the situation, or give you information about swapping to another room. Your living situation isn’t permanent, and you shouldn’t stick around if you’re not treated right!


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