The basics
Study abroad : Student Accommodation

Common roommate problems- how to solve them

Have never had to share your room with anyone? Worried if you can get along with a stranger living in the same room? We can help..

664

Sharing your living space with someone that isn’t compatible can be a very trying ordeal, especially when you’ll be stuck with them for at least a semester. The types of issues that arise can go from mild grievances and escalate into really toxic situations.

 

But first, make sure you feel safe

This is very important. If you find yourself in a situation where you fear for your safety or the safety of your roommate, contact your resident adviser, campus security or law enforcement immediately. The same holds true if you find out that your roommate is involved in illegal activities.

 

5 tips to keeping the peace

Living with someone else in your space is no easy feat, especially when that person behaves in a way that you find abrasive. The lack of space, home-sickness and the stress of adjusting to a brand new environment and coping with your studies can attribute to nasty disputes with your roommate. Fortunately, most disputes can be resolved peacefully if both parties compromise and behave reasonably. Here we look at the five most common problems-

 

1. Personal space

In a roommate where space is so scarce, having your space being slowly encroached by your roommate can get incredibly vexing very quickly. First they stash their hairspray on your side of the bathroom. Then they take over the fridge with their chocolates and orange juice. Then suddenly you find their stuff in your side of the closet. Here are a few things that you can do.

Approach your roommate in a non-accusatory manner and ask if they need help organizing their space. They might simply be overwhelmed and just setting things down on whatever available flat surface they find.

Offer a compromise. If they take up most of the counter space in the bathroom if they give up the extra closet space that they’re using.

Set a firm deadline. As a last resort, you may need to politely, but firmly state that your roommate needs to stop taking over your personal space now. 

 

2. Messiness

Your standard of cleanliness might vary from that of your roommate’s. So to prevent this conflict from happening in the first place, come up with an agreement regarding a cleaning schedule and a few ground rules. In future if conflicts do arise, you can always refer to the original agreement.

 

3. Overnight visitors

There might be times when your roommate or you will need to have an overnight guest. Roommates that are not hosting the guest should be given advance notice to prevent any disruption to their shcedules. The guest should come prepared to sleep on the floor or the couch. If one roommate begins abusing the privilege, a limit on guests needs to be instituted.

 

4. Respect each other's schedules

Different people work differently. While you might prefer to burn the midnight oil for an exam, your roommate might prefer to go to bed early in preparation for the very same exam. Noise is the most common issue and you both should come to an agreement regarding what is acceptable and what is not at the very start. This rule applies when you have friends over. Be considerate to one another so that the other is not inconvenienced or disrupted.

Sharing your room with someone means that both parties need to be flexible and compromise.

 

5. Lack of communication

Communication is key in resolving most problems before they deteriorate and make living with that person impossible. Always approach your roommate in a non-confrontational manner and tell them what you need from them or what you need them to stop doing. Oftentimes, said roommate might not realise that it is something that bothers you and will be more than happy to adjust their habits slightly so that you are both happy.

 

Interested in studying abroad? Check out the courses available here.

Want to know more about a certain university? Download university prospectuses now!

 

Useful links

Dorm room decorating tips

What to do during your gap year

Having trouble finishing that essay? We’ve got 18 hacks for you

Tips on how to get more out of your day

Study pitfalls that you should avoid

Learn more about the different ways you can finance your studies  

Search for a course

Choose a country
Study level*
About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.