How To Deal With a Bad Roommate: The Top Tips to Know

mad girl scolding messy roommate

30% of Americans ages twenty-three to sixty-five live with a roommate. 

Getting a roommate is a no-brainer for some people. You can get a bigger place and save on expenses like rent, utility bills, and groceries. 

It's easy to envision stocking the fridge with champagne and fondue nights with guests. Yet having a roommate isn't always an episode of Friends.

Loud music, sloppy habits, and messy guests are just a few of the problems you may encounter with a less-than-ideal home buddy.

If you are wondering how to deal with a bad roommate, we've got you covered. Here are some of our favorite tips for making the situation more liveable.

1. Put Chores in Writing

If you are responsible, it can be easy to get into the easy habit of taking the garbage out or doing the dishes without being asked. Yet your roommate may unwittingly take advantage, leaving half-eaten Ramen on the table or letting the wastepaper basket overflow.

One way to give your roommate a very polite hint is to create a list of chores you will each be responsible for. Depending upon your schedules, you may want to take turns doing all the chores on alternating days.  

Remember that it is polite to wipe down the shower after you use it and make your bed in the morning. You don't always need to clean like a celebrity is coming to dinner, but some deeper cleaning is appropriate on days off. This might include vacuuming, window-wiping, and mopping. 

Give each other some grace as this may be the first time either of you has lived with someone who wasn't in their immediate family. Yet remember that a cleaner space will make both of you happier to be at home, especially if you are sharing small space.

2. Plan Quiet Times

You may be up every weekday morning at six, but like to sleep until ten on the weekends. And you may need your space starting around ten every evening.

Be sure your roomie knows when you will require quiet, and they can give you their sleepy hours as well. Noisy alarms, music, or phone conversations when you need quiet is a sure way to make sure that your co-habitation situation deteriorates quickly.

3. Set a Budget

Make sure you are clear from the beginning about how you will be splitting your rent and other bills. Don't get into a habit of "covering" for one another from month to month and promising to repay in the future. You may lose track, or one of you can end up taking serious advantage of the other.

This can also be true for items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and groceries. If one of you does all the food shopping, you should ask your roomie to pay at least half. Don't get into the habit of being the one who keeps the apartment stocked and goes unappreciated.

4. Communicate

Some folks simply can't take a hint, and it may just be because the truth is a bit hurtful. If your roommate has habits you simply can't live with, communicate them firmly and honestly, but with a good deal of compassion.

Some people may need to hear exactly how they are making you feel. And your roommate may appreciate you in the end since it will make them a better housemate to everyone in the long run!

Asking your roommate to communicate their annoyances as well can make it seem more like a conversation than a complaint. Remember not to make it personal.

If you need your roommate to make themselves scarce for the night, let them know with a quick text message at least a day beforehand. Respecting one another's privacy is a great way to make sure you don't develop hidden resentment.

5. Keep Common Spaces Clean

Piles of paper or unwashed sheets are your own business in your bedroom. Yet shared spaces, such as your couch and kitchen, should always be kept clean. 

This does not involve a tremendous amount of elbow grease! Just make sure you keep your clutter out of shared spaces. And wiping things down with a little all-purpose cleaner can go a long way.

Remember that you both will be having guests over from time to time. Keeping common spaces presentable will keep you both more relaxed and peaceful.

6. Make a Change

If hints, written schedules, and honest conversations don't change your roommate's behavior, it may be time to move on. Someone who continues drinking out of the milk carton or not paying the rent simply does not respect your space or resources.

If you are in college, talk to your RA about moving onto a different floor. If you are in your first apartment, you may need to ask your roommate to move out and look for a different situation.

While no roommate is perfect, it is possible to live in peace with someone you aren't related to. Make sure you ask future roommates about their income, cleanliness, or grocery shopping habits before choosing a new live-in buddy. Watch out for the warning signs you may have missed the first time.

How to Deal With a Bad Roommate

If you are wondering how to deal with a bad roommate, get a few things in writing. With some clear communication and established boundaries, you could be enjoying your living space in no time. And you may save some money on shampoo, too.

For more lifestyle advice, read our blog today.


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