Can’t Get Along With Your College Roommate?

You’ve headed off to college with visions of checking into your dorm, getting to your room and meeting your roommate. In this daydream you might imagine finding a bosom buddy where you’ll share and confide in each other throughout the next two to four exciting years in your life. Unfortunately, when you get there, you’re dismayed to find the two of you get off on the wrong foot and, as the weeks pass by, the problem seems to get more aggravated.

It can be difficult and uncomfortable to share close living quarters with someone you just can’t seem to “click” with. After you’re both settled in and no matter which corner of the room you turn to, you can’t escape from one another, as time goes on you barely speak to one another and the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

What do you do if you simply can’t get along with your college roommate?

If the problems do not seem to be subsiding, it may appear the situation is hopeless. Don’t despair, there are a few approaches you can try to resolve your differences.

Talk, Talk, Talk!

Communication is the best avenue to take in any relationship which experiences conflict. If you and your roommate can manage a civil and honest conversation, it may pave the way to a solution or compromise. Often problems manifest as the result of an initial misunderstanding. Talking it out it may help relieve the tension.

Opening the lines of communication may not make you the best of friends, but the two of you might at least be able to tolerate one another once you’ve established guidelines you can both live with.

Contact your Resident Advisor

Your RA may be able to offer some objective advice about your situation and even provide you with some pointers of how to resolve it. If the situation has already escalated beyond the point of discussion, your RA might be able to intervene and facilitate a conversation to help you and your roommate come to a mutual understanding that is at least bearable.

Grin and Bear It

Effectively learning the art of perseverance is an important life skill. Try to extract something positive from a bad situation by looking at it as a learning experience. Along the way you’ll gain a lot of wisdom that you’ll be able to apply to future conflicts that may arise in your future career. Knowing how to successfully deal with conflict is a valuable tool to have.

Request a Room Change

What do you do when you can't get along with your college roommate?

College Campus: Photo credit – Leigh Goessl

This should probably be your last course of action once the semester starts. Keep in mind this may not be an option depending on availability of rooms in the dorm or elsewhere on campus, but if the situation is that bad, it can’t hurt to ask.

It’s inevitable at some point you’ll run into someone during your life where personalities will clash. Sometimes this happens because of a misunderstanding and other times it’s due to differences in fundamental beliefs that can’t be reconciled. In life’s journey, it’s inevitable undoubtedly encounter unpleasant or challenging situations along the way.

The key to successfully navigation through a difficult roommate situation is to carefully evaluate your options and be pro-active, not reactive. By taking steps to resolve the situation and not react in a negative fashion will at least keep the situation under control. Rash behavior on either roommate’s part will only escalate the problem. If all else fails, you can bid one another adieu at the end of the year and start fresh with a new roommate next term. Sometimes a resolution just cannot be reached and in that case it’s best to remove yourself from the situation before it exacerbates further.


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