7 Tips on Dealing With a Problem Roommate

Telling your roommate what your expectations are
2. Discuss What Bothers You and Help Your Roommate Change

This is a complicated problem – although you may dislike your roommate’s actions or behavior and you may not always agree with their way of thinking, you can help him or her change. For example, if you’ve decided to replace all your incandescent lightbulbs in with new LED bulbs (which are more expensive), yet your roommate doesn’t want to pay the extra money, you have two options: you can either sit down and try to explain to him or her that there will be a fast return on the investment, since the electricity bills will drop instantly, or you can simply offer to pay for the bulbs yourself. The same principles apply to a variety of other situations, as long as you know how to discuss the problem and how to present the advantages of taking a certain measure.

3. Avoid Playing Into Passive-Aggressive Games

Difficult roommates are difficult for a reason – they may be wild, or they may simply be stubborn and refuse any type of communication. On the other hand, if your roommate is the passive-aggressive type that leaves threats or hostile post-it notes on the fridge, then try to refrain from responding to this attitude, since it will only make things worse. The sole purpose of these passive-aggressive games, which are surprisingly common, is to make you ‘a player in the game’ and then twist your words and actions in such a way that you’ll be the one to blame. If there is something you’d like to say to your roommate, make sure to do it directly. ‘Note wars’ will do neither of you any good – on the contrary, they will only waste time and fray nerves.

4. Set Clear Ground Rules

Telling your roommate what your expectations are and setting clear ground rules may sound the same, but these are actually two different issues. The first one is based on the common sense of your roommate, who should understand and respect your privacy, your habits and your overall way of living. However, sometimes it’s better to clearly outline what your pet peeves are from the beginning. For instance, you can set a ground rule that neither of you is allowed to play loud computer games or listen to music when the other one is reading or working. And make sure to discuss other things, too – if you don’t want your partner to drink alcohol or smoke when you’re around, make sure to clearly say that! You can, for instance, impose a ‘smoke on the balcony only’ rule that both of you will respect.

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