How to deal with a toxic roommate

  • by Tanmayee Sanda
  • 10-09-2021
  • 4 minutes
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Does your roommate make you do things you don’t want to do? Or do you always keep defending yourself and your lifestyle in front of them? Or do they do wrong to you and then don’t even apologize? Do you never feel completely at ease in their presence & do they confuse you by their actions? If your answer to most of these questions is yes. Then, my friend, you are living with a toxic roommate!
Toxic people come in different shapes and sizes. So it is tough to identify if someone is toxic or just doesn’t get along with you in the initial few meetings. Being clingy, needy, manipulative, passive-aggressive and energy-draining are few indicators that the person might be toxic. Being in their presence can be exhausting, let alone living with them in the same house.
Letting them go immediately is the best solution. But not everybody is lucky to do so because of many reasons. In such cases, you have to learn to live with them. But you can follow the following tips to deal with a toxic roommate. This can help you to prevent things from going from bad to worse.

Set some ground rules and boundaries

The first step in coping with a toxic roommate is to develop a set of ground rules for living together. Ensure that they are not crossing your boundaries. Having strict boundaries is crucial because toxic people often push you to get a reaction out of you. Establishing a system with consequences for unacceptable behaviours protects your privacy. It also doesn’t let your roommate take undue advantage of you.

Stop the negative talk in its track

If your toxic roommate finds out that you entertain their gossip and bitching people. Then they are going to come and rant at you every single time something doesn’t go their way. That would be a real waste of time. When you feel that your roommate is about to start a ranting session, change the topic or excuse yourself. If you don’t give them a good laugh or reaction, they might not see the point in discussing these topics with you.

Invest in a Quality Headphone Set

Earphones are good indicators that you are busy or not interested. Which means you don’t have time to entertain your roommate’s problems. Also, they come in aid for situations where your roommate refuses to turn down the volume. If you can’t change your roommate, find other ways to reduce their presence for yourself.

Don’t be frightened to say what you’re thinking

Confrontations can be frightening and anxiety-provoking. But it is something you must overcome when dealing with a toxic roommate. If they decide to push your boundaries, you must not be scared to say no or to stand your ground. If something bothers you, or if your roommate violates a regulation in your roommate contract, you must speak up and bring the issue to your roommate’s attention. If you don’t say something, the other person won’t realize there’s a problem and will continue to act in the same way. Because everyone in the room shares it, don’t let one person make the rules.

Don’t take on any additional housework

If your roommate is particularly lazy when it comes to doing their share of the housework, resist the urge to do it for them. If they’re a typical toxic person, they’ll try to guilt you into doing more than your fair part of the chores. Don’t ever fall for it. In the short term, they may be angry with you, but in the long run, your sanity and happiness are far more essential. Plus, taking up their slack “just once” sets a precedent that you’ll be forced and manipulated to follow in the future. Just be careful that you don’t find yourself doing all the housework alone someday.

Get a New Outside-the-House Hobby

If things between the two of you aren’t working out no matter how hard you try, you could try spending less time with that toxic individual. Hang out with your pals on campus. You won’t have to deal with your toxic roommate’s toxicity as much if you see them less frequently. Not suggesting that you should let them “win” by leaving your home or apartment all the time. But having a safe place to go when they’re being particularly difficult to deal with can be helpful. Some time apart can be helpful for both of you.

Try to be empathic with yourself and with your roommate

The best thing you can do if your roommate is being passive-aggressive and domineering is to talk it out. They are most likely dealing with something unrelated to you and are unsure how to manage their anger and frustrations in a healthy manner. Maybe, they have experienced something in the past that has compelled them to act in this manner to avoid being wounded by others.
If you see this behaviour, you can approach them calmly and express your feelings about their actions.
Rather than trying to change them—which is both unlikely and time-consuming given that housemates are only temporary. Try to understand that their actions are motivated by necessity rather than malice. You also have to be empathetic with yourself.


Remember you don’t deserve any maltreatment that you are going through. Unfortunately, there is no one who can speak for you other than yourself. So if you are uncomfortable because of your roommate’s actions, don’t feel guilty, even if you know the reason behind your roommate’s actions. Let them know by speaking up and try to find a solution instead of suffering in silence.
Did you find the tips listed in this article helpful? Do you have any other tips which you would like to share?
If you still want to give it a chance and fix roommate problems, check out our blog on How to fix roommate problems? Issues and Solutions.
Also, don’t forget to try our quiz on Is my roommate affecting my mental health?

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