How to fix roommate problems? Issues and Solutions
Living with a roommate can be one of the best experiences ever. You get to have a friend and support system all in one. A roommate can be a stranger or even a friend whom you already know. But the whole dynamics change when you start to live together. They become part of your everyday life. You cook, clean, eat and study together. The person who was a stranger or a friend comes close to you. But, not everything is all great about having a roommate. Many times, roommate problems will arise.
These conflicts can be insignificant like groceries or something serious like substance abuse. Like in any relationship, the key to not let conflict develop into a huge fight and chaos is to communicate. Yes, it is as simple as that. Do not underestimate the power of ‘talking it out‘ for roommate problems.
Here is a list of some common roommate problems that may take place and how to resolve them:
1. Cleanliness is next to godliness…or is it?
We all have come across at least one neat freak in our life. They need everything to be in order, right where it was. One speck of dust makes them burst with anger. We have also encountered someone with, well, an opposing regime. They don’t care about neatness at all. They might create a mess, but they can still find their things amongst that mess. Now imagine if we put these two people together to live in one house. I guess we can say things are about to get MESSY (pun intended). One of them would hate dirty dishes and clothes around the house, while the other would not care. Thus, conflict will arise.
Solution: The easiest solution to this would be to create a task list. Sit down together once a week, and plan the work that each of you should do that week. Divide the tasks. It might need some adjusting on both sides, but it will make your lives easier. Or, you can hire a cleaning service at set intervals and split the cost amongst yourselves. It would be a hassle-free way of resolving the cleanliness issue.
2. Cannot have people over ALL the time
Your roommate may be a social butterfly. As a result, they would end up making a lot of friends. Chances are that these friends would be over at the house sometimes. But, what if “sometimes” turns to ALL the time? You might want to come back to a quiet home and relax. But there are always all these random friends all over the place. Conflict will arise.
Solution: Communicating is the best way to solve this problem. Your roommate might not even realize that this is an issue. Talk about it, and explain how you feel. You can arrange how many times friends should be over. They can always meet at a coffee shop or the mall.
3. Keeping the home secure is a must
No one wants their home broken into by intruders. That is a dangerous situation to be in. That is why home security systems and locks are there. They keep you safe from such instances. But, what do you do if your roommate forgets about home security? What if they always forget to lock the door? Maybe they are not as concerned about security as you. Or they are straight-up careless. In any case, it is a risk not worth taking.
Solution: You can resolve this issue by keeping up a checklist in front of all doors. It will be easy to keep track of things like shutting off lights, locking the doors, etc.
When they step out, the checklist would remind them what to do.
4. “You could have at least asked me for it!”
We all have physical and personal boundaries. That means it is not okay to enter your space without your permission. But, sometimes roommates fail to realize this. They might get a bit too friendly and start thinking that they can use your belongings on their whims. That is not right at all. It is not okay to enter another person’s room without their permission. Respecting boundaries is essential to avoid conflicts.
Solution: Have a clearly defined idea of what things are common for both of you and what is not. Talking to your roommate about invading your privacy is the first step. Ask them to ask for permission before using any item which is not common. But, if they continue to disrespect boundaries, then installing a lock on your door might be handy.
5. Sleepovers are fun, but only for so long.
If your roommate has a significant other, it is natural to spend quality time with them. Sometimes the day is not enough, which is why your roommate might want to have them sleep over at night. But what happens if suddenly they are staying over all the time. Or they are using up all the hot water? It is probably time they pay some of those bills, isn’t it? It can be a significant issue for you. And thus, addressing it is necessary.
Solution: Talk about how often and how long visitors are allowed. Set basic rules for situations where someone might sleepover at night. Do not forget to give a notice in advance if someone may stay over.
6. Lack of respect
Living with a roommate who doesn’t respect you or your living space can be excruciating. They might use foul language, be manipulative, disregard your opinions, beliefs and identity. It might make your life very miserable.
Solution: Find a time that you are both calm, and communicate. Respectfully tell them how their actions are disrespectful and negatively affecting you. You don’t want to escalate the situation by having a huge fight about it. Take the high road. Yet, if they continue with their behaviour, don’t negate the option of kicking them out. Get your landlord involved if needed.
7. Illegal activities? Please no.
It is an issue no one should have to deal with. Living with a roommate involved in illegal activities is dangerous. Whether they are stealing candies or preparing to be the next Pablo Escobar doesn’t matter. A crime is a crime, and it must be dealt with.
Solution: Depending on the severity of the crime, you might want to take different actions. You definitely should not ignore the crime. If the police find out about your roommate’s crime, there is a high chance you might also be implicated. If your roommate’s name is on the lease, get the landlord involved. Keeping stolen items on the property directly affects the landlord too. If their name isn’t on the lease, carefully ask them to move out. But, don’t do this if you don’t feel safe. If you think your roommate might harm you, get the police involved.
Disagreements with roommates are common, but there are ways to get around it. Use a roommate agreement to minimize roommate problems from the beginning. Do not be scared to take severe action and ask for support if the issue gets out of hand!