How your roommate affects your mental health

  • by Tanmayee Sanda
  • 10-10-2021
  • 2 minutes
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We often get influenced by the people we live with and spend time with. The personalities of our parents, friends and peers have a notable influence on our mental health. When we live with new roommates, they exert an effect on our personalities as well.

Initially, living with a roommate is awkward for both parties. Maybe you are a morning person, but your roommate dislikes getting out of bed before noon. You like listening to music while studying, but they need silence. Over time, roommates get the hang of these differences.

We get over these differences with a lot of adjustments and compromises. So there’s no denying that your roommate affects your behaviour and mental health. 

This impact is known as the “Roommate Effect”. Let’s look at how the person you are sharing your house with can impact your life. 

Incompatibility is a disaster. 

Our home is a safe space for us. Being able to share it with someone who has a compatible personality and attitude is bliss. But not everyone is so lucky. 

When we live with incompatible roommates, life becomes stressful. Conflicts arise at the most minor things. Most of these conflicts happen because of personality clashes and lack of communication. The constant fights, passive-aggressive behaviours can be exhausting. 

Living in such a hostile environment of stress is harmful to our mental health. A compatible roommate creates a safe and positive environment to live in. 


Messy slobs are infectious.

A messy roommate can make our life hell. The environment we live in has a significant impact on our physical and mental health. 

Living in a messy, dirty house makes us feel moody, overwhelmed, and frustrated at times. This frustration is greater if the roommate is not even bothered about cleaning it up. 

This may lead you to feel not in control of your surroundings and anxious. 


Protect your grades from your roommates

Your roommate’s habits can have an impact on your grades. Let me explain. Suppose you have a roommate who spends a lot of time in gaming, which has become part of the house culture. Then, if you see them enjoying the game, you’re inclined to join them. It’s a domino effect. 

This takes time away from your studies and, as a result, impacts your grades. So, your roommate isn’t directly stopping you from doing your work, but they indirectly impact your studies and behaviour.

A good roommate positively impacts your grades by studying together and being encouraging. They are there to celebrate your achievements. 

The ability to share your success with your roommate has a direct impact on your mental health. 


Your roommate’s attitude influences your attitude.

Whether positive or negative, our roommates tend to steer us in the same way with them. 

A person who is optimistic and has a strong sense of self-esteem tends to influence their roommate in the same way. But if you live with a pessimistic and gloomy person, the result of it on your demeanour is also the same. 



Any person who has ever lived with a roommate can tell you the effect roommates have on your mental health. For a healthier environment and sound mental health in shared living, always research your potential roommates first. Make a list of things you are looking for in a person you want to live with. Looking for an ideal roommate is tough, but it pays in the longer term. 

Take our quiz to know if your roommate is affecting your mental health: Is my roommate affecting my mental health?

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