Guest Post: How to Deal With A Disrespectful Roommate
Today’s guest post is from a student who wishes to remain anonymous. Enjoy!
Most of us will deal with a bad roommate situation at one point or another. These situations are difficult, because they affect you every day.
This past semester I was blessed with a wonderful surprise. I dated a girl (who we’ll call Molly, not her real name) for about a month, and due to differences, it ended rather abruptly, and not amicably. My roommate and best friend since elementary school (we’ll call him Marty) had just been dumped by his girlfriend of 2 years. Long story short, less than two weeks later he and Molly were dating. I warned him it wasn’t a good idea, that it would cause tension, that it would bother me, but none-the-less he went through with it. Call it an epic case of double rebound, they were infatuated. He brought her over every night it seemed, cooked these elaborate dinners for her and left the other roommates and I to clean up the mess. Before this, Marty was always a very considerate, very level-headed guy. Around her though, it seemed all bets were off. Tension arose, long arguments were had. In the end, it boiled down to the fact that he was of the opinion that the only reason there was a problem with any of it was that I had a problem with it, and that if he kept just forcing me to deal with it, I would just get over it.
The following is what I, in hindsight, learned about dealing with a roommate that doesn’t respect you. They’re not all things I did, much of it is what I know would’ve been better. I hope this helps any of you that are experiencing similar issues. Here goes:
1. Disclose how you feel early on.
Don’t expect people to know exactly how you feel, especially if there’s a love interest involved. Their thoughts are elsewhere. Don’t be aggressive or imposing about it, just a simple “hey could you not ______?” should be enough.
2. Don’t argue.
I will be the first person to admit that my biggest pet peeve is when someone seems to deny the obvious. My best friend dating my ex less than 2 weeks after she and I broke up, you bet he asked me “why does that bother you?”. You can answer, but don’t repeat yourself. Going in circles leads to arguments, frustration, and ultimately more tension.
3. Be critical of yourself.
Are you being over-sensitive? Passive aggressive? Fighting dirty? Analyze your own thoughts and behavior in a different setting. Write things down and read them later. Analyze your own thoughts without looking through the lens of your own emotions.
4. Speaking of perspective.
Talk about this with people you trust. Your family, your friends, other roommates. See what they think. Often times they can see the situation differently than you, entirely because they are not you or your roommate. At the very least, they’ll probably try to give you excuses to get out and do something to get away from the issue.
5. Suggest compromises.
Things like asking them to have them over when you’re not there, working together to find a solution that can work.
6. Out of sight is out of mind.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, you just need to get away from the situation entirely. I found solace this semester in going to a student union building on campus almost every evening. Not only did I turn my semester around school-wise, but I found I felt much better on a day-to-day basis.
7. Accept that some things are inevitable.
If you do all the things above, it ultimately comes down to whether or not the other roommate respects you. Marty moved out, ultimately choosing a girl he met a couple months ago over a decade long friendship. You will always lose relationships in life, just as you will always gain new ones. If they don’t respect you, then they are not worth your time anyway. You cannot let it keep you down though.
8. Always take the high road.
This is probably the hardest along with #7. Sometimes it will feel like doing this lets the other person think they’ve won. Perhaps they will think they’ve won, or think they’re right at least. In the end, you are the master of your own decisions. It’s not your responsibility to show them the err of their ways.
It’s a tough road when you have to see them every day, home starts to feel less like a place you’d call home. In the end the most important thing to remember is that you can’t tell someone they’re wrong if they believe they’re right, not matter how obvious it may seem to you. I hope this helps some of you out!
Photo by Wonderjunkie licensed under CC-BY-2.0