How to Handle a Bad Roommate: A Guide

How to Handle a Bad Roommate: A Guide


By Joanne Rosa

Things are never so simple when you live with someone else.

Wendy says, “Anything can go wrong, and it usually does” when you have a roommate.

Having a roommate or two, you’re bound to run into some aggravating situations. Maybe your roommate forgot to lock the door on the way out; maybe he or she leaves dirty dishes in the sink; or maybe you are being accused of poisoning the dish detergent! If you can relate in anyway to the last examples, chances are you have a bad roommate.

Unfortunately, unless you have suddenly made it in life, you probably have to deal with this person long enough that you want to make your living situation as comfortable as possible.

Wendy Show is here to help with this simple guide on how to keep the peace in a not ideal living situation.

Step 1: Accept That the Living Situation Won’t be Perfect


No matter how great a roommate is, it will never be as great as living on your own. The sooner you actually lower your expectations for what a roommate should be doing, and think more about what they are not required to do, you’ll be better off. There is no need to make yourself stressed out over a roommate. Sure, they should be wiping down the kitchen after they cook, but it’s not something to make a fuss over (unless the mess is attracting little pests). Anyway, life isn’t perfect, and neither is living with a roommate. If you can accept that, then you’re already halfway to getting a handle on your bad roommate situation.

Step 2: Lay Out the Rules from the Beginning


If you haven’t done this already, then of course you’re going to have problems. Whether you’re living with someone that is the same gender and age as you are, or someone that is from another country with another religion, you both have different backgrounds and upbringings. You might think that what you deem as common courtesy is the same as your roommate, but you will learn all too soon that this is not the case. It might sounds extra, but sit down with your roommate(s) and a notepad, and discuss the rules of your place. Set rules for the bathroom (VERY important), divide the fridge and the cabinets appropriately, discuss the rules for the common areas in the house (including cleaning). Once you’ve all agree on the communal conditions of your crib, type it out, date it, print it, sign it, and send photo copies to everyone. Believe me you, this will come in handy when something in the house goes amiss.

Step 3: Don’t Let Things Go On for Too Long


In “Ask Wendy,” it’s always a wonder why some Wendy Watchers let things in their life that they don’t like, go on for so damn long. This is not how adults handle things, and that’s because it’s (A) awkward AF to bring it up after so long, and (B) difficult to manipulate the situation at hand in your favor after letting it go by for months (or years) on end. If there is something going on in your place that you’re not fond of, it’s safe to say that you can (usually) bring it up to your roommate after the third go around. However, if it’s something more serious, like if your roomie left your apartment door wide open for example, do NOT let that slide. Bring up that slip up to your roommate immediately.

Step 4: Lock Your Bedroom, and Brand Your Stuff


If you haven’t done so already, get a lock on your bedroom. “People tend to be curious about the person that they’re living with,” Wendy notes on rooming with other people. “There’s just too much temptation with a door wide open and no lock on it… sometimes sticky fingers do happen.” While we’re on the subject of sticky fingers, make sure you label anything you don’t want your roommate(s) to use with a permanent marker, put your initials on things that you don’t want your roommate to use (like your spices), or that you would like to designate as your own. The last thing you want is a quarrel on whose lemon juice is in the fridge.

Step 5: Get Those Receipts


To all of the Wendy Watchers out there, you’re fabulous, but it is still a mystery why you all do not get those receipts. Whenever possible, leave a paper trail. If you’re always arguing about whose turn it is to buy garbage bags, toilet paper, or what have you, get the receipt to what you bought and stick it on the fridge. It will have the date, and it will have the item(s) that were purchased. Highlight the date and the household items that apply. When you pay your roommate for the utilities or vise versa, keep track of everything. Paper trail is KEY.

Step 6: Don’t Get Dramatic

Hot Topics is great, but you don’t want to create one! If your roommate is being dramatic, don’t feed into it. The one that loses their shit first is always the one that loses. Take a step back, and look at the situation from your roommate’s perspective. Is there any truth to what is being said, or is he or she just being dramatic? Now, apply the same system to your own issues with your roommate. Remember that you have to actually live with this person. Decide if it’s worth arguing over. Chances are, it’s not worth a big to do. But if it is something you need to bring up, just keep your cool. Don’t let yourself get crazy over it.

Tell Us: How did you handle a shitty roommate in your life? Did it work?