Difficult Roommates: 10 Tips for Living Stress-Free

Roommates. We’ve all had to deal with them. Some good. Some bad. Nonetheless, they can provide some great memories or memories that you truly wish to forget. My time at the University of Central Florida (UCF) consisted of having great roommates, whom I still consider friends today, to difficult roommates that I honestly have no idea about.

Difficult Roommates: 10 tips for living stress free

Difficult Roommates: What Not to do

Over my years of living with other people, I have some roommate horror stories to share. I asked some friends and they too had a few stories to share.

Pickle Juice Surprise

My roommate was studying for a test in bed and had an open jar of pickles. She forgot that the jar was open and walked away from her bed for a quick minute. When she came back, the pickle jar had spilled all over her bed sheets.

Did she wash her bed sheets right away? Of course not! She took them off the bed and kept them balled up in a corner for the rest of the semester to funk up.

Don’t be that person.

The Underwear Thief

On Twitter, I received this story from my friend, Katie.

Difficult Roommate Horror Stories: Tweet that reads, "Not me but my friend Jesdica [sic] kept having her nice underwear stolen!"
Don’t mess with my hard earned money! Panties are not cheap these days.

Gas Station Reliever

Another story from Twitter, from my friend, Cam.

Difficult Roommate Horror Stories: tweet that reads, "Had a roommate piss next to the atm at 7/11 near the five guys in downtown Orlando. Then he proceeded to get mad at the cashier because he didn't want him pissing on the floor (three laughing face emojis) other friend had to pay him $100 not to call the fuzz"
Good for his other friend for stepping up

The Tattletale

Here is a message I received on Instagram, they chose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

Difficult Roommate Horror Stories: Instagram message that reads, "I went to a private Christian school my first year of college. I went home for the weekend with some girlfriends and went out to a night club. My parents knew and were find with it because they knew we were responsible and wouldn't drink/smoke/have sex. When I got back my roommate somehow found [out] and reported me to our RA and I ended up getting suspended for being at a place of questionable judgment. (I don't want my name attached but wanted to send a sorry [sic]"
To me, this sounds like she had major FOMO.

Intoxicated BM

Here is another story from Twitter from my friend, Presley.

Difficult Roommate Horror Stories: Tweet that reads, "I once had a roommate that shit her bed in her sleep because she was so drunk. She was very nice though (laughing face emoji)"
Would hate to clean up that mess!

Difficult Roommates: Signs of a Passive Aggressive Roommate

One of the most common types of difficult roommates are the passive aggressive kind. They will beat around the bush all day every day instead of telling you directly what is wrong.

The Froggie Murderer

First, I would like to say that this is not one of my prouder moments. I was young and naive and have since grown up. I do not condone the mistreatment and harming of animals.

My junior year of college I was rooming with my friend, Deanna, for the second year and Tamara for the first. The three of us became very good friends and enjoyed spending time with each other. We made United States shaped ravioli, countless yummy desserts, and watched lot of TV and movies together.

Difficult Roommates - homemade ravioli in the shape of the United States of America on wax paper on a cookie sheet
Not only did it look great, but it tasted amazing too!

During that semester, we had a new roommate move in and she was a very sweet girl. She kept to herself at first and joined in with us as she started to warm up.

Obtaining the frog

Rebecca (name changed to retain anonymity) decided that we needed a room pet. We were not allowed to have anything more than an animal that could breath underwater in our room.

Rebecca decided to get an African Dwarf Frog. This frog was super low maintenance so Rebecca just had to make sure to feed it daily and to change and clean its bowl water.

Tamara, Deanna, and I made sure that we would not have to take care of the frog because we didn’t technically want it.

Difficult Roommates: gray with black dots African dwarf frog surrounded by orangey brown rocks
This looks similar to the African Dwarf Frog that we had

Dookie and Dishes

Oftentimes, we watched Rebecca on days when she would have to clean the frog bowl while we were in the living room watching TV.

On multiple occasions she used the kitchen sink to clean the frog bowl, but it wasn’t until the day that she decided to dump out the dirty frog bowl water on top of some dirty dishes in the sink that we had enough.

We caught her doing it again and she didn’t even bother to at least take out the dishes or ask if they were ours. She just went ahead and poured out the water all over our dishes.

That’s when we knew we had enough, but I didn’t know how to confront her about it.

I thought that by killing off the frog that we would be able to get rid of the problem and she wouldn’t keep dumping the dirty frog water all over our dishes.

Passive Aggressive Patty

So, I gradually started to add things into the water to see if it would kill the frog. It started with a bottle cap full of Coca Cola and made its way all the way up to dumping bleach into the bowl with the frog.

Nothing seemed to kill the frog.

Eventually she moved out and took the frog with her, but the moral of the story is: If you have a problem with something that someone is doing, just speak up.

I was the passive aggressive roommate that tried to kill a harmless frog because my roommate kept dumping out the dirty water into our sink with dirty dishes in it.

Don’t try to kill your roommate’s frog! Don’t be a difficult roommate!

Here are 5 signs that you have a passive aggressive roommate:

1. They procrastinate

They make excuses every single time you ask them to do something. For instance, if you ask them to clean the dishes they never do it. They are clearly not happy that you asked them to clean the dishes and you know that they aren’t going to clean them because you’ve asked 5 times.

2. They are two faced

This is the most dangerous and toxic type of passive aggressiveness. Your roommates actions don’t quite match up with their attitude. These type of people can be nice to your face, but are actually being really insincere. On Twitter, someone mentioned a roommate who all semester would come and rant about everybody and their momma. One day she caught that roommate talking with another roommate about her through the walls. Needless to say, they don’t talk anymore and she’s dying for the semester to be over.

3. They give you the silent treatment

A passive aggressive person may shut down when confronted with a conflict. They don’t believe in talking to resolve a conflict. They just let it build and build until they eventually lash out.

4. They don’t have a good reason to be angry

These are the manipulative types of roommates. They don’t know what they’re looking for so they make up a reason to be angry at you. They are usually stubborn and need to be a priority at all times. For example, if you and your roommate decided to go see a movie on Friday night and you didn’t give them a mid-week reminder they get annoyed and start an unnecessary argument about something that is completely unrelated.

5. They leave sticky notes or messages everywhere

Whatever you do, don’t be this roommate. They don’t like having a face to face interaction, but still want to get their point across. For example, you left a few dirty dishes in the sink because you had to rush out the door in the morning. You come home to a stick note on the sink that reads, “Clean your dishes or I’m going to throw them away.” They may not mean it, but it comes across as passive aggressive and is completely unnecessary.

Difficult Roommates: 10 tips for living stress free

1. Be clear about your expectations from the start

Within the first few days of moving in together, roommates should sit down and write out a roommate contract. It was mandatory for each room in my building to have a roommate contract that each roommate signs that goes over details that are expected from each member of the room. This cuts down on having difficult roommates. Items included on the contract were, specific quiet hours, procedures for bringing guests over, how chores would be divided, and disposing of garbage.

Once we laid out how we wanted everything to be handled, we sat down with our Resident Assistant and they went over with us to make sure everyone was happy and we signed it. The RA kept a copy on file in case there was any dispute that could not be solved within our room.

2. Communication communication communication

I can’t stress how important it is to communicate. If you don’t communicate, you won’t know what the other is thinking. If you don’t know that the other is thinking, you won’t know what the issue is. It really is a simple fix. Just talk to each other!

3. Address problems when they’re little

This is easily the biggest thing! You want to solve problems when they’re still little. Addressing these issues in a calm and friendly manner will save you and your roommate some heartache. They may not even know that what they’re doing is even bothering you.

4. Respect your roommate’s stuff

This one seems obvious, but it’s more prevalent than you think. Don’t just assume that they will be okay if you borrowed their shirt without asking. Always ask before borrowing or using your roommate’s stuff!

My freshman year in college, my roommates and I wrote into our contract that if there was ice cream in the fridge, we were all welcome to have some as long as we replaced it if we finished it or ate the majority of it. This set the boundary of respecting others’ stuff while also letting them know that it was okay to use it.

5. Be mindful of who you bring into your room and how often

Some people thrive in an environment where there are a lot of people. Others, not so much. Be mindful of others’ time. If you know your roommate is studying for a big test, try not to bring guests over as it may seem irritating and frustrating.

Our room had a whiteboard when we first walked into our room that said pants or no pants. If it was flipped to pants, this meant someone was coming over. If it was flipped to no pants, we were not to expect anyone. On last minute decisions, we would just shoot everyone a text as a head’s up. We would also try to include a reason for the visit so we knew to keep our noise levels controlled.

Difficult roommates - white board with the words "Aunt Susan's Banana Pants Banana Bread" written on it
This is the whiteboard that hung right when you walked in our front door

6. Do a roommate bonding activity

This helps build a friendship while also getting to know each other. The first weekend after moving in was dedicated to building our art wall.

Over the years, my roommates had built up an extensive handmade art collection that was showcased on the walls of our living room. Every summer the art wall had to be taken down so maintenance could repaint the walls for the new year.

That first weekend really helped my roommates and I bond by letting us be able to express our true selves through art. They were able to tell me stories behind each art piece and I was able to share my own stories. It was fun and a great way to get to know each other.

7. Be friendly without expecting to be best friends

Be friendly with your roommate, but respect each others’ space. Don’t try to force a best friend relationship as it will lead to discomfort and a strain on both of you. Be friendly, but make sure that you each have your own lives.

8. Be open to new things

Chances are you and your roommate were not raised the same way and are very different. Be open to their perspectives, and respect the differences between the two of you.

9. Stay open to change

College is a time of growth. You are your roommate will definitely not be the same person as when you first started out. New challenges will arise, and you may need to address new issues or come to new agreements. You may start out close and slowly grow apart, or the opposite may be true. Be aware of the changes and be like a river and go with the flow.

10. If nothing else, follow the golden rule

Treat others how you want to be treated. No matter what happens, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you treated your difficult roommates with respect.

Difficult Roommates: Learn more

Were you and your roommate best friends before moving in together and have since stopped being friends? Use these tips to help recover from your friend breakup!

(7) Comments

  1. Brings back a lot of memories of my house sharing days great read.

    1. Jackie Espada says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting 💕🤗

  2. I have to admit, I found the majority of this article absolutely hilarious. People are fascinating!

    1. Jackie Espada says:

      They sure are! These are only a few of my crazy stories. I have a ton more! People are just too funny sometimes

  3. Tiffany Bearden says:

    Wow!! Those were pretty funny though! My daughter had a roommate. The apartment got broken into and we found out it was friends of the roommate. They left the place a mess and stole some valuable things. We called the girls mom, put her out immediately and we had to file a protective order against her. A mess! No more roomies after that.

    1. Jackie Espada says:

      Oh no! That’s just awful! Thank God I never had that happen to me! My mom would have done the same

  4. Rodes On The Road says:

    I never tried to have a room mates as I live in the city but I got my friend to live with us. This will be helpful for others who will have any. I do have roommates when we travel with our classmates during in college for our group tours. It was fun and as you said everyone is different and we have to be mindful with our roommates need.

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