Samah Juana is presently a HR Representative at a successful Pharmaceutical company. She pursued and completed her B.S. in management and minor in marketing from the University of New Haven. In her free time, she enjoys writing, singing, and going to church, and this is her story of how she learned when to change roommates the hard way.
How to know when to change roommates
Issues with roommates were quite commonplace during my college years. While I look back on those times with fondness now and even the worst situations I got into with my roommates make me laugh, it wasn’t so funny back then. I remember getting stressed out about certain roommates I had to share my space with and there were several phases during which my frustrations ended up affecting my studies.
During my first year in college, I generally struggled to fit in with my roommates but I didn’t worry too much about it. I used to think to myself, “It’ll take time but eventually it’ll work out.” However, the thought never really materialized. Instead, things only kept going more downhill. Trivial tiffs turned into full-blown arguments and in a few months, none of us were on talking terms with each other. Can you imagine sharing a space with others but seldom talking to them simply to avoid conflict? That’s what my personal life was like once!
I became more hopeful of the roommate situation as I stepped into my second year as I decided to get away from the roommates I was ‘condemned’ to live with by the university and stay off-campus. However, my time off-campus was just as bad, thanks in particular to a roommate who believed that she owned the room that we were sharing.
By the time my third year at the university came along, I moved back into campus and was assigned a room that I’d have to share with sophomores. The experience was comparatively better than the first two years, but it wasn’t because we got along. It was just that I was a senior and they had to give me that respect. For all I know, they might have been talking behind my back (or maybe not).
The point I’m trying to make is that in those three trying years, I learned a lot about living with strangers, and in this post, I want to share what I learned with you. While you should certainly give your roommates time (and they should give you time as well), if things don’t work out after a point, you’ll need a change of environment. I’ve compiled a list of tips that I believe will be of great help to you to figure out when exactly you need to make your move and get away from roommates that you just can’t get along with.
- You keep talking but they won’t listen: If one or more of your roommates are doing things that are getting in your way, the best way to deal with it is to have a polite chat with them and tell them about how their activities are affecting you. However, if those chats are becoming all too frequent with no change in their behavior whatsoever, it’s clear that they don’t take you seriously at all. Instead of getting angry at them and letting their ways get to you, just pack your stuff and walk away. For example, you might be studying or working on an important project and suddenly your roommates put on some really loud music. If it’s the first time, you can tell them that it’s disturbing you, but if it keeps repeating, even when they can tell that you’re trying hard to concentrate on something, they’re overstepping their boundaries.
- The thought of interacting with them makes you feel bad: I mentioned the roommate during my second year off-campus period before and I’ll go into more detail about her here. Her ‘I own this room’ attitude had become unbearable and we’d already been through so many fights that I decided to stop interacting with her altogether. I told myself that I’ll do whatever is required to keep the peace but I’ll keep the interactions to a minimum.
However, in time, I found myself dwelling on thoughts like ‘What if I have to interact with her?’ I’d then imagine situations that would require me to talk to her and how I would respond (or react) to them. Every time these thoughts and imaginations came to my mind, I remember feeling utterly depressed and dejected. Ultimately, all it did was waste a lot of my time and invite a lot of anxiety that did me no good. I realize now that I should have left by the time I started dwelling on these negative and paranoid thoughts.
- They’re poking their noses in your personal affairs: If you are lucky enough to become the best of friends with your roommate(s), you’d end up sharing a lot of personal stuff; things that you’re choosing to divulge to each other. However, it’s natural not to share things with people that you’re not fond of. I never spoke about my boyfriends and sex life and other personal stuff with my roommates at the university, but one fine morning, I caught two of them (during my first year) going through my emails on my laptop in search of something ‘spicy’.
I had gone to the bathroom and I’d forgotten to put my laptop to sleep mode (I had to enter the password to wake it up again) and there they were, caught red-handed. However, instead of admitting that they’d made a mistake, they said that they were only having fun. When poking noses in your personal affairs become a casual thing for your roommates, it’s best to change.
Of course, before you expect your roommates to be good to you, you need to be on your best behavior with them. Most importantly, you need to be patient. You can’t expect to be friends with strangers after just a few interactions. However, if you come across the situations I’ve mentioned above, don’t leave it hanging. Instead, approach your Resident Assistant (RA) and apply for a room change immediately.
Don’t make the mistakes I made. Even though I’m not bitter about what happened during those three years at the university, when I look back on the heated arguments and fights and moments of awkward silence with my roommates, I wish that I’d acted instead of swallowing it all in. Sure, there are no guarantees that you’ll find the sort of people you like in your newly-assigned room, but at least there’s a chance.