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So you’ve landed yourself with a messy roommate. Maybe not by choice, but now you’re in the situation where you have you to deal with someone’s belongings possibly being thrown across the room and in your area. Being an only child, I’ve never had to deal with a person’s items in my room and not being able to move it around myself. It can be frustrating at times when you want your room to be one way, but are unable to do so because you’re thinking about your roommate’s needs. You can still be a considerate roommate while making sure you’re happy in your room.

There are some ways to do this while not talking to them if that’s the way you prefer. If they are the type to throw trash around, a good suggestion is to pick it up and put it in the trashcan if that’s where it belongs, such as a 3 day old ramen cup that has started to smell. That way, maybe your roommate will notice this act and take note of that for the future. This is an easy and passive way to take care of the problem if you do not want to cause conflict.

Another way is to leave a note. My roommate last year and I would leave each other notes about basically everything, as that was a way we would communicate if we didn’t see each other. If you want to get your point across with words but can’t work up the courage to say it in person, write a note. This works great because it isn’t a threatening way to talk to your roommate, but they’ll still get the point that you’re trying to make.

You could always just talk to you roommate if that’s how you would like to approach it. If you want to be straight to the point and make sure that your voice is being heard, you can sit down with them and just try to set some guidelines. Whether it’s about picking up your trash, or who sweeps and who takes out the trash, it’s good to know that you’re both on the same page and you’re able to talk about any other concerns while you’re having that conversation.

Finally, if you’ve gone through all of these different ways of approaching the situation, you could always talk to your Resident Assistant (RA). If for some reason you feel like your voice isn’t being heard and you need to have someone step in and mediate the situation, then that’s the best choice. The last thing you want is to start fighting all the time over a small topic or possibly being pushed to move out all because neither of you are happy with the way things are going and the way you’re both living. Some people are afraid to talk to an RA because they think that they should be able to figure things out on their own. And yes, it is suggested to try and figure it out between each other. But if that style isn’t working out, then bringing in another person is what’s going to keep you and your roommate happiest. Besides, RA’s are there to help you out for situations as small as that or other situations that are troubling you. It’s their job and they’re there to support you.

No matter what approach you choose, hopefully you’re feel a bit better about living with your roommate. Living in a dorm with someone new can be an exciting experience. But you’re also going to be living there for 7-8 months. It should feel like and serve as a second home to you. And if confronting your roommate is going to help out with that, then that’s what you should do. Tackling these small problems early on is going to help you out in the long run as you’re not bitter about a small problems 5 months down the line. Also, talking to them now will give you and your roommate the ability to communicate effectively and feel like you can talk to them about anything.

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