The Maneater

How to survive having a terrible roommate

Living with a roommate may be tough, but not impossible.

Photo illustration of a cluttered dorm room. Courtesy of DC Pender Blog

The smell of cannabis smoke lingered throughout the house when a student returned, tired and travel-worn, from a weekend at home.

“When I came back, there was weed everywhere. There were burnt blunts standing around on the tables and it smelled like weed all throughout my house,” a student, who requested to be anonymous, said of her former roommate situation. “To be fair, I hadn’t told her before that I wasn’t really OK with smoking in the house, but it just was not courteous of her to do this when I wasn’t there, especially because I could have been blamed for it.”

This is just one example of an unpleasant roommate situation that many students could potentially experience. Whether going into a housing situation blind or rooming with a best friend, roommate horror stories can be found all over MU’s campus.

After moving into an apartment by herself, the student was assigned a roommate, and then offered one of her coworkers a place to live. Although she and her original roommate got along great, issues arose with her coworker when she started smoking and eventually doing hard drugs, such as heroin, in the apartment. She tried talking to the housing management and the roommate about it, but nothing changed and their relationship progressively worsened.

“I eventually decided I needed to move out and that I couldn’t handle it anymore,” she said. “I found a one-bedroom apartment so I wouldn’t have to live with anyone other than my boyfriend.”

Soon after, the other roommate who had been living with them ended up moving home.

Although they held discussions about living expectations, the problematic roommate never participated, making it difficult for the other tenants to address their issues.

“Sit down and talk when you start living together and find out what’s best for you all,” she said. “Expectations are what is most important, but also know the (housing) policy if you ever need to get out of a bad situation.”

Sophomore Chelsea Fischer is living proof that rooming with an old friend is not a foolproof way to avoid unhappy roommates. In her freshman year, Fischer got a call at 3 a.m. from her roommate, who was expecting a ride home from a bar.

“She was constantly coming back in the middle of the night drunk, bringing random guys home, stealing my clothes and food,” Fischer said. “I pretty much tried to spend as much time as I possibly could away from the dorm. We were constantly fighting and pretty much hated each other.”

For their last two months living together, they did not speak at all as a result of their strained relationship. Her roommate left unexpectedly one month before summer, and Fischer has not seen or heard from her since.

Fischer said she does not regret the decision to live with her high school friend because she ended up learning a lot about herself. Fischer advises anyone else in this situation to “stay true to who you are.”

“You don’t have to be friends with your roommate. There are so many great ways to get involved on campus and meet people you have things in common with,” Fischer said. “Also, no matter how horrible your roommate situation is, you are not the only one going through it.”

Another student, who is still living with a bad roommate and wishes to remain anonymous, said her roommate “said hello and walked away” the first time they met. Since then, they have never talked in person; the roommate only communicates with the other tenants through messages.

“The main problem we have is that she thinks she owns the common areas,” the student said.

The student said she and her roommates once rearranged the furniture, and the roommate responded by talking badly about them on the phone loudly and moving all of the furniture back.

“(She) sent us a message saying how it is tacky to (add) furniture to a furnished apartment and how we need to ask her before doing anything to the living room or kitchen,” the student said. “But just last week she put up a ton of Halloween decorations without even asking if any of us mind.”

Her situation was a random roommate assignment. She said after this, she will likely never do a random assignment again.

As for a solution, she finds it easiest just to ignore her roommate and not fight.

“Don’t add fuel to the fire,” the student said. “Even if you have a roommate that sucks, still try to be a good roommate yourself.”

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