Roommate challenges

August 24, 2014

It is well into the second semester, and as my roommate and I are becoming more comfortable with each other, I am starting to notice things about her that never bothered me before. To be honest, sometimes I become so irritated that it takes all my energy to not blow up at her. What should I do?

The first thing to know is you are not alone. It is natural to experience these obstacles as you get to know someone better. Your goal is to not do anything that you will regret later on such as starting a fight with your roommate. That being said, it is important that you focus on her positive characteristics rather than reflect on those that bother you. If you feel like you are getting angry, take a step back and remind yourself that it’s not a big deal; your roommate probably feels the same about some of your behaviors. If she can put up with you, you can put up with her. Furthermore, do not ignore her and put a distance between the two of you. This will only make the relationship worst. If you still have hope that the relationship can become better, keep spending time with her to get to know her more. As you guys learn more about each other, it should become easier for you to accept her for who she is. All in all, focus on the positive! –Guest Barista NN

I hate my current roommate and I want to move out next year. I told him that I was going apartment hunting for a new apartment. I guess I wasn’t clear enough, because he came with me to look for one. I am not sure how to break it to him that I am tired of living with him. Awkward.

I am sorry for your awkward living situation as of now. The best thing to do in this case is to be honest (but nice about it)! Do not tell your current roommate that you hate him. Instead, tell him that you think you are better off as friends/acquaintances rather than roommates. Do not wait till the last minute because your current roommate needs time to find a living situation for next year. Hope this helps! Good luck!! –Lauren

Very awkward. I know it may be hard, but you can’t beat around the bush forever. Think about it. No matter how awkward the current confrontation would be, it would be infinitely less awkward than the confrontation right before signing the lease. Even though you despise your current roommate, you should still tell him early enough that he would have time to look for his own place. Tell him gently and you might be surprised by how understanding people are. Hope this helps! Best of luck, darling.–Jami

Dorm Life 101: Why you should be excited for dorm life.

Whether you are a first year, second year, transfer student, etc., dorm life has so much to offer to help enhance your experience at Cal.

  1. It creates an instant community. Your floormates can be your study buddies in your classes, your teammates for the IM team, or your go-to cafeteria group. Your floormates are just seconds away from you, ready to help whenever you need them. Some friendly advice, keep your door open as much as possible! It creates a friendly/open environment for your hall, which I find crucial for a more neighborly floor. Also, this does not have to be with your dorm. I found that I clicked more with a floor in a completely different unit and soon became the “adopted member.” Finally, say “YES” as much as possible (especially at the beginning). Are they inviting you to eat at the cafeteria with them? Say “yes” and go join them! You don’t want to be waiting till the last week of school to hang out with your floormates and realize what you missed out on.
  2. Love your RA! I cannot stress enough how awesome it is to have such an awesome RA (Residential Advisor). Their job is to create that neighborly environment in the dorms and to help make your experience at Cal amazing. Do not be afraid to get to know your RA. They are probably spectacular individuals with a lot of knowledge about the campus. If you are having any trouble whatsoever, go to your RA! You are guaranteed to get help/support from them.
  3. You get options of things to do! Worried you won’t have anything to do on a Thursday night? Do not fear! Your dorm is bound to have events going on from ice cream socials, movie nights, etc. Do not be afraid to participate in the activities your dorm has to offer - they are there for you to enjoy with your friends! For example, there is an awesome carnival during Halloween, a fun dance on a boat during spring semester, and other creative dorm activities.
  4. There are leadership opportunities available! During my freshman year in the dorms, I was a residential hall association representative (RHA) for Unit 3 Beverly Cleary. It was such a rewarding experience. Yes, it was definitely a huge time commitment; however, I met so many amazing individuals through the experience, and I learned more about what the dorms had to offer such as socials held at different units and individual projects held by fellow residents or RAs. You can also hold a leadership position for your dorm such as President, Treasurer, etc. Definitely recommend giving it a try.

 I hope I got you more excited for what is to come with the dorm life. It is definitely a fun experience where you might even meet your lifelong friends.

Hope this helps. Lauren 

I don't know how I was matched with my roommates. They're both partiers and I'm not at all. I've never even tasted beer. So far the biggest problem is with them coming home late and smelling like alcohol. What should I do?

Hi Anonymous, It depends on what you want. Do you want roommates that don’t drink? Do you not want them to come back so late? Are you afraid they’ll throw up all over your bed? Figure out what you’re afraid of, and then bring up your concerns with your roommates. While they probably won’t be willing to pledge sobriety, they might be open to other behavior modifications, such as sleeping over at a friends’ place so you’re not woken up in the middle of the night. Talk to them, and try to remember it’s their room too–and that you’re just trying to create a space that all of you can feel comfortable in. –Echo

Dear anonymous, part of living with random roommates is expressing your concerns to each other so you all can live, ideally, in a conducive, happy environment together. If you’re not a party goer, first off, don’t feel pressured to be one. Maybe they could sleep in their floormates’ rooms when they come home late, or maybe you all can make some sort of agreement to lessen the frequency of them going out. What about bonding over non-party activities like dance auditions or something as simple as grabbing dinner so you won’t feel like what they choose to do during their free time is intrusive to you as you build that trust? By spending time with them in other ways, you might not find it bothersome anymore. If it gets bad, you can always talk to your RA because they’re there to make sure everyone is respecting each other as a community. Good luck! –Laura

My floor’s the quietest place on the planet. No one keeps their door open, and even though I try to be friendly and keep mine open, no one ever comes in. How do I make friends if everyone’s so unfriendly? Everyone else seems to have great, social floors that eat at and go out together all the time.

Living on a floor with a group of new people is a very different experience that may take getting used to for many, so don’t fret if leaving the door open isn’t doing much for you. Try attending as many building RA events as possible or even striking conversations in the bathroom/elevator. By putting on a smile and doing something as simple as asking someone you cross paths with how their day is so far can make a huge difference. Why not try inviting a couple of your neighbors to dinner? If you really can’t seem to get through to your floor mates, you’re more than likely to make one if not two great friends in one of the many clubs on campus. Even getting a job that requires teamwork can expose you to a pool of great people. Building a genuine social circle takes time and effort just like everything else in life, but I have no doubt you’ll find a group in which you can be yourself and enjoy good company :) –Laura
Open doors make happy floors, but sometimes, keeping your door open might not be the most natural. For many people, it might even feel downright weird. There are other ways to get to know your floor–hang out in the lounge, have meaningful conversations in the bathroom, or maybe knock on a couple of those doors. If your floor continues to feel like an arctic zone, consider hanging out on a different floor, or finding a community in a club, or other activity. There are so many people at Cal that you’re bound to find friendly folk somewhere, and soon. –Echo

My roommate is the type of person who backtalks anyone she knows, regardless of whether she knows them or not. She used to be friends with me, but after getting mad at me for something ridiculously silly, she turned on me and now I can hear her talking about me behind my back. What makes it worse is that she backtalks me to people she used to backtalk about TO me. I know that talking to her isn't going to help, because she would just complain about me more. What should I do?

Hi anonymous, that’s really unfortunate you and your roommate are having disputes. Are you certain talking to her won’t help? Give her some space and maybe try to talk things out together in a few days. You never know, maybe a lot is going on in her life right now that you may not know about that’s causing her to become so agitated by everyone. If she doesn’t seem to be too responsive after time has passed, let her come to you if she wants to talk. Surround yourself with people who do make you feel good and try not to let her hurtful words get under your skin. I hope you and your roommate can be friends again. Take care and best of luck to you both.