You found your roommate on a roommate matching website and she seemed perfect. You liked the same genre of music, attended the same summer camp and even had the same middle name. After chatting a few times online, you knew she was the one and could already imagine late nights in college spent with her eating cookies and complaining about professors. When school started, you moved in together and it turns out she forgot to mention a lot of details about the way she doesn’t like to clean up after herself and how she violates all personal boundaries. Turns out she isn’t as great as she seemed. Check out a few horrible ways to guarantee that your rooming situation will go from bad to hellish in one act of passive aggression flat.
Purchase a pack of multicolored sticky notes–to keep things bright and cheerful, just like your deteriorating roommate relationship–and leave cute little messages all over your roommate’s desk, mirror and personal belongings. Start with polite recommendations such as “Please don’t leave your dirty clothes on the floor,” but slowly get more passive-aggressive with each note. A personal favorite: “Just tripped on a massive pile of hair you shed on the floor today and broke my ankle. Vacuum your side of the room already!”
Hiding her things
Obviously, it’s wrong to approach your roommate and pick a fight, but you still need a way to release some of that anger and frustration building up inside of you. So the next logical thing to do is to hide her things to give you a small feeling of vengeful satisfaction. The key is to take her belongings little by little so she doesn’t notice their absence and put them in spots where she won’t look. Take her favorite pair of socks and stash them inside of her pillowcase or place her laptop charger at the back of her underwear drawer. Chuckle a little as she asks you if you’ve seen her toothbrush because you have–in the bottom of the communal bathroom toilet.
Going back to basics
Remember when you were a kid and you got into a fight with your best friend? The same methods you used back then will also work now with your roommate. Give her the silent treatment and if she calls you immature for ignoring her, fire back with, “I know you are, but what am I?” This strategy of dealing with your roommate is definitely effective. It’ll let her know that something is wrong and needs to be changed in order for you to talk to her like a mature adult again.
Seeing how she likes it
According to your roommate contract, you and your roommate are allowed to share your belongings as long as you ask first. However, you just found out that she’s wearing your underwear because she didn’t have time to do laundry. That was definitely not part of the deal. Wearing her underwear to give her a taste of her own medicine might be a bit too extreme, but she’ll get the gist of it if you use her other belongings without asking first. Whether you take her pack of Oreos or use the last of her shampoo, make sure to make a point of it afterwards that you did it without permission. If she confronts you about it, play innocent: “Oh, I’m sorry, I was supposed to ask you first?”
Making plans with mutual friends without her
Be considerate of her schedule and don’t invite her to go out to dinner with you and your mutual friends. If she realizes that an event is happening without her, tell her you understand that she has a lot to do between emptying out her garbage that is stinking up the room and cleaning out the microwave, which she ruined after she cooked her mashed potatoes on high heat for three minutes and they splattered everywhere. Explain that you’re doing her a favor by giving her time to get her work done and her life together.
Dropping not-so-subtle hints in conversation
As roommates, you spend a lot of time together and can’t avoid talking to one another. Take advantage of these opportunities to let her know what’s really on your mind without the need for awkward direct confrontation. Ask her about her day and tell her about how your professor had to cancel class for the rest of the semester because he had to go home and wash his dishes.
Never rooming with her again
The important thing is to learn your lesson and to not make the same mistake twice. Tell her, “It’s not me, its you” and move on with your life. Be more cautious when choosing a roommate in the future and next time don’t follow this guide. Actually try to resolve your conflicts, rather than just making them worse.
Win Back Your Space from your roommate and their annoying partner
Written by Cara Hedgepeth, junior, journalism, University of Maryland
Young love can be a wonderful thing. It can be romantic and exhilarating and fun. That is, until young love starts eating your food, watching your TV and sleeping over five times a week. Most college students are prepared and willing to share a small space with a roommate. However, problems arise when a roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend claims your territory as their own.
It can be nice to have another person hanging out in your dorm or apartment…for a few hours.
But what happens when that person won’t leave?
University of Maryland student Rebecca Morgenstern said her roommate’s boyfriend would sometimes be in her dorm room watching TV when her roommate wasn’t even there! So how did Rebecca win back her space?
“I used friends. I would bring them back to my room and make sure we were intentionally spread over the entire room,” she said.
While in the dorm this tactic may be effective, many students live in suites or apartments where more than one room is at risk of invasion.
In these situations, students have to get a bit more creative with their strategies.
“I would nicely suggest that they go out to dinner together,” said University of North Carolina at Wilmington junior Carey Mcmullen.
Suggesting an appealing idea that makes you seem thoughtful is the perfect way to get the significant other to leave without causing awkward tension between you and your roommate.
Some students choose to take a more bold approach.
“Usually starting to undress or asking [my roommate] for a tampon got her boyfriend to leave,” said Boston University student Kate Melle.
Making the significant other feel downright uncomfortable will usually ensure a swift departure.
Everyone has the right to spend time with their significant other. However, everyone also has the right to their own space and some privacy. While it may be cool for your roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend to hang out for a little while, at a certain point you have to stand up and win back what is rightfully yours.
*Updated Sept 22, 2015 by Cara Hedgepeth to include “Win Back Your Space.”