How to Live With Roommates You Clash With

How to Live With Roommates You Clash With

Sometimes we get stuck living with roommates. And sometimes we don’t always get along with them that well. This can be a personality clash or even a lifestyle clash. I’m currently dealing with this issue in the lifestyle way. My roommates and I have very different versions of clean. You can see what my version of clean is over on the The Single Housewife: Cleaning My Kitchen – Before and After post.

There are a variety of ways you can go about dealing with this, and you really don’t want this to go the wrong way. No one likes living with people they don’t get along with.

So what do you do when you clash with your roommates? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

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How to Live With Roommates You Clash With

So, you’ve got an issue with your roommate or roommates. This is never a good thing to have to deal with and can cause so many problems including but not limited to physical and mental anguish.

Dealing with these issues you may be having should be respectful and understanding that there are going to be some things that you have to compromise on as well as them.


Have a Talk First

The first thing you need to do if you’re having a clash with roommates is to have a sit down talk with them. I know this is probably going to be awkward and potentially painful depending on your ability to face confrontation.

In order for anything to change, you have to address is. If it’s a personality clash it might be harder to deal with than with a lifestyle clash simply because there might already be some unaddressed hostility already brewing.

But, really, talk this shit out.

What’s the problems you have? What are the problems they have? Is there a way you can compromise on things so you’re both at least content with the outcome?

If you want, write down a list of points you want to talk about in this discussion.

However, you have to understand that sometimes there are going to be things you do that bother your roommates as well. Be prepared to listen to them and hear them out.

Try not to get defensive. All that’s going to do is make things worse.


Related: How to Know When it’s Time To Set Boundaries



Understand Compromise

This can be the hardest part of dealing with a roommate clash. No one likes to hear that what they do naturally is something that drives someone else crazy. A lot of the time it’s hard to process because according to yourself, that’s normal.

The biggest issue I have with my roommates is messiness versus cleanliness.

I grew up in a house where my parents were practically neurotic about keeping things clean. I can remember my mother cleaning things like the bathrooms and floors on a weekly basis and always cleaning little bits on a daily basis.

However, my roommates aren’t quite as clean.

I have to understand that my roommates are PhD students and sometimes cleaning isn’t the first thing on their mind. They’re also much younger and I know that I wasn’t as clean as I was now as I was back then.

I may want things to be spotless all the time, but things like the kitchen is used on a daily basis, and they’re not going to stay clean. I need to understand that.

Related: How to Be a Bad Ass Single Housewife


Pick Your Battles

Going along with understanding compromise, you need to learn to pick your battles in regards to a clash with roommates.

When I was talking to a friend about all of this and she said, “Steph, you need to pick your battles here.”

And she is right.

There are so many things that bother me about living with roommates, but I can’t complain to them about everything. Something small like leaving dirty dishes on the countertop instead of in the sink isn’t as worthy of being annoyed about as say forgetting to turn the stove or oven off.

There are going to be some things that annoy the hell out of you about your roommates. I guarantee even if you lived with a clone of yourself you’d find something to be annoyed at.

So, before you go off with a three mile long list of things that your roommates are bothering you with, start with the top three things that are the most problematic. The things that you can’t keep living with them doing.

Related: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Real Adult



Let Stuff Go

At the end of the day, there are going to be things you have to compromise with. Some things that bother you aren’t going to be solved by this talk. Sometimes you just have different lifestyles and that’s how it is. There’s nothing you can do to change that.

For example, my view on cleanliness is definitely different than my roommates’. So, what I do is on a daily basis I clean up things like the kitchen counters and bathroom counters. I tidy up the parts that make me a little annoyed but aren’t exactly that big of a deal to everyone else.

But there are some things you know aren’t going to get solved. You’re going to have to let go of some stuff and just deal with it yourself.

I know that’s not exactly the best idea and probably not what you want, but think of this as your compromise to everything. This is what you’re giving in on your side of these issues.

Until you can live by yourself you’re going to have to deal with things you like and things you don’t like. Try to let go on some of the stuff that’s only a little annoying.

Related: How to Know When to “Let Go”

Having a lifestyle or personality clash with roommates? That can totally suck but there are ways to deal with any issues you come across. Click here to read #roommates #clashwithroommates #roommateissues


Outsource the Problem

If you can, try to outsource the problem.

Since the biggest issue my roommates and I have is about cleanliness, we looked into getting a cleaning service for once a month. It worked out to be about $53 a month per person. That would have been an amazing life saver for me! I would have been in heaven not having to be the only person cleaning all the time

However, I lost my job literally a few hours after ordering the service, leading to us having to cancel.

If your problem is more physical like mine, try finding ways to outsource the problem. For me, $53 a month was well worth not having to clean all the time any more.


Do you have any more advice on how to deal with roommates you clash with?


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Faye

    Great tips! Although I’m sure it can be awkward as hell to talk to roommates about issues I’m sure it’s also a lot more beneficial to talk it out rather than bottle up the anger/issues! x

    1. shortstuffblog

      It really is. Though I’m a bit of a hypocrite in this aspect as there’s quite a bit I’ve bit my tongue on with my current roommates.

  2. Richie

    Hi Steph. Great article – I wish I’d had the benefit of reading it before I went to university (many years ago). Having a few room-mates is one thing – try sharing a kitchen with 13 other people!

    It all started off amicably enough but then some people would ‘borrow’ food and drink from other people. I say borrow – nothing was ever replaced. After weeks of this going on, I recall one-day going shopping for my evening meal, putting the stuff aside (in MY locker) and going to see a friend. When I came back there was nothing left – somebody else had eaten it! And the shop was now shut.

    I was hungry. I was annoyed. I was absolutely f****** furious. After interrogating a few kitchen lurkers I established who the thief was and charged around the campus like a crazy man looking for him so that I could … explain to him the error of his ways. Anyway, word must have gotten to him before I did because he came looking for me in order to apologise and started throwing money at me by way of compensation.

    I didn’t take his money. I did explain that this was the last time that I expected this to happen and if it did happen again we would not settle the matter by talking about it. Strangely enough, none of my food went missing again!

    I don’t say this by way of a recommended course of action but rather as an illustration of how infuriating the behaviour of one person can be to another. With the benefit of hindsight perhaps some sort of group discussion before the situation reached boiling point would have been preferable.

    Ironically, not long afterwards the university issued padlocks to everybody to keep their food lockers safe from ‘borrowers’.

  3. Aurenda

    This post was amazing. Living with roommates has not been easy in my experience. Confrontation has not really been my thing but I just had to force myself to just have that awkward conversation.

    1. shortstuffblog

      You really do have to push past the awkwardness in order for things to get fixed. Thanks for reading!

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