When the Roommates Don't Respect You

The term is winding down and you’ve discovered there are certain things about your roommates you don't like. You've been feeling as if your roommates don't respect you, and you're drawing a line in the sand. Things like this can quickly snowball into deal breakers, making you feel as if you're not welcome. The scenarios could involve a number of things: they may be having too many visitors over when you’re trying to study, going through your things, wearing your clothes, or worse. There are a number of horror stories going on out there, but in most cases, having a sensible discussion gets things settled. While the ideal would be to discuss all the things listed before the term got into full swing, people change over time.

If you feel your roommate (s) have stepped over your boundaries and are showing a lack of respect, creating a roommate contract may be the thing to get you past your disagreements. You should lay it out with specifics. Most of them include areas on:

If you’re cool and both purchase food for the room, then eating it is no problem. There are instances where roommates eat food that doesn’t belong to them, or let their friends eat it. How will you handle it?

Are you need and your roommate messy? Have you walked in your room and someone was siting on your bed? You need to figure out how you will work this out.

When is it okay to have visitors hanging out in your room? If you’re studying for an exam, you need to establish boundaries. There also needs to be a limit on how many people can be in your dorm room at one time, and what times are acceptable for both of you.

Set your boundaries on borrowing or taking something without asking. This can get tricky, because sometimes people try and take advantage of a good situation. What about wearing your clothes without permission?

Having a roommate is somewhat like having a marriage. You live together; you may share things. What about if someone works or is a night owl, and the other person needs quiet time? These are important things that must be worked out before you can move forward.

Study time
How are you guys studying? Is the television on? Do you prefer headphones? What about other people in the room when you need to study? Will that be okay?

Private time
At some point, everyone wants some time alone. How will you let each other know?

Is it okay to use each other’s things? If you have agreed to use one printer, then it’s common to share replacing the ink. What about a piece or jewelry or a special mug? What happens if the other person (not the owner) breaks it?

For many, a roommate agreement is a great idea. You get to express what you like and don’t like, and may actually learn more about each other in the process. If you’re feeling as if your roommate(s) are stepping out of bounds, it’s time to get it taken care of NOW. Holding it in will only make you feel worse when the new term begins. This is a part of adulting that will help you years down the line. Take a deep breath, set your resolve and get it done.