How to Handle a Bad Roommate When You Can't Move Out

Spending time together can turn your bad roommate into a good friend.
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A bad roommate complicates your life. And when you can't move out, you may feel stuck. Yet, there are strategies you can use to handle even the worst of roommates and turn your stressful living situation around. When you talk through things and spend time with your bad roommate, you may end up turning an enemy into a friend.

1 Talk About It

When you can't move out, talk to your roommate. It is better to get things out in the open instead of bottling them up. Communicate problems you have had about your living arrangement without blaming your roommate, then let him do the same. For example, you can say, "I feel frustrated when dishes are left in the sink. Can we come up with an agreement on washing them?" Such a statement points out a specific behavior and allows you to own your feelings without accusing. Discussing things with your roommate changes how you interact and allows you both to be honest. In the long run, talking issues out may help you feel better living with your roommate.

2 Make a Play Date

By sharing some fun time, you can change the atmosphere in your home and bond with your roommate. Share your interests with your roommate so that she can get to know you better. After finding out what she likes, find common ground and do something with it. Go to the movies together if you both like the same kind of films or simply stay home and play games. No matter how you spend time together, you create a much more positive atmosphere with your bad roommate, helping you feel less stuck with her.

3 Drawing Lines

Setting boundaries can make a bad roommate more bearable. Have a discussion about your personal boundaries as well as your roommate's. Boundaries include things such as being considerate about noise, how you share food or setting up personal spaces in your home. Talk to him about things he does that make you feel less at home. Give him a chance to talk as well so that you don't end up becoming the "bad roommate" to him. Once you talk about your boundaries, make an agreement not to cross them.

4 Cautious Consultant

Sometimes you can bring in other people to help you solve your bad roommate problem. Be careful -- do not not talk about your roommate's personal information or bring your friends to side against him. Instead, talk to someone who can mediate, such as a resident assistant if you live on campus or a friend you can trust to be unbiased. Having a neutral third person helps you both see each other's point of view and resolve tricky issues.

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.