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

Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

As teenagers, we counted down the days until we could move away from home. But getting out on your own means living with roommates. When you don’t get along with them, navigating home life can become uncomfortable.

Look for Commonalities

You and your roommate may have a few things in common, explains Allie Ditkowich, contributing writer to the college edition of USA Today. Seek those commonalities and build upon them. Enjoy a night out listening to a favorite band or discuss a book you each have read. If you and your roommate can find common ground, seeing eye to eye on bigger issues is within reach.

Confront Conflict Directly

Without placing blame, approach your roommate and explain how you are feeling about your living situation and what you may need in order to ease tensions, suggests a publication out of Grand Valley State University. Time your approach carefully and avoid bombarding your roommate at an inopportune moment. If you can, set an appointment for a house meeting so that you are both prepared to discuss issues. Keep the atmosphere calm and focus on listening to your roommate's concerns.

Look for Compromise

Consider the aspects of your roommate that irritate you most, and think of compromises acceptable to you both. If you agree to certain terms, put together a contract as a reminder of the new house rules, suggests Marie Hartwell-Walker, a psychologist. Discuss shared household items, overnight guests and any other issues. Know your expectations and his.

Seek Outside Help

If you and your roommate can’t agree, find someone to mediate the situation. If you are in a college dorm, Ditkowich suggests turning to your resident adviser. Outside of college, there may be mutual friends who can assist with easing the conflict. If all else fails, you may wish to spend a few nights a week at the home of a friend or family member.