7 Signs You're a Bad Roommate

By Alicia Geigel

No roommate is perfect, but there are definitely a handful of notable qualities and traits that classify a person as a bad roommate. From borrowing things that aren’t yours to leaving your apartment a total disaster, here are seven signs that show you could be a bad roommate.

College Roommates: 7 Signs You're a Bad Roommate

1. You Obsessively Clean: While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a tidy apartment, things can take a bit of a sour turn when you start to obsessively clean and allow for zero messes or imperfections to exist in your apartment. Having a dish in the sink does not warrant you cleaning it and subsequently getting upset over it. A crumb here and there, a filled trash can, a streaky floor, etc., happen as life does, but don’t let these occurrences get in the way of a meaningful relationship with your roommate. Communicate your expectations for having a clean apartment with your roommate, but also be realistic about the level of cleanliness, as you don’t want to make your roommate feel like they can’t live or breathe in their own home.
2. You’re a Total Slob: On the opposite side of the spectrum, you similarly can be a bad roommate by being a total slob. While it would be ridiculous for you to clean as if it is your job, you also should respect your space, and the space of your roommate, enough to keep it clean. Taking out the trash, cleaning dishes regularly so there is not a pileup, sweeping the floors here and there, cleaning the toilet, etc., are all small tasks you can do to maintain a standard level of cleanliness in your home.
3. You Never Leave Your Room/Apartment: Staying in your apartment is fine to do, but when you never leave, you don’t make it easy for your roommate to have any kind of privacy. Sure, the two of you may have separate rooms, but the physical presence of you being in your apartment all the time can feel suffocating, and subsequently make you a bad roommate. Consider taking a walk around campus, grabbing a coffee, meeting up with a friend, going shopping, visiting the library, etc., to free up some time out of the apartment and give your roommate a bit of privacy.
4. You Always Have Your S/O Over: Your roommate(s) signed a lease with you and you only. While it is normal for you to bring over your boyfriend and girlfriend on occasion, it is not ok to have them constantly lingering around your apartment, rent-free, in the presence of your roommate, at all times. Again, this is a matter of privacy, and if you are out of the apartment during the day in class and your S/O is behind with your roommate, that can be a bit of an uncomfortable situation.
5. You “Borrow” What Isn’t Yours: A huge point of contention that often occurs between roommates is borrowing or taking items that don’t belong to the respective roommate. Whether it’s a bowl of cereal in the morning, an article of clothing, or even shampoo, borrowing items without your roommate’s permission is not only disrespectful, but it’s also a big breach of trust, which makes you a horrible roommate. If you and your roommate communicate what can and cannot be shared beforehand, that’s one thing, but if you take liberties and use their personal items without their knowledge, shame on you!
6. You Party Too Much: College is a time to learn, socialize, and have fun. It is certainly important to maintain a healthy balance of working, studying, and having fun, but when you stay up until the early hours of the morning, get loud and rowdy, drink excessively, blast music, etc., that can pose a significant problem with your roommate. It is fine to party on your own, but when you bring the party back to your apartment, you run the risk of crossing the line with what your roommate will tolerate. Be respectful of their time by having a party curfew, honoring quiet hours, and kicking out your friends at an appropriate time of the night.
7. You Never Shop for the House: There is nothing worse than someone who uses items and doesn’t replace them. When living with a roommate, it is fair for you both to contribute to the goods needed for the house, whether that be food items or toiletries. If you place that burden on your roommate, however, resentment can start to brew and soon you will find that they’ll grow tired of constantly draining their time, energy, and money into stuff that you are also using.

Living with others can have its ups and downs, and no roommate situation is perfect. However, there are a few signs you should take into consideration from time to time, as to determine if you are a bad roommate. If you can do this, your roommate relationship, and overall living experience, will be smooth and positive!

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