Bad Roommate? It Might be Time to Move Out

By Amanda Cohen 


It is very difficult, especially in your first year of college, to find a roommate with whom you get along beautifully. Obviously, living in such close quarters with someone is going to be an adjustment and plenty of compromises will have to be made, but how do you know when it’s gotten to the point where the only source of unhappiness in your life is coming back to your “home” and feeling uncomfortable, sad, taken advantage of, angry, annoyed, etc.? How do you know when your negative roommate situation has gone too far? In extreme cases, yes, moving out may be the only option, but if you think you can make it work I highly suggest you do because moving out can be a major source of awkwardness and, let’s be real, moving into a new living situation is a pain in the butt. However, there are many factors that I believe exemplify when a roommate situation warrants a move-out date. Read on to find out.




The biggest and most obvious tell if you should move out is if you feel genuinely uncomfortable, scared, or sad every time you enter your supposed-to-be home. If you put your ear against the door of your room and hear your roommate and pass time somewhere else until he/she leaves, that’s when you know. I know this may seem extreme, but it does happen, I have witnessed it first-hand. Although, if you are feeling uncomfortable or anxious going into your living space because you just aren’t used to living with another person so closely, then that doesn’t warrant a move-out. If this is the case, you should communicate with your roommate and express your concerns and fears and work together to find a way to make both of you more comfortable. However, if you are scared because your roommate always yells at you, bosses you around, makes you cry, or dominates the entire living situation, I would try and find some new housing.


Since moving out is a last resort, you need to make sure that, before you take the final plunge, that you’ve tried communicating with your roommate as much as possible. By this I mean you have tried talking to your roommate about what’s bothering you and trying to come up with a compromise so that your living space is livable for the both of you. For example, it’s not fair to up and leave your roommate because he/she always wakes you up at 3:00 a.m., but you never told him/her that it bothers you when he/she does that. I know it can be difficult to talk to someone, especially if you are a little shy like me, but a simple conversation can save you weeks and months of misery and could even prevent you to reconsider moving out altogether. If you speak with your roommate and the behavior doesn’t change, talk to them again. If he/she still doesn’t try to change, talk to him/her again. If, after the third time, speaking with him/her nothing changes, sit him/her down and say that this living situation is negatively affecting you and you are going to move out since the “behavior” still persists. Your roommate will either finally take you seriously and change his/her act, or you really will have to move out.


If the above information still doesn’t give you any sort of clarity in your decision to maybe move out from your current situation, you just need to trust your gut. You will know when a bad roommate situation has gone too far… you will feel it in your bones. A really terrible roommate will cause you to feel anxious, sad, angry, frustrated, scared, and generally just uncomfortable. If your living situation feels less and less like a home, move out. If your roommate is a bully, move out. If your roommate doesn’t respect you space and your needs, move out. Although, like I said above, if you think there is the slightest chance of rectifying your current roommate situation, try and do so and explain to your roommate that he/she needs to meet you halfway in this endeavor. If you are still conflicted, talk to your resident’s advisor (RA) if you live in a dorm room and have him/her give you some insight and maybe even help you facilitate a productive conversation with your roommate. Don’t tell your roommate you’re moving out if you don’t have a new place to live… make sure you have a true fall back plan before telling your roommate your moving out because if you say you’re moving out and you don’t, that could cause even more friction.


Just remember, you deserve to feel happy and comfortable in your living situation. Even if you live in a tiny dorm room, it should still feel like a home and not like a place where you’re a guest. If you need to move out, do it. I know it’s scary, but college is hard enough as it is, don’t like a negative roommate situation be your breaking point.

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