At one point or another, many people have had to endure an annoying roommate. Even if you moved in with your best friend, became close friends with your roomie, or posted a roommate wanted sign, they were still bound to have some irritating habits and quirks. While walking around the campus of the University of Texas, I conducted a survey asking a variety of students what they thought the most annoying roommate habits were. So let’s take a look at these obnoxious habits and how to deal with them.
After asking students what they found most irritating about their roommates, I categorized their answers as messy, disrespectful, loud or small pet peeves. Once I had the sections, I created the pie chart below.
The Messy Roommate and the Struggle for Cleanliness
First, the “Messy Roommate” section turned out to be the largest with fifty out of one hundred people claiming it’s the most irritating problem. The habits that are lumped into this section include not cleaning the dishes, leaving hair in the sink or shower, not cleaning the bathroom and not taking out the trash.
How to Deal with an Annoying Roommate
To deal with this habit and others, be sure to express how much you dislike it when your roommate is being messy. If they don’t wash their dishes and it annoys you to the point that you want to go insane, find a calm moment when you can discuss the problem. Try to be specific. Rather than say something like, “I feel like I’m living with a farm animal,” try, “When you leave so many clothes on the floor, I have trouble walking around, and the clutter’s just making me feel uncomfortable.”
Peace and Quiet vs. Chaos and Noise
Second is the “Loud Roommate” category. Nineteen out of one hundred people agree that it’s the most annoying roommate trait. The habits for the loud section include being loud in general, blasting music, being too loud while you’re studying and being too loud around 2 AM.
Fixing the bad habits of this kind of roommate doesn’t have to be a major challenge. For example, if your roommate is listening to music or watching a movie when you’re trying to sleep or study, tell them to wear headphones. Express your need for quiet time. Also consider setting up a timeframe devoted specifically for sleep, a time when peace and quiet are mandatory.
Dissecting the Problem of Disrespectful Roommates
Third is the “Disrespectful Roommate” section. Fourteen out of one hundred people said that it was the worst habit, putting it close to the “Loud Roommate” category. Examples of this category include doing drugs in the dorm, borrowing your stuff without asking and eating your food.
If your roommate is doing drugs, you need to inform them that you don’t want it happening where you live as well. Even if you can’t break their bad habits, at least make sure they keep their drugs away from your living space. As for borrowing your stuff and eating your food, just like before all you need is a calm conversation. If that doesn’t work, trying to keep certain things hidden in your room or signing a roommate agreement might be an effective start.
Pet Peeves: The Small Things Matter Too
Finally, the last category consists of small pet peeves that some people answered with. Some aren’t appropriate for print, but the more common examples include always asking for rides or to use your computer. Again, if you find these behaviors irritating, discuss them. With these examples, try asking them to find other people for rides or to go to the library for computer time. Remember, your roommate might not have a clue that they’re irritating you until you bring it up yourself.
The Annoying Roommate Butter Habit
Another pet peeve someone told me about was their roommate’s tendency to leave butter in random places around their room. One student reported a similar issue, though their roommate was leaving wooden planks in random spots instead. In these cases, ask your roommate to keep their materials stashed in certain locations. (You may not even want to know why they’re so infatuated with sticks of butter or pieces of wood in the first place, but you can question them on that as well if you have a curious mind.)
There are tons of things that roommates might do to annoy you. Some will only do one thing, and some will do a lot. Part of living with a roommate is dealing with the small conflicts you’re bound to encounter. I can’t say it enough—communication is the key to fixing these problems. The sooner you address a bad habit, the easier it will be to break it. However, if that does not work, then you may, unfortunately, need to consider getting a different roommate. Hopefully the new one won’t blast Lady Gaga at 2 AM.