Dear Barb—A Friendly Annoyance

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am just finishing my first year of university and I will be going home for the summer.  This year I shared an apartment with another girl who was also in first year and she says we should share an apartment again next year.  The problem is that I can’t imagine living with her again.  She is a slob, to say the least.  She never cleans up after herself, I end up doing the vacuuming, taking out garbage and even cleaning the bathrooms.  Melissa is always bringing groups of people into the apartment while I am trying to study, so then I end up having to gather all my stuff together and go to the library, which has been difficult to do with the pandemic restrictions.  When I try to talk to her about these issues, she makes light of it and says I take things too seriously.  Aside from all these issues, what really gets to me is when she “borrows” my clothes without asking.  Often, I plan on wearing a certain outfit to an outing and when I go into my closet it’s not there.  When I confront Melissa, she says, “Oh I knew you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed it.”  But I do mind, but I can’t bring myself to say anything, since she really is a nice person, and we have a lot of fun together.  How would you suggest I handle this situation?  Thanks, Rebecca. 

Hi Rebecca:

Congrats or surviving your first year of University.  Roommate problems are one of the most frequent complaints voiced by students at brick & mortar institutions.  First, do you and your roommate have an agreement that you signed?  Most students living in residence have an agreement so that when issues come up they can revert back to their agreement to find a way to resolve them.  Since you are in an apartment, I will assume you do not have an agreement, meaning you and your roommate will have to resolve these issues on your own.  As always, the most important ingredient in any successful relationship is healthy communication.  The best way to achieve this is to talk openly about what is bothering you, do not let things fester until they are ready to explode.  Be ready and willing to compromise, it is not usually all one person’s fault when things go wrong.  Take responsibility for your actions, and don’t blame everything on your roommate, for instance, have you let her know when you plan to study before she brings guests?  If you and Melissa cannot come to a resolution, then consider speaking to a mediator.  Most universities offer the services of a mediator of some sort.  It is important to seek the advice of someone who will be able to look at the situation in an unbiased manner.  However, if your roommate does not want to address these issues, then you may have to realize you need different place to live.  Hope I was able to help, best of luck Rebecca.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
%d bloggers like this: