That Roommate

We’ve all heard horror stories of “that crazy roommate.” Some students may have had such a bad experience that they moved out or confronted them. For many undergraduates, it’s always a possibility that we get stuck with a friend or random person and have to deal with their antics for the entire school year.

A friend might say, “Do something. Tell them to move out.”

Being the understanding college student that we are, we hope that living with a complete stranger or a problem housemate won’t be too bad. Worse yet, the living situation with our roomie gets so bad that we confront them.

One fourth-year undergraduate, Stephanie, recalls her overly cleanly housemate.

“My roommate was such a clean freak she threw away our recycling bin without telling us,” said Stephanie.

This was not so bad at first but actions soon spiraled out of control when the problem roommate started throwing out everyone’s Tupperware without asking   and acted like she owned the apartment. One night, when the housemates had a few close friends over,  she said that all the guests needed to leave by 11 at night or she would call the cops. Any person would be aghast at this demand but this girl believed she had the right to make her housemates’ guests leave whenever she wanted.

The best roommates clean up after themselves, are outgoing and don’t cause problems, they’re someone you can have fun with when you’re at home with them.

However, sometimes living with the perfect best friends are a mirage and they are just great at hiding their bad qualities.

“My roommate had anger problems,” said Davis, a fifth-year undergraduate. “He was such a loose cannon, one night he got drunk at home and started breaking all the glassware.”

They realized the problem was out of their control and were able to convince their college buddy to take a break from partying. The roommate reimbursed everyone for the broken glassware. They were able to get along with him in their beach house for the rest of the school year. Of course, they weren’t able to stop him from drinking but once under control, all the remaining kitchenware was kept intact.

If only all college students were so understanding and made an effort to get along. A fourth-year, George, tells the irreparable story of his past roommate.

“He not only ate our food and never paid the bills on time, but he left out of the blue three days before our rent was due.”

This guy was slick that the day he disappeared, he pocketed some of the rent money, took the house grill and robbed his housemates of their punching bag. This seems like an extraneous and unrealistic situation, but it can happen to anyone that wants to live in a nice house with a bunch of young people.

One fifth- year undergraduate, Emmanuel, who lives at the University Town Center apartments, mentioned how his roomie not only was a hoarder, but for months also got away with eating everyone’s Trader Joe’s food.  They only found out by catching him in the act. With sweeping and swift action, they kicked him out and the house made sure to always leave their valuables and food hidden.

After all of these horror stories, you’re maybe asking, “What can I do to stop this before it starts?”

Be upfront and set boundaries with roommates to make living with them easier. Also, make sure to stay on the same page with future roommates. Be sure that you all know the responsibility you are getting into. That can only help so much though, and even a background check or strict rules might not be enough.

There are times we wish our slobby suitemate kept the bathroom cleaner. Even leaving some day-old food or dishes in the kitchen can be unruly for us. After learning of some of the miserable encounters some UCI students have had, the most important lesson is to value living with someone you can trust. Be free to speak your mind with difficult housemates before any problems escalate. Most importantly, be happy to have friends or roommates that you know and are able to coexist with. Never be scared to speak up with problem housemates. It just helps you learn to get along better and keep a comfortable living environment.


*Last names were not included to respect the privacy of the interview subjects