Roommate Rules: Five Types of College Roommates and How to Live With Them

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Sydnie Ho
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(This is the second post in our Roommate Rules series. Be sure to check out the first and third posts, too, for more great advice on building a successful roommate relationship!)

Throughout college, a majority of students live with one or more roommates. You might be getting ready to live with someone for the first time, or just with someone new. While they may be a complete stranger, or friend, or the complete stranger that becomes a friend, there are a lot of different types of roommates to be aware of and different ways to deal with them. Here are the 5 types of roommates in college that you are bound to come across.

The Slob

If you are somewhat of a neat person like me, this person will drive you crazy. They are the ones who leave piles of their clothes, clean or dirty, on every surface of the room. They rarely do the dishes or clean up after themselves. It’s rough. If you each have your own room and just share the living room and kitchen, it may not be as bad. But if you have to share the same room it can get pretty frustrating. If the messiness gets out of hand, be assertive and just tell them! Hopefully it will help them be more aware of what they are doing. You may have to compromise on a level of cleanliness you both can live with.

The Ghost

For some reason, this type of roommate is never in the room or apartment. Whether they are going back home, hanging out with other people, or who knows where, you will never hear from them or see them ever. It can be odd, but to get to know them you have to catch them when you see them. It can be hard, but so worth it, so keep trying. 

The Socialite

This person is the social butterfly; the one who is always hanging out with their friends. You don’t always know what they are doing, but sometimes this can be a good thing. Or their friends become yours and it’s great. Problems can arise if they continuously bring people over without asking. If you love it, great. If not, it’s best just to tell them. Maybe they can find an alternate hangout spot to give you some space when needed. 

The Passive Aggressive

Living with this type of roommate is hard. For some reason they don’t like you and you may never really know why. If you do something that bothers them in the slightest, they will passive aggressively address it, or make smug remarks that never stop. And if you do confront them, they will say that everything is fine when it really isn’t. This person is a tricky one to deal with. You can try and confront them in an assertive (not aggressive) way, or just stick it out till the end and try to be civil roommates. Test out the waters and see what works best.

The Neat Freak

The opposite of the slob. This person makes you feel like the slob, even when you aren’t. They are super picky about where everything is, need things to be a certain way, and if it’s not up to their standards, they will freak. This can be a difficult way to live. Discuss with them if you can’t keep up with their demands and explain how you are feeling

These are just a few types of roommates you might come across. Sometimes they can be a pain, but sometimes they can be a blessing. Whoever it is, this person might be your best friend in the making. Even if your new roommate seems like someone you’ll get along with, odds are it won’t be perfect right from the start. You’ll need to use good communication skills to build a positive relationship. Keep in mind their point of view and try to talk things through without getting angry. You’ll develop problem-solving skills plus you’ll end up with a living space that you both can enjoy. 


Check out the other two posts in our Roommate Rules series:

Roommate Rules: Communication paves the way for a positive roommate experience

Roommate Rules: Tips for a Better Roommate Experience