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What Makes a Bad Roommate?

By Sarah Casimong ; Updated June 13, 2017

Coming home to a bad roommate is the last thing you want to do after a long day. Sharing a living space with another person -- whether with a friend or a stranger -- means that both people will have to compromise and adapt to each other. Communicating and coming up with an agreement is important, because certain traits and habits can occur that make for a less-than-ideal roommate.

Is an Habitual Borrower

An undesirable roommate is someone who does not respect your personal property. It’s frustrating to find that your roommate finished off the leftovers you were planning to have for dinner, or that she “borrowed” your clothes without asking. Some people are more generous when it comes to sharing their things, but it’s always wise to ask, first. It would be wise to talk about boundaries when it comes to using each other’s stuff.

Is Pushy and Too Personal

Invading emotional space is another form of overstepping boundaries. A nosy roommate is just as invasive as a roommate who uses your things without asking. Some roommates may expect that the person they’re living with will automatically become their best friend -- sharing everything from how their day went to spilling those deep, dark secrets. This information isn’t always welcome, however, and each person shouldn’t expect that from the other person. It’s important to get along with your roommate, and it’s ideal if a friendship evolves, but it’s important to give your roommate some space if he does not seem receptive to an intimate conversation.

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Doesn't Do the Dishes

Living with a messy or disorganized person can become a headache, especially if you are a clean freak. Even if you aren’t strict about spotless floors or orderly shelves, coming home to a cluttered living room and moldy kitchen can be bad for your mental and physical health. If both roommates are messy, this could turn into a disaster. A good roommate realizes the importance of cleanliness, even if it means scheduling cleanups every so often.

Is Disrespectful and Not Courteous

A problem between roommates is when one or both are inconsiderate of the other person. When a roommate makes a living situation uncomfortable -- such as bringing home friends or dates late at night, taking up too much space in the fridge, or playing loud music early in the morning -- this can cause the other person to become annoyed and to feel that the other person has not respected your values or personal space. Express any problems you may have with your roommate’s habits or behaviors, especially if these problems are causing stress.

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