Lots of us live with roommates at some point in our lives—and lots of us have argued with them. Even if you and your roomie get along just fine, we all experience pockets of annoyance. If you’re friendly most of the time, you can overlook the sporadic dishes in the sink or the clogged drain in the bathroom. But what do you when you don’t get along at all? What do you do when you hate your roommate with every fiber of your being?
Short answer? Move.
But, unfortunately, that’s not always an option. So, here are some ways to handle the roommate from hell.
Your roommate might claim she needs to sage smudge your apartment every morning because her intuitive powers aren’t working due to the bad energy in the living room, but unless you tell her you want her to stop, odds are she doesn’t know it’s bothering you.
When it comes to cohabitating, sighing and shooting pointed glances won’t cut it. Straight up tell your roommate when something bothers you—and do it sooner rather than later. When you avoid talking about the issue, you’ll only make yourself more upset. Sit them down in person (this is not a texting matter), be honest about the issue, and talk it through.
Hear them out
Make sure you’re actually listening to them in that conversation. You’re allowed to have your say, but so are they.
Once you’ve explained that the sage scent is giving you a headache, you need to listen to her talk about how it makes her feel more comfortable at home. Hearing each side fully without interrupting each other, and then asking questions, will help you see the other person’s perspective and eventually come to a compromise.
Assume the best
Unless you suspect that one day you’ll be interviewed on the local news after your roommate goes on a serial killing spree, give your roommate the benefit of the doubt.
Odds are he or she is not the second coming of Dexter. Sure, they might not always be the most empathetic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to see things from their point of view. If you go into disagreements with the assumption that the bulk of the issue is a communication issue, you’ll likely find common ground much faster.
If nothing changes and your roommate is still leaving half eaten cans of tuna around your apartment (this is a real story), even after you’ve asked them to stop and they’ve agreed, you’ll need to repeat yourself. But this time, do it in a way that conveys your disappointment.
Again, don’t go at the conversation from a place of anger, but make sure your roommate understands the level of frustration and that your living situation will have to change if they’re not able to.
Know when to call it
Sometimes, the best option is to throw in the towel.
If you tried your best to navigate your way into a healthy relationship but you still hate your roommate and they just won’t meet you halfway, then it might be time to find a different living situation.
That could mean moving out, but it could also mean getting them out.
If you’re the lease holder and your roommate’s not on it, you can work with your landlord to get themare also avenues to evict them if they are on the lease.
You should feel happy at home—and if the person you’re living with isn’t bringing any form of joy into your life, it’s time to get a fresh start.