Roommate struggles require crafty solutions

There once was a female USC freshman who slept soundly in her dorm room. All of a sudden, she heard a rustle. She assumed it was just her roommate coming in late, as she usually does, getting ready for bed.

Unfortunately, this freshman was about to find out that her roommate was getting ready for bed — with a new friend she met on The Row. Needless to say, our freshman did not get much sleep that night.

Every difficult roommate situation might not begin this way. The first couple weeks of school are often a blast. With seeing old friends and meeting new ones, it seems as if everyone loves everyone else and can’t wait for the first football game.

But once the fevered time period known as Welcome Week dies down, the gleam of the first few weeks dulls. Sure, you have your friends and you’re still excited for that football game, but sometimes a more present issue persists: Your roommate is a psychopath.

For sophomores, juniors and seniors, this is really no fault but their own. What did you expect when you signed up for random room assignments after that first awkward freshman year?

But it’s always sad when a freshman gets stuck with a roommate who carries the emotional attributes of Norman Bates.

Some roommates can be just plain weird. Weird is fine. Weird is good. It might be a pain to try to be quiet when coming in at night because your roommate goes to bed at 8:30 p.m., but it’s a much better situation than living with a raging nymphomaniac.

But what do you do when you’ve been hit with the dreaded “sexile”? Here are some tips on how to deal.

Set some boundaries

Maybe your roommate isn’t aware of the rules of being a human being. That’s cool — just make sure to remind him or her right after the first time it happens. This is not the time to attack your roomie and pompously defend your argument. Instead, calmly let him or her know that you wouldn’t mind leaving the room for a little while — you just need more than a moment’s notice.

Work out a convenient system — and the sock on the door does not count. If you get the feeling early on that you’ll bring someone home from the 9-0, shoot your roommate a text as soon as possible. Most people have a pretty good idea of where their night is headed with someone within the first few minutes of conversing.

By getting on the same page early on, you guys can get off to a great start and avoid more incidents in the future.

Pick up a hobby

OK, so maybe the other tips didn’t work. You’ve reminded your roommate to be considerate of his or her primal instincts.

Not only has your roommate continued with his or her X-rated behavior, both the actions and the frequency have increased tenfold. And without even hastily sending text message to ask for the room, they’ve resorted to hooking up while you’re asleep in the next bed over.

In this case, you’re obviously dealing with a narcissist. And because a narcissist can’t remove their head from their own rear end long enough to breathe fresh air, chances are talking to them again won’t help. This is the time to take up a hobby that’ll take you out of the dorm. Running? Check. Late-night cooking at a friends place ? Check. Going to a movie by yourself at UV? Check.



Perhaps you can live with a little in-your-face hooking up action or the incessant demands to leave the room. But once the situation escalates to the point where it affects your sleep schedule, grades and overall perception of other humans, it’s time to get dirty. If you don’t want to give them back a dose of their own medicine in a literal way, then get creative.

Every time you get back to the room, make a lot of noise as you’re getting situated — this is where a genuine-sounding “I’m so sorry!” comes in. Is he or she very particular about how clean you two keep the room? Mess it up.

Chances are they haven’t changed their behavior because they think that sex is nothing to get worked up about. Sex isn’t that big of a deal — for some. If you are personally offended by it, that’s fine too. Being a successful roommate is all about compromise.

Hopefully they learn to adapt their behavior. Maybe you should leave this article on their bed as a casual hint. Whatever they decide to do, try to not get too angry. Just think about the day they come home with that positive herpes test.


Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in critical studies. Her column “Lovegame” runs Thursdays.

2 replies
  1. Just an RA
    Just an RA says:

    Instead of suggesting that people try to avoid the problem or seek immature eye-for-an-eye justice, why don’t you advocate for a mediation with an RA? The ResEd system exists for a reason. I’d rather that my residents come to me with their problems so that we can try to work to a solution, rather than just suffering silently — or not so silently bitching to their friends, creating a vortex of resentment. Talking to your RA is way less awkward than listening to squeaks and moans all night, I promise.

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