10 telltale signs it's time to ditch your roommate — because they are literally not worth it
Obviously, your roommate might provide significant financial relief, saving you anywhere from $300 to $1,000 a month, per a 2015 survey by Smart Asset. But sometimes the negatives of having a roommate outweighs the monthly savings — and that's literal, if your roomie never pays you back.
Before you do anything drastic, try communication, Justin Gaither co-founder of college roommate matching company, Roomsurf told Mic.
"It’s always good to have a conversation early in the relationship about who is responsible for certain chores and how finances will be handled," he says. "Think about your lifestyle preferences and what might be compatible."
Being direct is always best, Gaither says: "A common tendency, especially with younger people, is to be more passive-aggressive rather than confront the issue head on. Have that conversation and talk it out about what is not working for you and see if resolving it makes sense."
But if you just aren't getting through? It may be time to kick that roommate to the curb.
Here's how to know when it's time to find a new roommate — or to seek out one of those magical cities in the United States where it's actually affordable to ditch the roommate altogether and get your own place.
1. Housekeeping services are on you
Are dishes always piled up before it's your turn to wash? Or have you found your roomie's dirty undies stuffed strategically inside your laundry basket?
One way to reduce chore confusion is to turn to an app like Roof. Designed by University of North Carolina graduate João Ritter, Roof sets up a to-do list that tracks accountability between roommates or housemates.
"I really love the push notifications that the app sends out to people, so that roommates don’t have to remind each other to do dumb things around the house," student Hannah Hudson commented to the Daily Tar Heel.
But if even your best efforts to share responsibilities are going ignored? It might be time to throw in the towel.
2. No food is safe
It never fails. The half of your favorite grilled cheese sandwich and fries from the best takeout restaurant in the city always manages to "disappear" overnight, or the bag of chips you bought is eaten before you can have one.
Before you blow up at your roomie, first try showing how you feel: by labeling your food and opening communication channels, said Kenrick Ali, associate director of residence life at California State University, East Bay.
"It is imperative that you speak to your roommate about how much they can use, what happens when items start running low, what happens when there is no more of the item, and who pays for the replacement," Ali told the New York Times. And if that doesn't work, you might need to find a new roomie.
3. Two is always actually three
While you had a great living situation with your roommate, nowhere in your arrangement did you anticipate you would also be living with his or her significant other. Occasional sleepovers turn into weekend stays — and suddenly the third person is living in your apartment free and clear, not to mention trying to redecorate.
Dr. Fredric Neuman writes in Psychology Today that sleepover guests should be agreed upon first and an agreement between roommates reached.
If you didn't give your okay, that's not okay.
4. Fronting cash becomes your treat
Your roommate is constantly asking you to give them float money for rent, bills or groceries, and then conveniently forgets to repay the loan.
Rather than going broke or just being passively aggressively annoyed, roommates should establish a system for collecting money: so no single roommate is left to round up the cash or front another roommate's share, Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. writes on Psych Central.
5. Their drama is affecting your relationships
Being friendly with your significant other is fine, but if your roomie is flirting or outwardly trying to steal your mate — that's not cool.
If they aren't to blame, avoid getting irritated with or blaming your partner for this behavior, Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes in Psychology Today.
Instead, be upfront with your roommate about the problem behavior, to avoid mounting feelings of jealousy and resentment. And remain mindful and aware of the situation.
But don't let a rotten roomie waste too much of your time. At a certain point, they've gotta go.
6. Your nights are your roommate's days
Blasting EDM at 1 a.m. every day is not okay when you have to be at work by 8 a.m.
What can you do other than lay there stewing?
Hartnell-Walker advises roommates to have a discussion before noise tensions escalate, because a few ground rules to determine acceptable noise levels can remedy the situation.
If that doesn't work — buh bye.
7. The "H" word is on the tip of your tongue
Can anyone ever have too many cats? Well, yes. If your roommate seems to be stockpiling pets — along with lamps, scary porcelain figurines and random plastic bags — you might be living with a hoarder.
"All of us can have more possessions than we really need and wrestle to keep our stuff organized, yet for those with a hoarding issue, it’s to an extreme, where it interferes with their life and ability to use their space effectively," Annette Perot, an anxiety and hoarding expert, told the Huffington Post.
The first step to solving the problem, as usual, is communication. Talk to your roomie about their mess and the effect it is having on you.
Of course, a messy roommate is one thing, but if talking it out is not working and you are sincerely concerned about your roommate's mental health, do not try to handle the situation alone: Get professional help.
Hoarding can be a deeper and more serious issue than you realize.
8. Pants seem to be optional
Even if you grew up in a naked house, do you really want to be confronted with your underwear-clad roommate in the common room? Or worse?
Advice from a University of Wyoming blog suggests if your roommate is, "excessively walking around in all their naked glory, try to come to a compromise where they, at the very least, wear a pair of boxers or, even better, a pair of sweatpants. If nothing else you can come to an agreement where plastic is placed over all of your furniture and you get to sleep on the top bunk to avoid seeing their bare body."
9. You feel like you are in the movie Single White Female
Having a roommate helps with finances and provides companionship — but the goal is not to become the Wonder Twins. If your roommate is acting possessive and more like a jealous lover, it may be time to move on.
Just because you are roommates, you don’t have to be best friends, Debra Waller-Frederick, director of residence life at Mount Saint Mary College told U.S. News & World Report: "This isn't necessary nor is it realistic. They merely have to live together. If the end result next May is that they are best friends, well, that's great."
But sometimes a friendship is not meant to be. And that's okay.
10. You are ready to fly alone
Maybe you simply have the finances to live alone and you don't need a roommate. Aside from increased expenses, those who live alone have more privacy and control over daily living, which can be empowering.
Upsides for solo dwellers include an easier time managing how much is spent on living expenses like cable and utilities, Niccole Schreck, from Rent.com told U.S. News & World Report.
Your decision to go at it alone is pretty straightforward, but make sure you examine all aspects of solo living — before kicking your roommate to the curb.
Make sure you have enough cash saved up. Then take flight.
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