You Ask, Joe Answers

Living in the dorms can be rough. You spend your day struggling to stay awake in boring classes, straining your eyes in the library, and failing test after test only to come back to your room and be forced to deal with a situation that causes all of your other problems combined to look like burping in front of your grandmother in comparison. The annoying situation to end all annoying situations is the problem of dealing with a bad roommate.

When it rains with a bad roommate, it pours. If they're not talking with their boyfriend on the phone until 5 a.m., they're playing their annoying hippie music until your ears bleed. When they're not stealing the cookies your girlfriend baked for you, they're doing illegal drugs on your bed and trashing your posters. There isn't an act of negligence that this inconsiderate moron won't do when the time is right. So what do you do?

Well, killing them in their sleep is most certainly a bad way to go about the situation. Poking holes in their condoms in the ultimate unbridled act of spite is also probably on the list of bad ideas. A rash confrontation will only result in your annoying roommate having the upper and legal hand on you. What they're doing to you is bad, but countering with an act of blind rage won't solve any problems-in fact it'll create more.

I've found through trial and error (a LOT of error to be precise) that the first step toward making the situation bearable is to talk things out. "Hey, I don't like you stealing my stuff," is a good ice-breaker. Try to find a middle ground that you both can agree upon. You may not always like things, but it's better than living in the cramped confines of hell for the rest of the semester.

Homesickness can sometimes be the cause for acts of selfishness and stupidity. My freshman year I had a roommate that found it necessary to smoke inordinate amounts of marijuana in our room. It would be 4 a.m. and I'd wake up with my head spinning, a dumb grin on my face and the entire room filled with more smoke than a dive bar at last call. It turned out that he was having trouble with being away from home. We joined some clubs together and things got better.

Obviously there are people that react to the prospect of change negatively. When asked about compromise, my roommate second semester of freshman year gave me the same look a dog would give me if I read random names out of the phone book. There are people that are unchangeable. In those situations I recommend you talk to your RA about finding a new roommate. There are hundreds of people just like you-looking for that special someone that won't eat their stuff and move their crap around.

If you find yourself on your fifth roommate in four semesters, well, then, sorry, but YOU are the problem. I don't mean to be blunt, but YOU are the idiot that I've been describing above. Get your act together and act like an adult, you selfish ignoramus.

Living with strangers isn't a science. It only requires that you keep your annoying habits to a minimum and that you both respect each other's differences.

-----Do you have a question that you want answered by a person that is barely qualified to operate an automobile? E-mail jdk5 with your question today!