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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Got roommate problems? We can help.

An off-campus house on Franklin Street pictured on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Living with other people is hard. But it’s especially hard during a pandemic, when your home suddenly becomes your office, gym, safe haven and classroom — all at the same time. Inevitably, when you’re spending all your time in the same space with the same people, tensions will brew. Here are some tips on how to dial the bad vibes down:

Problem: Your roommate keeps eating your food.

Solution: It’s time to adapt. If you pivot to veganism, not only are your new snacks healthier, but they’ll also remain untouched by all (yourself included, probably). For example: whole grain corn tortilla chips with sprouted flax quinoa chia. It tastes exactly how you’d expect.

Problem: Your roommate keeps bringing random hookups into your house.

Solution: Maybe they’re just making new friends ... who you only see at odd hours of the evening ... or maybe not. Regardless of the guest, it's completely valid for you to be uncomfortable with strangers entering your home during a pandemic. It’s a risk not only for your roommate, but for you as well. If they refuse to listen, consider telling them to get it on somewhere else. We hear Davis is pretty empty these days!

Problem: Your roommate is talking about you behind your back to your other roommate.

Solution: Tell roommate #1 to square up! It doesn’t matter that you only kept up with the at-home workouts for the first week and a half of quarantine. The baby biceps are there and they’re ready! Some say violence is never the answer, but who cares? We are ready to fight.

Problem: Your roommate appears to be incapable of cleaning up after themselves.

Solution: We’ve all done it — engage in that war of contrition to see who will break first and clean up after the other. If you’re reading this, it means you’ve lost. From here on out, it’s going to have to be guerrilla warfare for you, but not without some initial “diplomacy.” Kindly ask your roommate to pick up the slack. When they don’t, it’s go time. 

Dishes are the easiest — just put them in their bed. If that’s too much for you to handle, leave them somewhere in their room. They’ll probably convince themselves they did it anyway. For common areas, do the bare minimum to keep yourself sane: only clean the areas that you use regularly. Leave your roommate to muddle in their own filth. There is a fine line, however, to making sure that the nooks and crannies you “forget” don’t get too dirty, or else you’ll end up with some issues that affect all of you. We’ll let you figure out what that line is for your situation. And don’t be afraid to get creative with the rest of the meddling. 

Problem: Your roommate isn’t COVID-safe.

Solution: Maybe they aren’t wearing their mask, or they're going to questionably large parties and constantly meeting new people. The key to resolving this conflict lies in communication. Explain why their behavior is concerning, and ask your roommate if they would be willing to adjust their living habits to keep everyone else safe. If they are unwilling to adjust their habits, consider asking them to get tested frequently via the new saliva-based testing at the Union. Perhaps you could all go together to get tested! You can’t beat roommate bonding (and public safety)! 

Problem: Your roommate’s schedule is different than yours, so they stay up all night.

Solution: This isn’t necessarily a problem. In fact, it might present a unique bonding opportunity. Have you considered staying up with them in solidarity, while maybe blasting One Direction’s "Up All Night" album to honor the momentous occasion? Fire album, lifelong memories, two birds, one stone, baby!

Problem: Your roommate SUCKS.

Solution: Get a new one.


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