I had it all planned out. The three girls I was set to move in with — all of whom I had never met — would quickly become my best friends. In a matter of days, I pictured us bonding over glasses of wine, talking about boys and sharing all of our secrets, not to mention all the decorating we would do in the house.
This was before I found out they were probably the worst people anyone could ever be paired in a residence hall with, let alone a secluded cluster of townhouses on the outskirts of campus. They locked up the smaller communal appliances with padlocks and chains. They drank from the moment they woke up, into all hours of the night. They even forgot about their puke-soaked clothing, and left it hanging over the hallway banister for an entire weekend.
I felt like I was living in hell. However, in my short time cohabitating with these reckless and irrational people, here are five ways I managed to cope with the issues at hand in as peaceful a way as possible:
1. Step out of the house when things get too heated.
I think this is the most vital piece of advice I can give you. When things are becoming too much, it's better to step out for a breather, rather than lash out and do or say anything you'll regret.
The truth is, even if they completely deserve whatever's coming to them, you'll have to live with the repercussions of any blowout because you live with them. Trust me when I say you don't want to deal with any of the backlash.
Been there, done that. I regret flipping out, despite being justified to do so in the situations I have encountered. The most successful retaliations instead came after I went for a walk or for tea at the coffee shop down the street. This way, I could return and make calm and collected reprisals.
2. Try to establish some rules concerning mutual respect.
You don't have to like each other, let alone be the best of friends. However, you should have enough respect for each other that you're not blatantly rude. Read: Your roommates shouldn't be constantly treating you like crap, regardless of their prepared plethora of excuses.
I started by asking one roommate to discuss her plans with me before throwing loud parties until all hours of the night and in the middle of the week. Then, I moved on to asking the other roommate to control her drunken outbursts at the rest of the people living in the house.
From there, I discussed the possibility of “maybe cleaning up after yourself” and “possibly picking up the vacuum once in a blue moon” with the both of them. OK, this last one was maybe a bit passive-aggressive on my end, but I only pushed it as far as I could without causing too much of a riff in the household.
3. Never flip out on them.
Since you want to remain the "good guy" (or girl) in the situation, don't stoop to their level. Also, it's extremely difficult to solve anything when two people are screaming at each other 24/7.
Nothing will get accomplished, and to be honest, you'll both end up hating each other even more than you already do. Whatever you do, just try your best to keep your cool, and talk it out as often as possible.
4. Ignore the bullsh*t.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: Roommates of this nature -- whether they're passive-aggressive or outright assh*les -- are not going to stop flying snide remarks at you. Whether it's twisting your words, taking things you said out of context or straight up making stuff up, you're going to have to hear a lot of anger-inducing crap spewing from their mouths.
When I was living with my roommates, it somehow ended up being my fault that the cops crashed one's obnoxiously loud rager at 4 am on a Tuesday night. The only hole in her story was that while this was happening, I was locked up in my room, trying to sleep with a pillow over my head.
5. Remember: You won't be living with them forever.
Whether you have to endure them for a school year or just a single semester (I switched out of that residence as quickly as possible and was gone after my first-semester exams), this isn't the living situation you'll be in for the rest of your life. At times, I felt like I would be trapped with those roommates for the rest of my life.
But I had the constant reminder that it was only a matter of time before I could move out, and it kept me from doing anything rash. Life goes on, and they'll become that horror story you tell people. You'll be half-laughing and half-cringing at the memory of them, and describing your situation to people at future get-togethers.
It's far from easy to deal with people you don't get along with, but this issue is even further exemplified when you have to share a house with them. From my own experience, I can safely say the best thing you can do is hold your ground, remove yourself as often as you can from the bullsh*t and keep your mind set on the fact that you won't have to live with these people forever.
You're not the first person to have to deal with horrible roomies, and you definitely won't be the last. The main way to cope with a passive-aggressive roommate is by not indulging him or her to his or her satisfaction.
This will also alleviate any unnecessary stress you've put upon yourself. Don't worry. You've got this.