What to Do if You Have Issues with Your Roommate

When moving to New York, you will most likely need a roommate to offset the city's high costs of living. If you are new to the area, one way to find a roommate is by placing an ad online or through a local publication or from a word-of-mouth reference. No matter how you find your roommate you are going to want to interview them and meet with them beforehand to see if you are compatible. The problem with some situations is that a prospective roommate may say one thing in an interview, but then act entirely different after the New York moving companies have left.

Susan Fee, a Licensed Professional Counselor and the author of "My Roommate Is Driving Me Crazy," says this is a common problem. A major problem, according to Fee, is not anticipating aspects of your roommate's personality that you can't truly see until you start living together. "People borrow clothes or makeup and that ends up being a big deal," she says. Some roommates eat each other's food or have guests over without discussing it with one another -- seemingly innocent behavior that can be irritating and annoying.

So what can you do if you and your roomie are driving each other up a wall? Fortunately, most issues are likely to be minor. And if you discuss them with your roommate early on, rather than let them fester, most can be worked out, Fee says.

When you have a conversation about an issue, focus on the issue -- don't make the other person the issue. Rather than saying, 'You're a slob and you don't respect me,' say, 'I'd like to talk about how we keep the apartment clean,' she advises. This might mean taking control of the organizational aspects such as creating a cleaning chart where you clearly state the days the apartment should be cleaned and what areas should be focused on. You can also outline who pays the bills, what groceries can be shared and what days guests are allowed to visit.

If you've had the conversation and it became overly confrontational or you were outright ignored, be careful making threats and starting fights. Think realistically about the situation. Do you have another place to go to? Is your name on the lease? If he/she ends up leaving will you be able to find another roommate in a month or less? Will bailing cost you a damage deposit? Will your credit rating be affected?

Unless you feel unsafe, leaving should be the last resort. No one is perfect and that is especially apparent when you find yourself living with someone new in New York City. Compromise, conversation and organization will hopefully help you find the perfect medium when living together.

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