How to Break-Up with a Roommate

BreakUpWithRoommates.MaryDugganBreak-ups are hard. Whether the relationship ended on a bad note or if the decision was mutual, breaking up with a significant other is never a pleasant experience. But, what’s even harder than ending it with a boyfriend? Ending it with a roommate.

Choosing roommates is one of the many idealized events that we have in college. We think it’s going to be easy, that we’ll live with our best friends in a cute little apartment and everything will be great. Well, for some that may be true and to those people we say congratulations because they have reached the unreachable. But for the rest of us, there will often be at least one roomie-break-up before our time at college has ended.

“This is happening to me and my friends now,” says freshman science major Cassie Venditti. “I guess the fears are that they think you don’t like them since you don’t want to live with them, and the awkwardness that is going to follow after telling them.”

Offending your roommate is perhaps the most common concern when planning how you’re going to break the news.

“I’m afraid they’ll take it personally but I just know our living habits don’t match up. I’m trying to make it come off as if we both want different housing, so that might make it easier,” adds junior marketing major Abbey Guman.

So that poses the question, what is the best way to break-up with a roommate?

Here are some suggestions to ease the process.

The Earlier the Better

Most times, roommates will get upset because they feel as though you are ambushing them and they won’t have enough time to figure out alternative housing arrangements. If you tell them early on, they will have more time to process the situation and look for someone else to fill your spot.

Make the Time to Talk

Simply not saying anything officially and just moving out is never the right call. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make the time to sit your roommate down and tell them you don’t want to live together anymore. Even if you have differences, it is important to show them you respect them enough to have a conversation.

Give them Reasons

As in any break-up, closure is necessary for the person being broken up with. You need to provide them with reasons why you don’t want to live with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make a physical list, but just explain them. Don’t make it “you do this” or “you do that.” Instead, try to approach it from the view of “we are different in this way” and “I feel like this will make things easier for both of us.” Make sure they know it isn’t a personal insult directed toward them, it is just what seems like the right choice for you at the time.

This Isn’t the End of a Friendship

This last tip is if your roommate is also a good friend. The key thing in this situation is to stress that not living together does not equate to not being friends. Assure them that you will still grab lunch and go out on the weekends together (if that’s what you want). And hey, who says the occasional sleepover isn’t allowed in college!

There is no guarantee a roomie break-up won’t be a daunting task, but hopefully these tips will make it a little easier for you both.

Photo by Mary Duggan 

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