Some Background

  • I am a 21 year old female,
  • House mates ages: Alice is 21, Beth is 20 and Katie is 19,
  • Obviously, the flatmates names have been changed to protect their anonymity
  • We lived in a student apartment complex

I lived with the same two girls for both first and second year of college - Alice and Beth - and in second year we also got a new roommate who was going into her first year of college - Katie. Everything was fine in first year between Alice, Beth and I but things started to change when Katie moved in. All of a sudden Alice and Beth were very cold towards me as was Katie, all of it for no apparent reason. I'm a very quiet, introverted person so it's not like I was having raves in our apartment or anything, the only people I had over occasionally were my boyfriend and a couple of friends on my course but I always made sure it was okay first. I'm also studying a very intensive course so I don't have much free time for having friends over, throwing parties or doing extra curricular things anyways.

As the year went on the behavior only got worse, it began with the three of them being very cold towards me, then small jobs not being done by any of them (taking out the trash, hoovering, mopping etc.) and this trend continued until the end of the year, by which point the following had occurred:

  • my food was being stolen from the fridge/my press, including dinners that my family had made for me and brought with them on the rare occasions they came to visit,
  • I was gifted two beautiful cream throws by my aunt for our couches and one of the girls burst a blue pen all over one of the throws and failed to own up to it or make any attempt to clean it up, when I asked about it they each blamed it another,
  • all the cutlery I had brought with me had been taken - it was all in the drawer the week before we were due to move out and, surprise surprise, on moving day it was gone - I asked them in the group chat we had and again individually to return it nicely because I didn't want to end the year on a bad/worse note, yet somehow none of them had it.

After the year I had with them I was under the impression that I wouldn't be living with them again for the coming academic year considering how everything went, but yesterday, Alice sent a message into the old group chat to inform the rest of us she had put down on her application that she wanted to live with us again next year. Beth and Katie also chimed in to say the same thing. I have yet to reply to their messages because I don't know how to say nicely that I'm not interested in living with them again due to last year and would prefer if they would remove me from their applications so I don't automatically get placed with them even if I don't request it.

In essence, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place and I don't know how to get out of this situation. From what I can tell, they can't see anything wrong with the way things were last year if they're all saying they've put me down on their applications for this year again. I want to get the reasons for me wanting to move out across to them but I don't know how to go about it. I'm a very quiet, non-confrontational person so I don't want this to blow up on me but I feel they need to know how I felt last year and that I do not want to live with any of them again this year. In short, my question is this: How do I make it clear to them I do not want to live with any of them next year? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated, and if any more info is needed just let me know and I will edit accordingly!

  • 2
    Have you found anyone else to live with? – TheRealLester Jul 9 at 16:00
  • 4
    @TheRealLester if I don't put anyone down on my application then I will be put in with three random people who also didn't put down anyone so I don't have to find people myself thankfully! – Chilly Jul 9 at 16:02
  • 3
    It's sad that this can happen. Unfortunately it sounds like your Katie character is the problem, and it only takes one wolf to set the sheep running :( – Korthalion Jul 11 at 9:57
  • Wait, if they put their names together as 3 people, wouldn't 1 person of the random group be assigned to them? or are they doing this in a diffrent pool then one thats made by the school or such. – Andy Jul 12 at 6:17
  • @Andy the accommodation has nothing to do with my university, it's external student accommodation in no way affiliated with the campus. It's because they all put my name on their forms that I might get put with them even if I don't put them down, as far as the people running this accommodation know everything was fine last year so it could happen unless I explicitly tell them not to put me with them. – Chilly Jul 12 at 8:30

10 Answers 10

up vote 20 down vote accepted

I have posted a collection of solutions that vary based on what you feel would be the best approach to the solution. YMMV (Your mileage may vary), so take these with a grain of salt and change them based on the situation.

Very Non-Confrontational Solution

Don't bother telling them anything past

I already have living plans for next year.

You don't owe them any explanation based on how they treated you. I would recommend following the point at the very bottom about contacting the school as well, just as a precaution, because there is the off chance that they might not take you seriously.

Less Non-Confrontational Solution

Simply suggest to the other three that you want to meet new people and live with others for the next year, and to remove you from their suggestions so that you can do that. There is no need to go into detail about why you actually don't want to if you don't want to talk about it. As a non confrontational person myself, and needing to tell a friend who was going to the same university I didn't want to room with them (various issues which would be too long to go into), I used this. It worked well and I had few questions from him during my time. The downsides are that your old roommates will not actually know how poorly they treated you, and they might become upset and start asking you about your reasons.

Confrontational Solution

Let them know that you had difficulties living with them and would like to live somewhere else next year. It is inevitable that you will need to explain the difficulties in depth, so now would be the time to lay out your grievances. If they truly want you to stay another year, they will give back the cutlery, admit to defacing the pillow, etc. This will at least give you some closure to the problems you've had with them. No matter how much they plead hold your ground. You've made your decision and you will stick with through hell or high water.

If the Other Solutions Don't Work

Call the school and let them know about the three housemates and how they put you on their application. Ask them to not place you with them and don't go into details about it. This should be a quiet, last ditch effort if they absolutely will not take you off their application. This isn't an IPS answer per se but it might be the only thing that works, and the university should be accepting of this. Be prepared to go into detail about the situation if needed, however.

  • 5
    I might suggest contacting the school in advance anyways -- if the applications have already been submitted, the school may be processing them already, and if they see three people all listing each other and you as "preferred" flatmates they might just sign off on it assuming that you're interested as well (since all three included you). Make it very clear to the school early on that you want no part of this, and make a note on your application as well if you haven't already submitted it. – Doktor J Jul 12 at 15:38

In short, don't bother.

They know what happened. Going out of your way to rub it in and try to get something out of it is unrealistic. Even considering being polite after someone stole cutlery is more than would be deserved, in my opinion.

You aren't exactly dealing with the most moral, responsible people, from the sounds of things.

So don't bother with them. Send an email to the housing support for your University, or call them up, and explain the situation. Say that you're not interested in pursuing any action, but that you want to make sure you don't get roomed with them again. In my experience, the faculty at college are very helpful and willing to work with polite students.

If the faculty is unwilling to help, send an email to your previous flatmates, telling them in as few words as possible to remove you from their preferences. If they refuse for whatever reason, your safest bet would be to try and find a 3rd party service that provides 'matchmaking' for flatmates in your college- there are usually options outside of the automated matcher.

I know it can be hard to just 'let go' of situations where you feel like you have been wronged, but in this case, I think it would be easiest to just cut your losses and hopefully move on to greener pastures.

Best of luck.

How to get out of the situation:

Don't ask them to take you off their application. Some have already turned it in. Instead, go to housing placement and request directly there to not be placed with them as you are aware that they have put in that request and you don't want that to be the case.

Telling your ex-roomies you don't want to live with them when the application is already in could result in them not bothering to change it, and then you'll end up being assigned to their room.

The main problem with asking the roomies to take you off the application is that you are asking all 3 of them to take an action, and if only one of them doesn't...then you end up being in the more uncomfortable situation of having told them that you don't want to live with them, and being assigned to live with them afterwards...

And EVEN if they do take you off the application, whoever does the housing assignments might see that you were on there before, and just go ahead and put you on there.

You've got to officially request not being put in with them. Once you do that, then maybe, if you feel like it, you can have a chat with your former roommates about your perceptions of how it went. But that chat won't be for any reason other than personal satisfaction, not because you need them to do something that won't put you in the situation again.

One thing I wanted to add--some of these troubles might not be them. But they are still a problem.

For instance, I had food stolen for the first two weeks, but that was because my roommates left the door unlocked for any of their many friends to walk in. In fact, I was scolded for locking it because they didn't bring their keys. I made sure to keep my own door locked, and I had a talk with their football player friends about what was off-limits.

Your food was either eaten by a) your roommates or b) your roommate's guests. Since none of them admitted it, and it's a fact that it happened constantly, either one of them is lying or they have terrible friends. Over chat it would go something like this: "The first year everyone was a fine roommate, but this year--I don't know what's changed, but something obviously has. I've already put in a request to live with other people." If they ask for details: "My food was constantly missing. None of you admit to it. Same thing goes for the ruined cream throw with ink all over it. Either one of you ruined it and you just don't have the courage to own up, or you had someone over who did. Same with my cutlery that went missing--either it was one of you, or someone y'all invited over. I don't need the stress of trying to figure it out. Somehow, all of you seem to think that I would want to live with y'all under those circumstances. I really can't fathom that."

The other option of course, is that someone you had over did these things. But you'll be familiar with time frame and all. Just...if there is someone that you have been bringing over that might have done all of these things, consider that, just a little. Especially if these issues follow you.

I wouldn't even really bother replying to them. That only opens the door for debate, and for them to argue their way into you agreeing to it reluctantly. As for the application, try talking to the housing department as you should be able to also avoid certain people. It's been a while since I lived in a dorm, but if I recall, my application also had a list of people to avoid. Best bet would be to just let them go. They know what they did wrong and are probably looking to take advantage of it again (free food, free house items).

It's also possible they stole the utensils in hopes it gives you a reason to keep in contact with them. I had a friend of mine who had an ex that kept their textbooks on them and refused to give them back after they broke up so that they had a way to stay in contact with my friend. Eventually, she had enough and just told him to keep the books since the semester was done anyways.

So, to sum it up, I would avoid replying, or if you absolutely feel the need to, just state how you found other living arrangements but thanks for offering you the chance to have the same roommates. Again, I advise against it as some people would take that as a chance to argue you into something you are reluctant to do.

What you can do though is go to the school and blacklist them. Not being able to avoid roommate requests is a huge safety liability so the school has to have a way to keep people separate upon request (even if it's situationally based).

It's clear you don't want to live with them again. If this is the decision you've made, they can't force you onto their lease. You have all the power in this situation. Simply tell them you already have other living arrangements for next year.

You don't even need to give them a reason. If they ask why, you can just say you already made plans and end the conversation. Again, you owe them no explanation, your choice of living is your own.

  • 6
    I did actually speak up about everything that happened but all that resulted in was things getting progressively worse for me up to the point of moving out. – Chilly Jul 9 at 16:20
  • @Chilly Oops! Guess you don't need that lecture then :) The first part still stands though! – scohe001 Jul 9 at 16:50

Here's the good news. You don't have to get anything across to them. It's not your responsibility to make them see things your way. All you have to do is say something like "Sorry, but I'm not interested in having the same living arrangements as last year. Omit me from your application" If they ask, you don't have to explain anything if you don't want to. Just say "this is what I want, it's what's best for me". If you do want to tell them, state your case, ("You guys take my food, wreck my stuff without apologizing, and stole my property") but if they try to make you feel like your reasons are bad, don't play the game of defending yourself. You can break away from them for any reason you want, and they don't have to approve.

Bringing up their bad behavior openly might break the friendship, I'm afraid, but living with them damaging and taking your things isn't all that healthy for your friendship either.

  • Trust me, what little friendship was there is most definitely long gone after the way last year went! Thank's for your answer, I found it quite helpful :) – Chilly Jul 10 at 8:41

As a complement of other's answers. I'm mentioning what may happen after you will be officially moving out and what you should do?

As others said, don't bother, just make sure to ask explicitly and politely you don't want to be with them.

I'm a very quiet, non-confrontational person.

They know it and they're using it against you. If they learn you try to escape them, they will very likely try to provoke confrontation, especially when you want to get your stuff out. If you have friends other than them, explain your situation to them and when you will move your stuff out :

  • don't tell them when, if possible when they won't be there (and not too late).
  • bring friends, especially the kind that can stand up for you. That friend doesn't need to tell them why you're moving out, just to take the confrontational part for you and make them let you go with your stuff.

Another option : move, along with your stuff, to a friend's room before even having to move to your own new room.

Also since you will very likely cross their way later on, you will need to stand up for yourself because friends won't always be there. Furthermore, if you can't have any external help, you will probably not have the choice but to confront them yourself.

  • This was quite helpful, I'll see if I can bring a friend with me - I have a lot of boxes to pack and move so it would definitely be helpful to have another person for that as well as someone to help back me up if I run into any of the old flat mates.. Thank you for your answer! – Chilly Jul 10 at 9:53

If you don't feel that living with them will be good for you, I beg you, I plead with you from the wisdom born of some of emotionally draining nightmares of college living experiences like yours and far worse: Make your official moves to not be roomed with them FIRST, figure out how to be nice about breaking the news SECOND. The advice on how to be diplomatic others have left here are all more eloquent than I can be but sort out how you are going to live somewhere else before you worry about that.These are your housemates. You have separate lives. You owe them nothing but common courtesy and decency while you are in the same space, which you clearly delivered on.

You owe yourself peace of mind and a safe shelter more than you owe these people anything.

The way you write your experience out has a tone and word choice to downplay the events that were problematic for you lead me to guess that these girls also treated you like you were (over)reacting to something small, trivial, unimportant. If that is the case and those girls did diminish your response to their behavior as I suspect they did. When I was in a similar position, everything I felt was minimized and downplayed until I was second-guessing everything. I hope that isn't the case for you, but if it is, I would like to take a moment to reinforce that you are not overreacting and those offenses are not understandable things to be upset about. You are having a valid, reasonable, understandable reaction to receiving disrespect, lack of boundaries, lack of empathy, and a lack of regret when their behavior caused you pain, especially from people you live with every single day. That's is, in fact, huge. That is the foundation of basic quality of life.

This is why I want to drive home how important it is that you have your other options squared away. People don't change their lifestyle behaviors without a drastic reason, they just don't, and these 3 will continue to their mistreatment of you until you make it stop, not ask - make. You have the struggle of building a life for yourself with your education and your social life. Your home should not be a place of struggle if the people you are struggling with are not people you are committed to. If the people involved were your romantic partner, or if you even described them as good friends, maybe, but you don't.

Get free for next year first. Once you do, then you can figure out how to confront (or not confront) letting them know your plans, if you even want to. These may not be people who deserve that much from you. If so, you have a group chat. You can always send one and then block their numbers if things get difficult. Regardless of if or how you do choose to tell them your plans, you will do so from a place of power with your exit already made and your safety and serenity secured as best you can.

To that end, I suggest you take immediate and official steps not to live with them on your own, without saying anything. If you havent done it already, contact University Housing. If you are able, I highly recommend going to the University Housing office, in person, during office hours and having a conversation with someone on staff. Make sure that you see them file the paperwork for placing you somewhere else and that they give you WRITTEN CONFIRMATION. If you are unable to do that in person, take those same steps via email. Do not say a word to these 3 until you have WRITTEN CONFIRMATION that you will not be living with them next term but that you will have a place in university housing, or somewhere else.

Once you have that, in hand, then take the great advice on how to give people bad news that has been shared here. But don't wait. Don't put the responsibility of your peace of mind on the hopes that they'll let you go. Chances are that they won't. You are someone who they can abuse and right now, they seem to know it. Why would they ever release you? People are unpredictable and in a case where your actual living is at stake, you want to know you're safe before you give anything away. Trust me, this sort of thing has happened I've seen it. This is why I cannot stress enough that you shouldn't say anything to these women until you get all the official documentation finished and you are secure in your placement for next term.

If you feel bad about anything you're doing for any reason at any point, stop and remind yourself of this: The things they've done hurt you in a real way that you should not and do not have to continue to deal with. You only have one life, one youth, one college experience they don't have the right to get in the way.

Take care of yourself first and foremost. May you find peace and ease. Good luck.

  • This was one of the most thought out and lovely answers I've gotten, thank you for taking the time to write it, I really appreciate it. – Chilly Jul 13 at 8:28
  • 1
    I had a really bad time and missed out on a lot of the early 20s experiences because of awful yet seemingly trivial living situations that hurt me in lasting ways. When I looked for guidance nothing I found helped. So everything I wrote I came from painful trial and error. Your post could have been me 10 years ago when I could have gotten out early and built defenses relatively unwounded if I just knew these things so I had to. I hope my past helps your future so you can skip any painful learning on this on lesson save it for something that matters like family or career <3 – R K Jul 14 at 7:57

Don't say anything to them at all. Just let housing know explicitly that you don't want to be housed with them. If there's no place on the official form for this, make it a separate communication.

Why don't they like you? It could be anything from not showing emotion (unemotional people are one of the last discriminated-against groups left) to one of them telling the others lies about you.

If they want you to room with them again next year, it could be because they see you as an easy target to take advantage of. Don't try to salvage this situation, and don't try to explain anything. Just get out.

@TheRealLester had the basics of it, and your comment fills in the other half.

Talk to the university, make sure they know you don't want to be paired with them - from your comment it sounds like that takes care of the actual "get new roommates" side.

Then, you have a few options on how to handle your current roomies. If you're not particularly close to any of them, I'd suggest leaving it at "don't ask, don't tell". They'll find out when they show up in September and there's someone else there. There doesn't seem to be a pressing need to tell them beforehand.

Now, if they ask (either before year end or when they run into you on campus next year), you can leave it with "I made other arrangements". I wouldn't even blame you for a white lie of "Oh yeah, I sent it in/ yeah, campus musta screwed it up - but I'm already moved in, so I'll stay put".

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