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I live in a dormitory in Russia with two more roommates. One of them is a nice person so we can take him out of the question. The other one is a problem, though.

He moved in last September when the previous roommate moved out. For a couple of months everything was fine - he was an ok person, cleaned our common room and so on. Later, I started to notice I have several issues with him, first and foremost is him vaping in our room. I told him that I don't like him vaping in the room but he always answers in such a manner that I feel myself dumb but cannot object properly. In addition, he stopped cleaning the room and it makes me uncomfortable because I want to live in a clean environment. Furthermore, we have only one normal-size desk in our room and it's the only workspace that I can use because I don't have a smaller-size desks (like my roommates) provided by dormitory. And today we had an argument about opening a window at night: his place is near the window and mine a little bit further and when it gets too hot at night and I try to open the window he closes it back arguing that it's winter and it's too cold for him (though he sleeps without much clothing and under a thin blanket).

As I already mentioned, I tried to talk to him without much success but maybe I'm doing something wrong. I still have one leverage - vaping and some other stuff are prohibited by dormitory rules so if I cannot get anything from him I can inform the head of dormitory about this and he will probably have to move out though I hope it won't get up to this point.

So ultimately my question is how to make my roommate to adjust his behavior? I just want to lead a comfortable life and I don't want to feel like a pushover.

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    Could you clarify the issue with the desk? Do you have to share time on it or something? – Stringers Jan 25 at 1:27
  • @Stringers Sorry for the delayed answer. Yes, we have to share time because the desk is the most comfortable flat thing in the room and is suited perfectly for laptop use. So we can't use it simultaneously – Unencrypted Feb 13 at 6:26
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Your goal is to get your roommate to "change his behaviour", and I guess you are referring to the behaviours you don't like such as vaping in the house. Just to be clear, the behaviour that needs to change isn't the vaping itself but his attitude and his lack of respect towards you. You probably wouldn't have much success persuading him to give up an addictive habit, and I don't think that is your intention, but my point is that you need to make his inexcusable behaviours the point of anything you say to him, otherwise he will just continue to make excuses.

You wrote:

"I told him that I don't like him vaping in the room but he always answers in such a manner that I feel myself dumb but cannot object properly."

You don't detail what was said but I don't see how anybody could intelligently object to someone saying "I don't want you to do this". I can only imagine that you gave him something he could argue against.

For example, if you make it opinion-based or even factual he can counter what you say with his own opinion or a different view of the facts, for example:

-"I don't think you should be vaping"
-"Why not? It's safer than smoking"
-"I don't want to breathe in your vapour"
-"It's only water vapour, it can't harm you"

Instead, state your expectations in a way that he cannot argue with:

-"I don't want you to vape in this room anymore"
-"Why not? It's safe than smoking"
-"It has nothing to do with how safe it is. This is my personal preference and it is also against the dormitory rules."

If he continues to argue or continues to do it, follow up with:

"I'm disappointed that you haven't respected my request. I had hoped you'd show some consideration for the people you live with. Do I have to report this breach of the dormitory rules?"

Don't allow him room to argue and be prepared to follow through on the threat of reporting him.

I understand that vaping isn't the only behaviour you have encountered but I have used this as an example. The same approach should work with challenging any similar behaviour.

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