Nana: Riled-up roommate

Nana is back with her biweekly instalment of ‘Ask Nana.’ If you’d like Nana to tackle your problems, send her an email at All submissions remain anonymous (to everyone but Nana). 

Hi Nana,
I’ve got a dilemma with one of my roommates that’s led to me planning to move out. I’m looking for a bit of guidance around who’s in the right, and if I’m not I’d like to know so I can act better in the future.
Long story not that short my roommate and I agreed on a temperature for the house at night last fall. We abided by that temperature, with me messing up a few times and leaving it too hot before I went to sleep (maybe she messed up too, I just didn’t care enough to remember). Then this morning I woke up to a message from my roommate about how I left the heat too high again (I was sick and cold so I turned it up and then fell asleep) and that she was mad and wants me to move out in May after school ends. Totally fine with that, and I’ll do it for sure — don’t want to live with someone who doesn’t want to live with me. Just wondering how to proceed from here and if I’m correct to think that this is a bit weird and an overreaction.
Thanks very much!
Sick and Cold

Dear Sick and Cold,
I hesitate to take sides here, because it seems to me there must be more elements at play in your roommate’s decision than just the temperature. That’s not to say that you’re at fault, but I can’t imagine someone reacting so strongly just to the temperature of the house, especially since the temperature (in my opinion) should be adjusted to the weather outside.
If you are concerned about repairing this relationship it could be worthwhile to sit down and have a conversation with your roommate about what went wrong. This is especially true as you still have to live in that house until May. Try to keep an open mind. While you may feel as though you are being blamed for something small, remember that everyone needs something different to feel comfortable in their home. You and your roommate may just be incompatible in those needs. Although you might feel as though you are in the right here, I would apologize, if only to diffuse the situation.
Here’s an article on roommate conflict resolution from Ohio State University that may help you navigate this situation. Although many of these techniques would have been great to use before this all came to head, they’ll be good to keep in mind as you enter into the conversation, and as you move forward into the last three months of your lease to avoid further conflict.
Either way, it was good of you to agree to move out. You’re right in saying that you shouldn’t live with someone who doesn’t want to live with you. That can only lead to more conflict. I hope you have better luck with your next housing situation, and remember, just because you didn’t work as roommates doesn’t mean you don’t work as friends.
Happy house hunting!

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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