How to Live with Someone You Hate

Various situations in our lives can lead to us living with someone that we can’t stand. In most cases, it’s best to take yourself out of an unhealthy situation and move on, allowing yourself to take care of your own mental health first and foremost.

However, it’s not always possible to do this. Rules, family situations, and money can all play a factor in keeping us in our present living situations.

While you may not be able to find a way out at the moment, there are some strategies you can use to make living with someone you hate easier and more bearable. Read on to learn how to live with someone you hate.

Living Situations

There are several different living situations that you might be in the middle of right now, whether it’s someone you’re related to or not. It can be a challenge to make daily life liveable when you’re unhappy with your current roommate, but knowing the various strategies available for every unique setup can be a great help.


Hate might seem like a strong word to use when it comes to family members, but living with a sibling throughout our childhood and adolescent years can really make you feel like you hate your sibling.

Siblings naturally get on each other’s nerves – it’s just how they operate. They love to pick on each other and torture one another, and that can make sharing a room and living together super tricky.

Perhaps you share a room with your sibling, and they’re loud, messing, and never pitch in to keep the place looking nice. They might hog the TV remote, chew their food too loud, and blast their music while you’re trying to concentrate on something.

Despite how much you might hate living with them, you don’t really have any other choice. There’s no more room in the house, and what mom and dad say, goes.

If you’re struggling with living with a brother or a sister, you should try to work it out with them as best as you can. Try to have a sit-down with them to discuss some physical boundaries. For example, if they are continually taking your stuff without asking, let them know that it’s a physical boundary for them. You may be okay with sharing your things, but you just want them to ask first.

Some siblings are able to work things out by physically separating the room. This may not always be possible with the way your room is set up – you might have bunk beds that make it impossible to draw a line down the middle. But if your situation allows for it, marking which side belongs to who can be a helpful reminder.

If you’re dealing with a messy sibling, you can try to make a cleaning schedule that evenly splits up the responsibilities in the room. Perhaps one week, one sibling will be responsible for the trash and dishes while the other will handle the laundry and vacuuming.

Learning about mutual respect is what will make siblings most successful in sharing a space, even when they can’t stand each other. The best way to think about this is to consider how you want your sibling to treat you, and then do the same for them. It may be a bit of a process, but two teenage girls going through friend drama, heartbreak, and puberty can actually learn to get along with each other while living in the same room.

The heart of this issue is that family loves family, no matter what. You may want to strangle the sibling you’re stuck living with at times, but deep down, you would do anything for them. Make that the core of your living situation, and you’ll be just fine.

And remember – if you can’t work things out yourself, you still have your parents to turn to for some quality mediation and effective enforcement.

Other Family Members

Again, we recognize that family is family, and although we love them, living with them can sometimes be pretty tough. Even though there are family loyalties and natural love in the mix, not everyone has a close-knit family that gets along like an after school special. You may be living with someone who is simply unkind, unfair, and unwilling to work with you.

Dealing with difficult family members is the toughest of living situations because they are connected to you in a permanent, forever kind of way. There’s a certain obligation that comes with being a family that many of us feel, and so it becomes a topic of concern when we consider removing them from our lives.

But even with family, your mental health and happiness are still important. While some believe you should sacrifice everyone for blood, others can still note that you have to take care of yourself.

An important thing to remember is that you cannot fix someone else. Only the individual at hand is capable of making a change in their life, and the reality is that you pushing them will probably only make things worse for you.

Accepting this early on can help realign your expectations about a family member you are forced to live with.

Often times, when we have lived with a difficult family member for a long time, we start to notice triggers for them. Whether it’s one of your parents, a cousin, or an aunt, there is a good chance that their difficult personality is set off by certain topics of activities. Pay attention to these and learn to avoid them, which can steer you away from unnecessary conflict.

Try to understand that the way your family member acts or responds is not about you. When you’re in the midst of a challenging situation with a family member you live with, it can be hard not to take it personally. However, an angry person will often attack those around them, so remember that they are simply projecting, and you didn’t do anything wrong. There’s no need to feel guilty for something that has absolutely nothing to do with you.

If possible, try to talk to someone of authority in the household about the living situation. If things are only getting worse and are becoming a detriment to your well-being, then it’s time to take some action. Perhaps you can talk to your mom about a distant cousin or a nasty uncle who has moved in. Chances are, your parents will be more concerned about you than them.

Finally, stay focused on your personal goals and don’t let living with someone who can’t stand – even a family member – get in the way of your moving on. A new job, a marriage, or college can be your ticket out and your way of starting a new life for yourself.

School Roommate

Whether it’s a boarding school or college, we have all heard our fair share of horrible roommate stories. While you can often choose your roommate before your freshman year, if you know someone going to the same school, many of us are not that lucky and get randomly paired with a complete stranger.

The situation is already difficult and awkward: two people are meeting for the first time via small living quarters where everything is shared, and there’s very little privacy. Add to that the fact that everyone is probably a little nervous about being away from home and on their own for the first time with a brand new group of people, and you’ve got yourself a nerve-wracking situation.

Once you get past the awkward phase of meeting and getting to know one another and their routines, living with your college roommate usually isn’t too bad. In fact, some college roommates end up being lifelong best friends.

On the other hand, some students end up living with someone they hate, and it can cause a lot of conflict and stress. But what can you do about it?

Well, many campuses do give students the option of switching roommates. Every university is different, but in most cases, you can submit a request, and if there is an available room or another student willing to switch, it’s possible.

In circumstances where switching rooms is not an option, things can become even more difficult.

Horrible roommates come in all shapes and sizes. You might be stuck with someone who is extremely messy to the point of disgusting. On the flip side, your roommate might be a clean freak who drives you insane with constant vacuuming, dusting, and yelling at you for one pair of pants on the floor.

Some individuals are simply rude and spoiled. They may have had their own room their whole lives and just don’t know how to share a space very well. Others are loud and obnoxious, always inviting friends over, waking you up when they get ready in the morning, and blasting music while you’re trying to study.

Bullies exist, too, even in college. A mean, aggressive roommate can make you nervous, stressed, and cause you to dread going back to your room every day.

If you can’t switch rooms, you can try asking your dorm advisor for some mediation. While we don’t always want to listen to one another in a heated situation, a mediator can call for peace and guide a helpful conversation. They can also just be aware of the situation and keep an eye on you and your roommate.

Also, remember that you don’t have to be friends with your roommate. You may have had an image of late-night conversations, movie nights, and bonding over gossip with your new roommate, but be aware that it just might not happen, and that’s okay. You can be just roommates and live in peace as adults.

If you have a difficult roommate, you probably don’t want to spend much time in your room with them. This is the greatest opportunity to get involved with your campus. Use your horrible roommate as an excuse to stay busy. Join a club or a team and go to as many campus events as you can. Not only will it keep you far from your room, but you will have the opportunity to meet tons of new people and friends to hang out with.

Who knows, maybe one of these new friends will turn out to be the perfect roommate to snag for next year.

Try not to share anything in the room. Lots of roommates will get in contact with one another before move-in to split up items like a refrigerator, a TV, and a microwave. Among these things can also be gaming systems, towels, cleaning supplies, and food. If you have a horrible roommate who is unreliable, try to share as little as possible, so neither of you has to worry about the conflict.

Finally, try just being nice. Nothing makes living with someone you hate worse than constant rude banter and unnecessary conflict. You have certainly heard the popular phrase: kill them with kindness. It’s true: don’t stir the pot. Be cordial and polite. Respect their space and their wishes. Don’t do things to make them mad intentionally. Don’t even retaliate if they do it first.

Best case, your kindness will catch on, and they will improve their behavior. Worst case, they don’t notice – but at least you can say you were the better person.

Adult Roommate

Living as an adult with a roommate is similar to living with a college roommate, but there are some major differences that will certainly play a role in your situation.

The biggest difference is paying rent. While you absolutely pay a fee for living on campus in a dorm, that is a price that is settled between you and the university before you can even move on campus. If you don’t pay for your dorm along with your tuition, you can’t live there; it’s that simple.

When you live in a real apartment with a roommate, there’s a rent payment to take care of. Your landlord doesn’t care where the money comes – he just knows that you either pay, or you get evicted. Therefore, it’s crucial that you and your roommate have a strong understanding when it comes to paying rent on time and paying for your half.

When you live in an apartment as an adult, there are other things to consider. You have to buy groceries, cook meals, clean, share a bathroom, and buy furniture and appliances. You also have to take out the trash on the right days, wash dishes, and pay any other bills that you have like cable, internet, and utilities.

All of these are things that you and your roommate have to take care of together, leaving you with a big stake in this living situation.

Whether you chose to live with a friend you already knew or found a new roommate online, you have now come to the realization that you hate them as a roommate.

One automatic solution would be to move out, but the chances are that if you have a roommate, it’s because you can’t afford to live on your own. There’s also the option of searching for another roommate, but it might take time to do so, and you’ve probably signed into your current lease until a certain date.

That leaves you with one more option: learn how to live with someone you hate.

A proactive step for anyone who is about to move in with a roommate is to make a roommate contract. You should sit down with your roommate and come up with a list of agreements and rules that each of you comes up with.

Carving out time for this will be worth it because you can set some ground rules about cleaning, shopping, sharing, guests, and other things. You can also determine how you are going to handle paying the rent along with splitting other bills.

This is also a great time to get to know your roommate’s preferences a little more. Maybe you’re an early riser, and she is a late sleeper. Knowing this can help you avoid potential conflict by letting you know you can’t blast loud music while you get ready in the morning.

Discuss your expectations, your schedules, and your habits. You may not like each other, but you can still respect one another and live your lives as mature adults.

Learn to be comfortable with open and honest communication. Most of us can feel pretty awkward when it comes to conflict. Don’t let those uncomfortable feelings prevent you from discussing important things.

Stay busy. This one will probably be the most difficult for a homebody, but staying busy and active means less time in a small space with someone you don’t like. Try to get out of the apartment. Fill your social calendar with events, brunches, and dinner dates. Spend time with your family and check out local things going on in your community. Join a gym, sign up for a class, and find a new hobby.

Finally, learn to let the little things go. Small bad habits like leaving the toothpaste cap off aren’t going to hurt anyone. It might annoy you, but you can live with it. By letting the little things go, there will be less conflict and less pressure on both you and your roommate.


This last one might be the trickiest of all, as it involves a relationship that was once surrounded with love and happiness and commitment. Hate can be a strong word within a marriage, but it’s true that many marital relationships fall from grace to a place where two people find themselves resenting each other more than they do loving one another.

Of course, any kind of abusive relationship is one that requires immediate attention and help, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.

Even unions with the best of intentions can slowly but surely dissipate and turn into negative feelings of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and mutual loathing.

In what might feel like a dead-end marriage, sometimes we as a race think that divorce is the only option. While it definitely is an option, it’s not one that we take readily. Many couples take several steps to avoid divorce, as it can be costly, painful, and leave lifelong emotional wounds on what was supposed to be a lifelong commitment.

The first way to handle living with a spouse that you feel hatred or resentment towards is to accept your situation as it is. In a romantic relationship like marriage, it’s easy for us to romanticize things and paint them to be better than they are. It’s also very easy for us to place unrealistic expectations on our spouses, which leads to our ultimate disappointment.

When you look at your situation for what it really is rather than the fairytale you’d hoped it would be, you can better deal with it and maybe even make it better.

For whatever reason, you have decided not to get divorced and have focused on making your situation livable. How do we do that?

After taking a realistic look at where your situation is, you should also be realistic about what you can do. You cannot change your partner; only he or she is capable of making a change. But you can change yourself.

It would be easy for us to think that all of the negative is the other person’s fault, but it takes two. Rather than focusing on what the other person is doing or not doing to make you resent them, try to hone in on what you’ve been doing and what you can do to make things easier and avoid conflict.

This might look like chipping in more with household chores, being more attentive to your partner’s needs, or simply respecting the things that they like or want. Like any other living situation, you don’t have to like the other person to respect them.

A little bit of kindness goes a long way. Try to remember what it was like early on in your relationship. At one point, you loved each other enough to get married and start a life together. Though that may seem distant now, it was there and might still be there somewhere.

Think of all of the things you used to love to do together and try doing them again. Dig deep to recall specific things that your partner likes – an event, a sport, a food, even a color, and do something special.

You may not have happy and joyous feelings towards them or even want to do something nice, but it only takes one of you making a move to spark something positive.

Focus on loving yourself first, along with any children that might be in the picture. Keep in mind that loving you and your family is more important than hating your spouse.

And finally, count the good stuff. When we’re in a tough relationship situation – especially one that involves living together – it can be easy to keep a list of all the bad or inconsiderate things your spouse has done. But when you focus on the good, you may come to find a change in perspective, leading to a change in attitude, and ultimately leading to a change in actions.

General Advice

Regardless of the exact details of your living situation, they all have one thing in common: you are unhappy with your roommate. And because of that similarity, there are some general tips we can apply to each unique one.

Always have a clear plan and rehearse it consistently in your head. Whether your plan is to have a sit-down and talk things out or to go on your merry way with a more positive attitude, you need to know what you want to do and how you are going to carry it out. Also, keep in mind how long you want to keep this plan in place before making adjustments.

Secondly, always take care of yourself first. When you live with someone you hate, it can be easy to get stressed out, take on a lot of negativity, and feel overwhelmed. You need to make sure that your mental health takes priority over your hatred for someone else. Do not let them rule over you; rather, focus on you: your goals, your needs, and your self-care.

This might look like staying away from the house, room, or apartment more often, or it might look like taking a mini-vacation or grabbing a hot bubble bath. Whatever it is, do what it takes to keep your spirits high.

Finally, set your boundaries and stick to them. Make your boundaries perfectly clear to the person with whom you are living. If they don’t know your boundaries, you can’t be upset when they push past them. Stand firm in what you’re willing to allow and what you’re willing to let slide, and don’t let someone else bully you into giving up your personal boundaries.

Living with someone you hate can be super difficult, but there are ways to live your life despite your unhappy living situation.

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