Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Ivy helps a student whose roommate keeps eating their food


Dear Ivy,

First and foremost, I really love reading your column. It’s really amazing that you are so willing to hear problems from everyone and offer sound advice.

This is part of the reason why I am writing you today—I have a bit of a problem at my hands. You see, I get along with my roommate, but lately she has been taking advantage of what it truly means to be a “roommate.”

I had my birthday a couple of days ago, and my friend bought me a dozen cupcakes from a nice bakery. I had no room on my desk so I kindly asked my roommate if it was okay to place them on her desk until I can clear the fridge.

I come back from my on-campus job the following day and find that she had eaten them all. It had upset me a bit, and I just told her, “Make sure to ask me next time.” Now a few days have passed and I have noticed some of my food has gone missing. It’s not that I don’t want to share my food, it’s the fact I wish she would ask me first.

I feel frustrated and I don’t know what to do. Do you have any advice that could help me?


Cupcake Fan


Dear Cupcake Fan,

I’m glad you enjoy reading this column. The hope for Dear Ivy is to make life here at Mason as easy and as smooth as possible. Questions like yours are the best way to make that happen.

Now, on to your roommate issues. Right off the bat, the best thing to suggest is to find a time where you are available and have a face-to-face conversation about this situation. Communication is key. It’s best to nip it in the bud before it escalates into something larger.

The resources tab on Mason’s housing and residence life website has tips for conflict mediation between roommates, including how to make the best environment to have the conversation.

It also may be useful to go over your roommate agreement you both participated in at the start of the school year. Tell her how eating your food without asking makes you feel, and how you are willing to share food as long as she gets permission first. Be ready to make a compromise on this. A fair amount of people attending college may not have had to share a room with another person and will have a harder time changing their habits.

Best case scenario, it could be as simple as labelling food in the fridge. Maybe after a long day she grabbed whatever was closest without looking at whose it might be. However, the first step in solving this as soon as possible is communication.

Worst case scenario, if it happens to escalate even after sitting down and attempting to talk through this, you may have to move to a more nuclear option: the RA. All RA’s have been thoroughly trained in roommate mediation, and most have probably either been in your shoes or dealt with students in your shoes before. They have the experience and training to find the best outcome for the both of you.

It is very normal to have conflicts with your roommate, as you are two different people coming from different backgrounds. Most times, you cannot help having a disagreement on one thing or another. What you can help is how you handle it. Catching it early and treating it maturely is the best thing you will be able to do. I know you two will be able to work it out in the end.