My roommate constantly turns the lights off

My roommate is a close friend of mine, and just about anytime he is in our dorm room, (which is basically the entire day) he turns every single light source off. Closes our blinds and turns off any lamps or overhead lights. The only thing he will turn on are small colored lights that barely light up the room. I’m not talking about at night, I mean anytime from 10am-midnight. What’s annoying is if I turn them back on, the next time he gets up he turns them back off. If I ask him to turn them on, he straight up says no and gets pissed off projecting insults at me. He doesn’t ever ask if it’s alright with me to turn them off, he just does. One time he even asked, in a very judging tone, why I would want the lights on (during the day). I make a lot of effort to accommodate him and his lazy lifestyle, but he does nothing for me (it’s not just the lights, but I don’t need to go on about the rest). What can I do about this, because I’m seriously considering trying to get a new roommate. I’ve known him since elementary school, but I can not stand living with him.

Don’t just seriously consider getting a new roommate- go to your RA, explain that you guys cannot find common ground on lighting and when you’ve tried talking he insults you.

Time to move out. Knowing someone since elementary school is kind of irrelevant if he insults you when you are trying to live in your own space.


Get some lamps on your side of the room and tell him to leave them alone. He can have his side in darkness and you can have light on your side.


There are bigger problems here than lights. Sounds as though there may be resentment stemming from somewhere.

I think you and the roommate should meet with the RA. Explain the issue and come up with a compromise, using the RA as a mediator. Frankly, you are being reasonable to want lights on in the winter, unless it’s very bright and sunny all the time in your room.

You should also just ask your roommate why he is antagonistic when you ask to keep the lights on. Especially if you’re doing homework. As always, there are two sides to this story. Consider if there is something you could also do to make the situation better.


Thank you for your input. You’re definitely right with there being some resentment. He’s always had some jealousy issues with me specifically and I think he enjoys some feeling of control over me (complete guess obviously I can’t read his mind). I was also slightly worried because his lifestyle is very reminiscent of mine when I was severely depressed in high school for a few months (eating junk food all day, staying in bed all day, not sleeping well, etc.) I thought it would maybe fade away once he gets settled into college, but the longer we get into the year the more I’m convinced that’s just how he lives, because he seems fine whenever he’s around anyone else.

People tend to save their worst behavior for those with whom they feel comfortable. Clearly, he’s totally comfortable with you. And I agree, he is probably depressed. Go to the RA, ask to be moved to another room. Explain that you are also concerned about his well-being, but that you cannot live in the dark, and that you are letting the RA know that in addition to this being a roommate issue, it’s probably a mental health issue for him, and that he needs someone to check in on him. From what you describe, it sounds as if he has stopped going to classes. BTW, are your parents friends with his parents? If this were happening with my son, I would want to know about it. If you guys have been friends since elementary school, I bet your parents know each other, and if you say something to your parent, they would probably let his parent know he’s having problems.

Meanwhile, get a couple of gooseneck directional lamps for your side of the room, directed onto your desk, and towards your bed. When you are in the room, and it’s not sleeping time, use them as you see fit. If he turns them off, tell him in no uncertain terms that you need the light on to read and study and see. Tell him that you find having the blinds closed during the day depressing, and that you want them open during the day. If he starts insulting you, tell him to cut it out, and if he continues, go back to the RA and tell him to expedite the move. You should not have to live with abuse.


This is very common among depressed people. It doesn’t mean he isn’t depressed. Depression is easy to hide. These celebrities are a good illustration of that. 22 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About Their Depression

At any rate, I suggest you talk to your roommate. Can you ask him if he wants to talk? Is it possible you are being a bit insensitive to him? If you know his family well, maybe let a parent know that he seems to be struggling.


It’s probably my biggest fear about studying in college — having such neighbors as you described.

Oh, my God, this situation is so familiar.

My roommate and I, my friend, are renting an apartment, and there was constant conflict between us about turning off the lights. If I hadn’t stopped arguing and stuff, we would be fighting every day. I came up with the idea to get an alternative, like smart strip lights. The thing is that this lighting fixture has a certain set of LEDs, sensors, controllers, and control systems. It can be controlled by remote control or a smartphone. There are models for which the signal comes from a smartwatch or a fitness bracelet. And most importantly, it has a nice light and will please anyone, which is exactly what happened to my neighbor.

i got smart strip lights from there

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