Posted on June 03 2015
We have all gotten a kick out of seeing a friend deal with their once perfect roommate quickly morph into someone who knows exactly how to push every one of their buttons.The truth is, the only time it’s entertaining is when it isn’t happening to you.
Being a student, I’ve had my fair share of roommates. I’ve heard complaints from other friends upon moving in with strangers on how they wish they’d just lived alone from the get go. I couldn’t imagine my sweet angel roommates at the time doing anything to bother me... Well.. until this year when I was graced by the presence of the world’s biggest mooching sublet. Asking permission is one thing. But, thinking you’re the queen of England and using my coffee maker, coffee discs, makeup, face wash, detergent, toothpaste, borrowing clothes, all without my permission, and on top of that, not paying rent, taking 2-3 hours in the bathroom at a time, never cleaning the place EVER!!!! (sorry, rage), it gets to be a little exhausting and something NEEDS to give. Unluckily for me I have the worst temper sometimes when things grind my gears and I tend to lash out and unleash the f-bomb beast. BUT, knowing how much I suck at talking about things and knowing I don’t realize how much better I could have handled things and prevented them from happening again until much later, I’ve put together a little guide on how to talk to roommates about problems. We’ve all been there, we’ve all probably sucked at dealing with it, myself (majorly) included. Some people are shitty roommates. Keep in mind it doesn’t last forever. But since my lease isn’t up until August and we all need to learn to live together, everything needs to be out in the open. Which brings me to my first point:
BOUNDARIES: Setting boundaries immediately upon moving in is the best idea, especially when you’ve never met before. Letting the person(s) know what bothers you, what they can touch of yours, what food you share, letting them know your work/shower schedule/how long you will take, how loud or not so loud you like music to be, partying, general noise level, level of tidiness, etc, is essential to a healthy living environment. Passive aggressiveness is not the way to go. Letting him/her know right off the bat what you expect in terms of respect will go a long way in the long run and eliminate the majority of fights you may have. But, sometimes these rules can get broken. Which leads me to my second point.
- TALK IT OUT: Things will go awry, so again, PASSIVE AGRESSIVENESS IS NOT THE WAY TO GO. Talk it out with your roommate in the form of a dinner, or a nice couch chat with coffee. Do not go into their room in the middle of the night looking like a wildebeest (yes I have done this, don’t judge me) complaining that they annoy you deep into every fiber of your being. No matter HOW mad you are. Staying calm and explaining HOW you feel, WHY things bother you and WHAT you can do to fix the problem will not only give them insight into your feelings on whatever the situation may be, but also develop a closer relationship in terms of trust and friendship in being able to talk it out together.
- CONSIDERATION: Know that your roommate may not be your best friend and may not be 100% like you. You will have similarities and differences. Try to consider that they may be from a different city, culture or way of life. We all have routines and norms that we have developed in our own minds and so have they. Being considerate is key!
- COMPROMISE: Coming up with a compromised schedule that you can both work with is going to take such a weight off of your shoulders immediately. We all have different work and/or school schedules, so let your roommate know. If you both need to leave by 8am one morning for example, make it so you know person #1 will be showering at 6:30, and the other needs the bathroom by 7, or work out who will shower at night vs the morning. Makes things simple and efficient!
Oh, and of course if all else fails and you still can’t get along, move out. But if you’re the horrible roommate, don’t move in with me.