Whether you’re the best of friends or total enemies, you’re bound to encounter some rocky waters in the stream that is roommates.
Sure, you may have a sister and two brothers back home, but you’ll soon come to find that living with a stranger or a friend is nothing like living with a family member with whom you’ve shared your entire life.
Suddenly, waiting for the bathroom in the morning seems longer, the pile of dishes in the sink seems larger and seeing someone on the couch every time you come home gets on your nerves just a bit more. Yes, living with another person, let alone several other people, is never easy.
Side note: College students sometimes have it even worse. The majority of college dorms house at least six people — we’re talking six other people's personalities, six other people's stuff around the dorm and six other people's living habits.
Sounds like a mess, right? But not to worry, there ARE ways to combat the struggle that is roommate life.
Master the art of compromise.
Just as in any relationship you encounter in life, whether it be friendships, dating or marriage, COMPROMISE IS KEY.
Once you learn that you don’t need the entire top shelf in the fridge or all that cabinet space in the bathroom, you’ll soon realize that your pride may be complicating your situation more than your roommate actually is.
Divide the housework.
Instead of complaining about your roommates' cleaning habits behind their backs, confront them head-on with a solution.
If writing out a detailed cleaning schedule isn’t your thing, sit down with your roommate(s) and decide who wants to clean what each week and go from there. This way, everything gets clean and you'll have a bit more peace of mind.
Address any issues you’re having with them face to face.
There’s nothing worse than an awkward living situation, avoiding one another any chance you get or walking on egg shells throughout your apartment.
Instead of keeping everything bottled up or going to an outside party to vent your frustrations, head straight to the source. Hashing things out face to face will be much more effective in the long-run because you’ve already come up with a solution from the start.
Learn that sharing really is caring.
First, let’s get something straight: I don’t mean sharing your clothes or food. Rather, the type of sharing I’m talking about has to do with responsibilities.
Sharing responsibilities around your place, whether it be cleaning, buying supplies (toilet paper, dishwasher soap, etc.) or taking out the trash is a super crucial part of living with another person.
When you learn that each of you must contribute a significant amount or work, the entire mood of the living place will be more pleasant. Don’t be the overachiever and don’t be the slacker; find a nice medium so you can all live happily ever after.
Respect each other’s space.
This just may be the most important tip of all. If you’ve lived with siblings, you probably understand what I mean when I say this. Space is important in any living situation — spouses, siblings and roommates included.
Set boundaries with your roommate(s) as to what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to spatial boundaries.
For example, some roommates may be completely okay with you coming into their rooms without warning, while others prefer a knock first. Respect their space and assert the right to your space.
Speaking frankly about these details before you start getting on each other’s nerves will lead to a much happier roommate-ship.
So, remember: Just because your roommate isn't your best friend doesn't necessarily mean he or she has to be your worst enemy.