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On Surviving Your Roommates

After four years, one dorm room, one apartment, and two houses, I’ve had my fair share of roommate experiences. Over those four years I’ve had a total of 11 roommates (both of my houses were five-bedroom houses).  Although several people told me that you don’t really know someone until you live with them, I couldn’t quite understand how true the phrase was until I experienced it first-hand.

Eventually, your roommate’s boyfriend will come over, eat ramen from your favorite bowl, and you will want to dump its contents on him. You will learn very quickly that dishes in your apartment will be used by others at some point. It just happens when living in close quarters with someone. You can either talk to your roommate and set boundaries or say nothing until you are so frustrated you explode and are labeled the uptight roommate.

Talk to your roommate about sharing things. Some items are off-limits; like food. I’ve never heard of roommates sharing food work out well. Talk about what you are and are not okay with and make sure that the person who used the dish is the person who cleans it, regardless of ownership.

Your roommate will have people over to play beer pong and blare Jay-Z on a night you have to study. You will be annoyed with your roommate for being loud and not having to wake up at 8 a.m. the next morning like you do. You will also be mad you are unable to join. Try and set ground rules before situations like this happen, because if you don’t, you’ll have to put up with the noise while you study in your room or leave for a quieter place like the library or student union.

Your roommate will have different friends than you. Your roommate will meet friends in class and will make friends at work, bonding over things you have no idea about. This is a good thing; you live, sleep, shower and eat in the same air as your roommate; give them space to make separate friends so you don’t get annoyed with one another.

Your roommate will be both someone you like and someone you dislike at times. The bottom line is you have to learn how to communicate with your roommate. Instead of being mad you are the only one who does the dishes and cleans your place, ask your roommate to help or take turns cleaning with you.

Like it or not, you signed a lease and are living together for the rest of the year. Make the best of it and try to be patient. Talk to your roommate and, if need be, vent to your parents, siblings or other friends; because chances are, your roommate is doing the exact same thing.