Guest Author - Dominique Jordan
If you’re in college, chances are that you’ve had to share a dorm room or an apartment with at least one other person. As a college student myself, I have had my fair share of stories that are told to me about the joys and horrors about having a roommate. Countless people come up to me and tell me about their experiences with their roommate(s). Many of the stories I hear are pretty interesting. The worst story I’ve ever heard was from a friend who told me that they decided to change roommates simply because the person they were living with liked to walk around the apartment barefoot. I asked him whether or not that was the only reason he decided to move away from his roommate. My friend simply responded, “He had a terrible foot odor that filled the room whenever he’d walk in.” Sometimes having a roommate can be pretty tricky. But by following the steps below, you can instantly turn your roommate problems into valuable solutions.
1.) Make sure that you establish the rules before you move in together. Direct communication is essential to success. It is of the utmost importance that you and your roommate establish rules so that there will be some sort of stability within your living area. Tell them that it is important to you that you both share a mutual respect for one another. Making rules about things such as cleanliness, food, and personal space is a fantastic place to begin. If you don’t want them to be a complete slob and leave dirty dishes in the sink, it would be a great idea to tell them that. If you want them to respect you as a human being and recognize your feelings, it would be great to mention that as well. Since you are going to be living with this person, it is absolutely necessary that you both have at least a little bit of consideration for one another.
2.) Breathe. Taking the time to gather your thoughts and feelings about a particular issue at hand is essential to finding a solution to a problematic roommate. Making sure you find the time to discover a reasonable solution in a calm and rational manner is very effective, not to mention a lot smarter. Sometimes, people can get the absolute best of you. You must not let this happen. Things in life will happen to you that are beyond your control. This is an inevitable fact of life. But, the trick to overcoming these obstacles will save you a lot of trouble. If you’ve ever heard of the old method of counting to ten, then you should know that this concept is very effective. By doing this, you’ll realize that the best solutions are often found by just slowing down and taking the time to examine the problem at hand before doing anything irrational.
3.) Listen to their perspective without being judgmental. By adopting an attitude that is completely void of any judgment whatsoever and allowing the person to fully explain themselves when describing their side of the story, you will find out that there really are two sides to every story. When you are listening to the other person’s side of the argument, you are opening a gateway towards a mutual understanding between you and the other person.
4.) Move out if it is just too much. If you and your roommate simply do not get along in your apartment or dorm room, then it is a clear sign that both you and your roommate must go your separate ways. At that point, you’ve both done everything you can do to make it work. It is much better now to just find a roommate whose attitude towards cohabitation is similar to yours, and who shares your own personal beliefs and ideas. Also, it’s important to realize that you should not be discouraged. Another roommate, possibly an even better one, will come along.
In conclusion, if you and your roommate end up working things out, use the time that follows to your advantage. Spend some quality time with this person. Get to know them and develop a genuine interest in every aspect of their life. After all, you share a living space with them and roommates can turn out to be excellent, lifelong friends.