“Clean up your mess.” “Do the dishes.” “Can you take me to the store?”
College presents students with this stereotypical idea that you are guaranteed to make friends with your roommates. It’s typical to go into the situation that you are new to school and new to each other, so you are going to lean on one another to get through the harder times. What they don’t tell you is that you won’t always get along, or be able to help each other out.
I was stuck in a situation with my roommates where I felt I couldn’t be honest and be open about issues. You feel like you can’t say no to requests for rides, food or anything else, because after all that’s your roommate and maybe your friend.
Here are some tips to getting along with your roommate:
Having honest communication and being open during conversations is beneficial for roommates to establish a comfortable environment to be able to listen to each other’s concerns and express your own. Checking in is a good way to address smaller issues before they turn into larger ones.
Get your roommates together to discuss expectations you want everyone to follow. This could include chores like cleaning up after yourself, respecting personal spaces and having study hours. This is something everyone needs to agree on and stick to.
Respect Personal Space
It’s important to be mindful of your roommate’s personal space and respect their privacy. If you aren’t sharing a room, make sure you knock if you need them or be aware of when it’s acceptable to enter their room.
It’s very frustrating when you have to clean up after your roommate or if you are the only one putting in effort to keep all the spaces clean. Everyone has different standards on what is considered “clean.” This is a great time to create a cleaning schedule or assign a specific chore that each roommate is responsible for. If everyone is on the same page with a cleaning schedule, there should be no issues and you don’t have to worry about picking up the slack. It could also be good to establish that everyone cleans up their mess.
A common issue arises when someone is trying to sleep and another roommate is being loud. Be mindful of noise levels so you don’t have to ask them to turn their music or the TV down. Having people over is great, but make sure they are mindful of others staying there too.
Sharing Common Areas
You will all be sharing the common area, and you should respect who needs it and when. Everyone should keep these areas clean and organized, and everyone should feel comfortable using these areas.
When issues arise, each roommate needs to be open to alternative solutions and work together to come to an understanding. Put your wants aside, be open to hearing other solutions and don’t point fingers. Be respectful of other’s ideas and their needs.
While friendship may or may not naturally develop, mutual respect and consideration are vital. Remember, it’s perfectly OK to say no when necessary. You might be the only one who can drive, and if that’s the case, you’ll be asked to take your roommates to the store, the mall or even to go get food. You don’t have to say yes just because they’re your roommates. By adhering to these principles, you create a balanced and positive living environment for all parties involved.
Photo courtesy of apartmentguide.com.