Tips for Being A Good Roommate
Look, when I first became a real roommate to someone my freshman year, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t read how to be a good roommate. I learned a lot of lessons along the way, but we’re still very good friends, so I can’t imagine I was that bad of a person to cohabitate with.
That being said, in three other years in college, and even some living situations since graduating—I know there are things I could work on, and I also know there are things that irk the hell out of me from my roommates.
Humans will always hit riffs as we live amongst others—but if you can handle the situation well and grow from it, the relationship can get stronger. And if not, well—let’s hope you didn’t sign a lease with them for next year. Below are some essential tips to being a good roommate and great person to live with.
This is something most people excel at when they initially move in, but slowly stop giving a fuck about—usually after they feel their roommate has wronged them. (See the last rule to deal with this.) If you can be consistent with not slamming the door when you leave, not having your trash slowly creep over to their side, and not hog all the amenities all the time for the whole year: congrats! You are probably a wonderful person to live with. Essentially this is just following the golden rule: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Sometimes, this means doing simple things like sharing an extra snack, or taking the initiative to invite them out to a party or event. It also means trying to be quiet when coming home late, or making an effort to get them water and a trash can if they’ve had abit too much to drink.
Be Careful Where & To Whom You Talk S**t
Let’s be honest though, you’re going to find things your roommate does irksome. Do they talk loudly on the phone two feet away from you every day at 4 PM to tell their mom updates that are benign and boring? Do you have an ant problem because they’ve never learned to close a bag of chips? Did they actually wrong you by sleeping with your boyfriend (eek! This seems like a bigger deal.) Either way, if you need to vent out the small stuff—that’s fine. But I’d recommend doing it far from the dorms, and probably to no one who runs in your immediate circle and acts as a mutual friend to you both. Friends in college can be fickle if they’re not you’re closest people. Maybe take a walk across campus and call your best friend from home (it’s ok if that’s your mom too) and let it out. Just make sure you didn’t like, walk to your roommate’s 5 PM film class and stand outside broadcasting loudly.
A lot of the above problems mentioned can be resolved by doing the one thing that makes humans so unique, and able to live with each other. Talk! Sure, you might feel some habits or character traits are too small to try and get your roommate to change (i.e. they will never make their bed while you have all your throw pillows perfectly aligned), but if there’s something that truly bothers you, tell them. They will never know you are affected because you didn’t get randomly paired with the Class of 2022’s only psychic. It’s also better to address these things calmly when they first arise, because if you let your irritation fester, and the bad habit continues, you’ll find yourself irrationally blowing up to a roommate who is frustrated you’ve changed your attitude because you kept silent.
Little tiffs will always arise, but roommates who can mend the metaphorical crack in desk—and also the physical damage to get your whole security deposit back—will turn into friends, or at least people you respect, in the long run.