Roommates 101

Monday, June 6, 2016

But above all, remember the number one rule of roommates is to take cute and grainy pictures together. Screenshot from Snapchat. Pester friends to send you the photos that were taken on the designated iPhone of the night. Be ruthless. Get those candids. OWN THEM. *flips hair*
Over the course of my three years in college, I've had eight roommates. I grew up with brothers and having my mother as the only other girl I've ever lived with. I didn't have a lot of sleepovers growing up and I just wasn't all that accustomed to living with other girls. It was a bit of adjustment my freshmen year of college when I moved into a suite with three complete strangers. I always thought that the people you meet and live with in college were going to become your best friends. I thought I had to be inseparable with the people I lived with, that we had to do all of these bonding activities together and live together for the following three years and then move together into a tiny apartment in New York and be the Best Friends Ever™. I'm going to say right now that none of this is true. None of it.

I didn't become best friends with my college roommates from freshmen year. I don't even speak to my college roommates from freshmen year. I took me until my junior year of college to find that group of girls who I would share a tiny shoebox of an apartment in New York City with if it came down to it. Living with people can be hard especially if you're not used to it. But if there's a will, there's a way. Living situations don't have to be awkward or uncomfortable in the slightest.

1. You do not have to be best friends with your roommates

I'm going to repeat this a dozen times. You. Do. Not. Have. To. Be. Best. Friends. With. Those. You. Live. With. You don't. You don't even have to be friends with them. The key is to make sure you get along. You don't have to share secrets or do everything together. You just need to be able to coexist if that's what it comes down to. Obviously, you can be best friends with them (I am now!) but during my first two years, I just made sure I could live with my roommates without going absolutely crazy. I feel like there's a lot of pressure to be super close with everyone you come in contact with in college and that is just absolutely not true. Being best friends and being able to live together are two entirely different things. Hell, some best friends might not even be able to live together. Best friend status does not automatically mean they'd be a perfect roommate and vice-versa.

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The number one ingredient in any sort of living arrangement needs to be respect. You need to respect each other's belongings, space, feelings, opinions, and entire beings. If there's no respect, everything will burst into flames and will become a total disaster. You need to have a mutual understanding and some level of mutual respect for each other in order for it to work out. Listen to each other, talk it out. Don't rely on passive-aggressiveness or silence to solve problems. Talk about it. Be respectful about it. You don't have to be fake-nice. You can show how you truly feel without getting nasty. It's possible, trust me.

3. Create some sort of rules or boundaries

In order to keep the peace in our apartment, we have certain boundaries. Like physical ones. We have separate cupboards, sections of the fridge and freezer, dedicated sinks and drawers in the bathroom, and obviously, separate rooms. It's not that we don't share. We do. We share everything, but we always ask. Keeping our things separate might just be an organizational thing for us, but let me tell you, it works. It helps us keep track of what we have and what we need. When it comes to boundaries, we have them, but they're fluid. We still live by the "what's mine is yours" mantra, but we also enforce a courtesy rule where we send out a quick text if we need to borrow something. None of us would ever say no (unless it was under an extreme circumstance and even then...we're best friends, anything goes) but it's just nice to give and receive permissions anyways. We have unwritten rules about cleanliness that should come naturally, anyways. Take out the trash if it's full, clean up after ourselves, don't leave dishes in the sink too long. It's simple, second nature things that we don't need to mention excessively because it's all common sense. But knowing that those are common knowledge acts is something to make clear if it doesn't seem to be.

Those are three simple things to incorporate into any living situation, especially at the college age. They should work universally. But sometimes you just aren't meant to live with certain people. I've been lucky that while I've had roommates I don't speak to anymore, I've never had a blowout fight. I know that sometimes there is just too much of a clash to even try to mend any sort of relationship. In those cases, you just have to either get through to the best of your ability. I hope that a majority of people haven't had to suffer through having a terrible roommate that was unbearable, but in the chance that you did, keep your chins up! You'll find the perfect roommate down the line!

Have you ever had roommate issues? How'd you deal with them?

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