Roommate Wars…Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Have you had enough of your roommate already? What happened to the reasonable person you selected as a roommate? Why have they been replaced by an insane, inconsiderate psycho? Don’t people have any respect for others anymore? Didn’t their mother raise them right? What is wrong with these people????? As you probably know, having a roommate can be exceptionally challenging.
Why does this sound like common sense, but it is so difficult to honor? I don’t think anyone sets out to intentionally irritate their roommate, but I do believe the relationship can devolve to the point that angering your roommate can become a sport. Roommates see you at your best and worst and know many of your secrets. They know what sets you off and how they can grind on you to the point you snap. But, you also know their sweet spot, too.
Respect is a two-way street. You need to show it to get it. Always taking a long shower and using all of the hot water is not respectful. You can absolutely expect a payback if you pull this stunt more than once. Same thing with never taking a turn at cleaning up the kitchen. If you expect your roommate to always be the adult and clean up after you, you better take cover ‘cuz that big ol’ rubber band of karma is going to get pulled back and snapped right in your face one day. Trust me on this one! No one, I mean no one wants to feel like they are being used. Not your significant other and not your roommate. Understood?
Hold up your end of the agreement.
If you and your roommate have divvied up expenses, be sure to honor the agreement. Your roommate doesn’t really care if you are short on money this month. You need to solve the problem and cover your obligations. Two days before the electric bill is due, do you want your roommate to approach you with big puppy dog eyes and a tale of woe and tell you they can’t cover their portion of the bill? No. Don’t do it to your flat mate, either.
Friends and overnight guests.
To keep the border skirmish to a minimum, there needs to be a clear understanding about how many friends hangin’ out at your pad exceeds the comfort maximum. This will be different for just about everyone. If you really don’t want people coming over invading your precious space (I get it: I fall into this camp), then you need to be perfectly clear with your roommate about what you can and more importantly, cannot tolerate. Understand, however, that your roommate gets a vote as this is their home, as well.
Now is a time for negotiation: if your roommate’s idea of acceptable is having several friends drop in at all hours and yours is a no fly zone, there will be conflict. You will need to agree to some middle territory that you both can accommodate and respect. This will only work if you can honor each other’s need for privacy and/or socializing.
Work it out.
You and your roommate may get along just fine, and if that’s the case, hurray for you! However, there may come a time when you find yourself irritated by nearly everything he/she does. Please don’t let it get to that point. If you find yourselves slipping into disrespectful behaviors or generally not getting along, it’s time to open the lines of communication and talk about the issues that are of concern to either or both of you. Usually, just getting an issue into the daylight and talking about it improves the situation. Strive to reach a win-win agreement so you both feel as though you walked away from the conversation having gained something from the discussion.