So you may or may not know, that recently I moved. There was a time in my life where I moved every year for 5 years and you’d think I’d have the whole moving bit down by now, but no… Moving will always be a pain in the ass. However, with all these location changes, I have had the opportunity of living with many different people. Which brings me to this blog dedicated to the roommate sitch. I’ve lived with friends, best friends, parents, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends, co-workers, you name it – I’ve lived with it. One year I lived in a house that was an exact replica of MTV’s The Real World. No… We didn’t have a snazzy, huge, hot-tub-in-the-living-room type of house — it was more like the drama in that house mimicked what you might see on reality TV (I might be the queen of exaggeration, but there was nothing exaggerated about that statement).
So.. Here I am, in another living situation with another person. Him: he’s a good friend, one of my bestest, young professional, use to live in a mountain town and has recently found himself back in the city. The kicker … we haven’t exactly lived in close quarters for…. well…. any part of our 14 year friendship and since he’s been away we haven’t really hung out that much over the last 5 years (perfect scenario right?). No worries though, sharing spaces with people in general can be a very tricky situation. I’ve had some awesome roommateships, and some really horrible ones too. So.. Here are the things to know in order to have a successful and non-violent roommateship.
1. Find out what your roommate’s pet peeves are. Started the dialogue. “So what have your previous roommates done that really pissed you off?” I think it’s proactive to at least be aware of what things to avoid doing when you live with someone. Not saying that you’ll abide by it 100% (we are human), but knowing the top five pet peeves can be very useful. And plus we don’t read minds…You might have find yourself in this scenario: You’re awake in the middle of the night and want nothing more than a drink? Hmmm.. Your roommate has a bottle of Gatorade in the fridge… hmmmm — don’t do it. Pet Peeve Alert: Drinking the last of anything – better drink some water instead..
2. Come clean. Tell your roommate some of the things that your previous roommates have gotten annoyed with you about. For instance… I am known to not close cabinet doors, leave the lights on, forgot to take things out of the dryer &
sometimes.. (..Ok a lot of times) take things and forget to put them back.. I think painting a picture of your daily habits and sharing that with the person you are about to live with is helpful. It may not stop them in that moment of annoyance, but hey at least you gave them a heads up.
3. Be respectful of each other’s space. Nothing is more annoying then the roommate that never goes away. Seriously. Do not wait for me outside of the bathroom. When your roommate is in their room with the door shut… unless it’s an emergency, like the kitchen is on fire — probably better to just let them be. Sometimes you just need those quiet moments to yourself. Respect that. In this day and age if you are realllly wondering what they are up to… text them? It’s strange and impersonal, but I’d rather be able to respond to you at my convenience …then have you bust into my room to tell me that the mailman came and brought the latest catalogue for Crate & Barrel.
4. The sleep sched. From my experience people can be very cranky in the AM when they wake up, and also when they want to go to bed and can’t because your being too loud. Get a feel for each other’s sleep schedules. If you know your roommate has to be up at 5am every morning, it’s probably not the best idea to be blasting your Katy Perry in the bedroom at midnight or knocking things down coming home drunk on a Wednesday night. These things happen from time to time, but don’t make it a common occurrence. You don’t mess with people’s sleep. Also in the reverse. — I am typically a basement dweller; leave your shoes by the door. I don’t want to be woken up by your heels stomping my face at 5am through the ceiling. Be considerate in both directions– the late sleepers and the early risers.
5. The deep clean. I think the most complaints I have ever heard about roommates has to do with cleanliness. Now everyone has their own opinion on what “clean” is, but the word dirty is not as subjective. I am a big proponent of cleaning schedules, trash taker-outer schedules, and dishwasher emptying duty. Mind you I am 30, but I feel like a high percentage of arguments or annoyances stem from when one roommate feels they are cleaner than the other. If I have to take the trash out every day…. by month six. I have noticed, and I am over it. I think making a schedule off the bat keeps the house from having to get to the point where you HAVE to have that house meeting and then …end up making a schedule anyways. Do it in the beginning. Safe yourself that aggravation.
6. Address the “we are all adults here” conversation. We’ve all heard it. “I don’t think we need to schedule cleaning OR I don’t think we need to talk about laundry OR sleep schedules… We are all adults here.” Well let me tell you, I have lived with nothing but “adults” and adults screw up. Adults don’t always see eye to eye, and adults don’t always have the same perception of a situation. If you want to discuss a household rule with your roommate(s) and someone gives you the ol’ we are all adults here line — it doesn’t mean anything. DISCUSS your concerns whether you are “adults” or not. House meetings are great, group emails, there are plenty of ways to discuss issues. Adults discuss & communicate so they should have no problem doing that. right right.
Living with people is hard. I mean it’s hard to WORK with people. Let alone see someone every day and deal with all their crazy habits and living styles. Throw in more than one roommate and it literally can become a Zoo. Different genders, different personalities, different routines, different emotions – (makes you wanna live alone!…but then you’d be oh so lonely.. haha). Roommateship takes work and it takes conversation. It also takes a bit of sacrifice and patience. Remind yourself that you actually like this person (even when you feel like you don’t). Living together isn’t worth losing friendships (I’ve seen this too), so learn to compromise (because you’ll be doing it A LOT). And most importantly choose your battles – and don’t make everything into a war.