Google “loud roommates” and you will see tons of articles advising you what to do, from taking revenge on them to getting a pair of earplugs and fleeing your apartment in search of a quieter place. Let’s face it -those things are not going to work. By avenging yourself for a sleepless night you will invite more negativity, if you move out you’ll have to deal with the feeling of being walked over, plus the usual exhausting move out drag. Is there really a better way to deal with this problem than to have an honest talk about it? Preferrably before you even start sharing an apartment? In my opinion, setting some clear rules on making noise in the apartment is as effective, as buying a pair of headphones for your roommate, in terms of conveying a message. If your roommates are still loud and are aware of it, but don’t want to change anything, well… One of you should probably go. Hint: The one who’s name is not on the lease gets to pack the bags.
The trickiest kind is someone who doesn’t openly refuse to follow the cleaning rules of the house, but, at the same time, doesn’t rush to clean up the mess after him/herself leaving piles of garbage and sink full of dirty dishes to sit there for days before cleaning. What to do? The best thing would be to agree on a cleaning schedule, which should be put in writing and displayed for everyone to see, somewhere in the common area in the house. For this matter, above the sink, in the kitchen, would be the best place for it to hang. If the dishes situation doesn’t get any better, offer your roommate to invest in disposable cups and plates as an alternative for doing the dishes.
The ones who always seek your company, talk too much and occasionally borrow your stuff. Umm.. Trying to avoid getting too friendly with your roommates untill you know them better is probably not a bad idea, and if someone tries to get “under your skin” setting some physical obstacles between you, like wearing earphones everytime you are together in the common area, might also help. You don’t have to do it forever, odds are, your rommate will get the hint after your third time appearing really busy listening to some classic eighties rock composition while he/she is trying to make a friendly conversation with you and will just back off.
Aggression doesn’t only take form in physical fighting, or loud brawls. At least not right away. The early signs of aggresion are: being too sensitive to what people say about you, walking away when the argument doesn’t resolve in your favor, having a feeling that others are not being fair towards you and so on, I’m sure we all can feel it. If you see any of those in your roommate it is very likely, that you will get in a heated argument with him/her somewhere along the way. Preventing aggressive burst outs includes communication. Lots of communication. Everytime any desicions are made about the apartment this particular roommate has to be informed and urged to give his/her consent or disapproval (which will include further negotiation) on that decision. The most difficult part in dealing with that type of people (for me) is being diplomatic, but on the other hand, by doing so, you can save your relationship with this person. And who knows, maybe, apart from being aggressive, your roommate is a great person!!
Some people take things personally, the others make things their business, even when it really is not their business… What to say… People are different, and we have to accept it, otherwise, we are doomed to fight windmills for the rest of our lifes. In a roommate situation, each attempt of such person to impose his/her rules on others should be viewed as a “suggestion” which all roommates, collectively, could agree or disagree upon during the roommate meeting. This, over time, might plant the idea in the usurper’s head that he/she is not the only one to decide how things are going to be around the apartment.
First of all, eating somebody’s food is stealing too, just like borrowing someone’s things without permission. How to deal with food/clothes/personal items thieves? If honest talk doesn’t help then let your imagination go wild! Adding some “extra toppings” to your pizza or a “special dressing” to your salad might do the trick! One of my funniest college memories involves one of my dorm roommates sacrificing her dress for the sake of teaching our third roommate a lesson, by writing a short but offensive characteristic on the back of the dress with the invisible sharpie (the one that glows in the black light). She did it knowing that our third roommate is going to “borrow” that dress for a night out in the club.
NONPAYING (UNINVITED) ROOMMATES
Ideally, there should not be such thing as nonpaying roommates because whoever doesn’t pay rent is not supposed to live in the apartment. Period. But I’m sure every one of us had experienced that almost living-in boyfriend/girlfriend of a roommate of ours hanging in the apartment for weeks. Dealing with those is easily the most awkward subject to discuss with your roommate, because it involves feelings, but it has to be done and the question here is, how to make it result in as little dramma as possible. A genious solution suggested by someone online would be to write a letter or an email to your rommate and deliver it to her/him right before you leave the apartment in the morning. This way you can voice all your concerns without letting the emotions (yours and your roommate’s) interfere and your rommate will also have plenty of time to calm down and think it over.
I recently realized how much easier life gets when you accept the fact that nobody’s is perfect, and we all have our moments of weakness when we don’t look and act as good as we should. These moments don’t have to change things, they don’t have to mean war, and that is exactly why I have written this post. Being firm, but nice and understanding in a conflict might require much more effort on your part than screaming your head off and throwing mutual insults and threats at each other, but it will benefit you in the long run, and if you are anything like me, then it might sound like mission: impossible to you, but managing to keep your cool in a fight will bring you much more satisfaction than out-badmouthing, out-insulting and out-blaming someone, I promise. You will look much better and appear much stronger too, and looking back at it one day you will be really proud and grateful to yourself for not letting negativity to take over your mind.