Living with a roommate for the first few years after graduation is an unofficial but mandatory rite of initiation into your life as an independent adult. I think of it more as of a particular once-in-a-life-time experience and set of mind when you feel young and energetic and invincible and are waiting every second for something amazing to happen, than merely sharing your space with another person.
In this “empire” state of mind we pay little attention to such unimportant things as dirty dishes in the sink, the door that get’s slammed way to hard on the way out and the never-ceasing cat fur on the couch. We fail to notice things like that for a while, even if it is our own dishes, our pet’s fur and it was us who came home late or should we say early in the morning this last time and made noise that woke our roommate up. While this kind of behaviour is totally understandable and forgivable it is the main reason why the long time friendships break, people are going through emergency move outs and you would rather pay more than you can afford than live with a rommate. Ever. Again. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why roommates fight:
It all starts with a coffee cup left unwashed on the table, hair clogging the bathtub drain, pair of shoes kicked off hastily in the middle of a hallway. These are small things and no adequate person would ever make a big deal out of it if only it didn’t happen systematically. But when you step inside your apartment first trip over your roommate’s shoes, then have to remove her long beautiful brown hair thickly covering the drain, and then as if it isn’t enough find dirty dishes in the kitchen you just start feeling slightly irritated. Now imagine things like that happening everyday and if you recognize yourself in the exemplary mess maker you might just find an answer to why your roommate is being so cranky and difficult to talk to lately. To prevent the possible conflict just start paying more attention to what you do. It only takes a second or two to clean after yourself but it can save you a fight! If you are the one having to put up with a messy roommate don’t be afraid to talk about it. Commmunication is the key. Be honest, explain how you feel about his or her negligence, work out some basic cleaning rules, do it as early as possible because the less issues you have the smaller the talk is going to be.
No, being late on rent is not a money issue. It is a major violation, and one should never find himself in this situation. Forgetting to pay your cable bill at the end of the moth is also a violation. Failing to notice a new paper towel roll in the kitchen or refilled hand soap in the bathroom and not offering to split the cost for it is a money issue that can lead to serious problems in the future and will most likely be thrown in your face at the first opportunity. What can you do to avoid it? Pay attention to small things or, to save the trouble, agree on a fixed monthly fee to cover household expenses.
We won’t even mention unexpected late night parties and going through your roommate’s personal stuff without his/her permission as these are the no-no’s of a roommate 101 code (even if your roommate happened to be your best friend or a relative). No, we will concentrate on less noticeable things that build up tension and cause fights and clashes over time. Such us joining your roommates friends in the living room everytime he or she has visitors. Or having your boyfriend stay overnight 6 nights a week just because your roommate seems to be cool about it. Or borrowing your roommate’s shampoo without permission or asking for it too often. This is definitely not the full list and sure enough, if you just give it a thought you will be able to add more examples to it. We all do it, and again, this is not a big deal but whenever you catch yourself doing one of things listed above just stop right there. Living with a roommate is the only one aspect of life known to the author where you’d rather regret the things you haven’t done than the things that you have done.
Living with a roommate can be a memorable and joyful experience in your life which puts a nostalgic smile on your face each time you think about it or it can be a nightmare which you will never forget and will try to avoid at all costs. The difference is made by three seconds you take to rinse that cup before you run out of the apartment early in the morning, or an effort you make to lower your voice when you are on the phone with your best friend at 2 am. It is impopssible to be perfect, but if you put your mind to trying to be a good roommate the person you live with will most likely appreciate this and in return, try to be as good to you as you are to him or her. Word from the wise is co-existing peacefully with another human being is an extremely valuable skill that will give you an unquestionable advantage in life. The choice is yours and I wish you all the best!!!