Many students arrive on campus convinced that they will share the best relationship of their lives with their roommate. However, given the randomness of roommate selection and the fact that different folks have different strokes, chances are you won’t be BFF’s with your roommate.
Learning how to live with a pesky roommate can be a great life lesson, or it can be a nightmare.
Whether your roommate eats your food, keeps odd hours, or meddles in your business, it’s important to “choose your battles wisely” and to practice good communication with your roommate. Doing so will help minimize distractions from coursework and create a safe, harmonious home.
1) Evaluate your roommate’s behavior.
Throughout college and into your career, you will encounter annoying behavior from many people. The trick to building relationships with people is to determine what behavior is truly detrimental and then live with the rest.
For example, perhaps your roommate owns several ferrets (which are mildly annoying) and lets the ferrets run around on your bed (which is incredibly annoying).
Decide which behavior you can “live with” and which behavior is intolerable.
2) Talk with your roommate.
Once you’ve decided which pesky behavior is the most annoying and truly detrimental to a peaceful living situation, sit down with your roommate and address that behavior.
Be sure to use “I statements” rather than blame the roommate for what he or she may think is perfectly normal behavior.
3) Learn from your roommate.
No matter how pesky your roommate may be, you will undoubtedly learn a few things about life from him or her.
Rather than count down the days until you get to move out, try to understand your roommate’s perspective and what you have learned about life from this relationship. If anything, you may learn more about yourself, for example, how you manage stress or what personal attributes you could never tolerate in your future spouse.
4) Make new friends.
When times are tough on the home front, it’s important to have a close network of friends nearby to support and encourage you. The point is not to ostracize your roommate by gossiping about him or her (particularly if your roommate is simply odd and not a threat to anyone).
If your relationship with your roommate becomes strained, spending time with other people will help build your self-confidence and uplift your spirit.
5) Be proactive.
If you’ve spoken with your roommate and he or she isn’t willing to stop the behavior that you find truly intolerable, you may need to consider finding another living situation.
By prioritizing communication and keeping an open mind, you can learn how to navigate a relationship with a difficult person, which is excellent training for your career ahead.