Living with roommates without constantly wishing they would choke on their saliva and die requires great communication skills, compromising and respecting differences. In some cases, mastering these life skills may be the most valuable lessons you’ll learn in college. For real.
I’ll start by telling you my story. I grew up as an only child, so I never had to share anything with any siblings. When I moved to Bucharest and shared a room with Alexandra, I found out that the pros and cons of living with someone don’t begin and end with your roommate. The thing is we’re all flawed, broken and fucked up. Trust me. From my experience, here’s what you need to do:
Lower your expectations. Look at your college roommate as someone to get along with, not as your future BFF. We often place too many expectations on the roommate friendship to be more than it ultimately can or needs to be. The idea is to have someone you can live well with. Not all roommates turn into besties and that’s perfectly fine. Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, I’m now really good friends with Alexandra, but I believe that is partially because she moved to a different continent and I don’t have to listen to her snoring like a fornhog all night.
Discuss habits. Do you need ten minutes to yourself before talking to anyone after you wake up? Are you a neat freak? Are you the opposite? Do you expect others to be mind readers? Bringing it up directly and early will save you piles of tension. College life can be stressful for both of you, so, for example, if you know you need to go out until 3:00 a.m. to relieve that stress in the club, tell your roommate about this and come up with a plan for how to handle returning home really late without tap dancing on his/her last nerve.
Stay open to change. Since people’s needs change over time and life itself demands progress too, good relationships require negotiation and compromise all the time. Be open to new ideas and experiences. Maintain a flexible spirit and a curious attitude. Your roommate may bring lots of new habits into your life. I’m not talking about drugs though. Your way of doing things might not be the best one, although you’re absolutely convinced that it is.
Remember we all make mistakes, stumble, slip and spin out of control sometimes. Every move we make, every step we take is a valuable lesson, even when we fall and almost break our freaking necks. And it’s kind of awesome having someone to share all aspects of college life. Now go to your roommate and sing:
Oh, can’t you see
You belong to me
Every move you make
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
I’ll be watching you
sursa foto: istockphoto.com