Roommates, Student Life

Roommate Problems: The Messy Roommate

It’s pretty common to encounter a roommate who doesn’t see eye to eye with you when it comes to the cleanliness of your pad.  Cleaning is actually one of the biggest problems roommates face, and can often lead to roommate conflicts.

While cleaning to you may seem so simple, almost like second nature, it’s not always the same for everyone.  Not everyone has the same level of cleanliness, and so it is something you have to consider when you live with someone else.  However, the best thing to do is to try to come to a compromise with your roommate when it comes to the cleanliness of your place.

The first thing to do is to identify the things that drive you the most crazy when it comes to the cleanliness of your place.  Maybe it’s the dishes in the sink, the dirty towels on the floor of the bathroom, or their books and papers strewn across the kitchen table.  These should be the things that you can’t live without.

The next thing to do is to identify the things that you could live with.  Maybe it doesn’t bother you if they leave the dishes in the sink for a day or so, or that they leave their stuff in the hallway for a while.  These will be the things that you would be willing to compromise on.

The idea is to first present the things that bother you the most about your roommate’s cleanliness (or lack thereof).  Just remember to keep your focus on the behaviors that bother you the most, and to avoid attributing the things that bother you to personality flaws.  It’s also a good idea to explain why these things bother you so that your roommate fully understands.  This will keep the conversation civil and will also help you to express your frustration with the current situation.

Photo from ohmyapt.apartmentratings.com

The next thing to do is to work on a compromise with your roommate.  Mention the list of things you could live with.  That may help make your request seem much more reasonable, and will help you both to work towards a workable solution.

While living with a messy roommate can be frustrating, the best thing to do is to realize the things that bother you the most when it comes to the cleanliness of your pad.  For while you may not always get your roommate to see your ways of cleaning, you can certainly come to a workable solution that you can both live with.

Reference:

“5 Common Roommate Problems (and How to Deal)”

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Roommates, Student Life

Tips for Living with a Roommate for the First Time

If you’re going off to college for the first time and moving into university housing, in most cases you’ll be put into a room with at least one other student. From our experience, many students go into this situation blindly or ill-informed. This is why we’ve put together a few tips for you to avoid making many of the mistakes first-time students make when moving in with their roommate.

Email your new roommate before you move in. When you first get your roommate assignment, it’s a good idea to email them before you move in. In most cases your school will provide you with their email address. Be sure to introduce yourself in the email and tell them a little bit about yourself. While you should express a little bit about who you are, this is not the time for you to tell them about your “quirks”. Save that discussion for when you both move in because sharing this will most likely scare them. There is such a thing as TMI.

Find your roommate on Facebook. Most people today have a Facebook. You may want to check out your new roomie and friend them. You may get a little more insight into who they are. However, don’t get completely freaked out if you see something there that you may not like or agree with. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Keep an open mind when you first meet your new roommate. Like we said before, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Take some time to really get to know your roommate. It’s important that you two (or three) can at least get along.

Don’t expect to be best friends with your roommate. As we may have mentioned in some of our previous posts, it’s important to know that you may not be best friends with your new roommate(s). This is why you shouldn’t go into the situation believing that you will be “BFFs”. Your expectation instead should be able to get along with your roommate.

Establish room rules on the first day you both move in. Many schools will have their students fill these out on the first day you move in. While it may seem stupid, you may want to actually take this seriously. Remember: It is important, from the start, to establish how your room will be used and other expectations you and your roommate may have.

Be sure to communicate with one another. This is the most important part of getting along with your new roommate, but probably the most neglected. You should remember that open and honest communication is the best way to avoiding big blowups between you and your roommate.

While it seems like it will be difficult getting used to a new roommate, it actually isn’t too hard. Just remember to avoid judging a book by its cover, to keep an open mind, to set expectations for how your room will be used early on, and to communicate frequently and openly with your roommate. In these ways you can ensure that you and your roommate will have a smooth and easy transition into living with one another.

Articles we referenced . . .

http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/how-help-your-college-student-prepare-living-roommate

http://powertochange.com/students/people/rmatedorm/

http://blog.storagechoice.com/2012/07/23/tips-for-living-with-a-roommate-for-the-first-time/

http://www.hercampus.com/dormlife/how-get-along-your-roommate-all-year

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Roommates, Student Life

What I Do About My Clingy Roommate?

Your roommate seemed cool until you noticed that they started appearing right behind you every time you turn around.  You also started to notice that they invite themselves out with you when you’re going out with your friends.  They’re there when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you eat, when you study; you’re even half-expecting them to be standing just outside the curtain when you shower!

Scene from the film “The Roommate” directed by Christian Christiansen
Photo from http://www.totalfilm.com

You’re starting to feel creeped out (if you haven’t already been creeped out after that time she somehow ended up in your closet), and you need to do something about it.   But let’s be honest:  How can you tell someone gently that they’re officially creeping you out?

Be sensitive, be kind, and be honest.  The key here is to not say what is exactly on your mind; don’t tell your roommate that she’s creepy and that you think she has dependency issues.  That will only make matters worse.  The other thing you want to avoid is completely ignoring her; don’t just stop talking to her because you think she’s creepy.  This is because 1) there is most likely a reason for why she’s developed a sort of dependency on you, and 2) she has feelings just like you do. While, like we said, it’s not a good idea to tell her you’re creeped out, you definitely want to let her know that what she’s doing is not making you feel comfortable.  Think of the reasons why it doesn’t make you feel comfortable, and explain this to her.  You just have to be cautious when doing this because, like we said, she is most likely doing this for a reason. Be sensitive to that; use statements that focus on the specific actions she does and how that makes you feel rather than focusing on her flaws.

Avoid blaming her and criticizing her for anything.  You don’t want to blame her for why you’re friends don’t seem to want to hang out at your place anymore, or why, for some reason, she widens her eyes when she’s watching you eat your breakfast.  Be sensitive and considerate to her feelings.

Be calm, respectful, and level-headed.  This is not the time to freak out on her for other things she’s done and it’s not the time to completely diss her.  You want to plan out what you are going to say ahead of time and consider her feelings when you say it.  You also want to give her a chance to speak; maybe this way you can get some insight as to why she follows you around.

Overall, no matter what kind of roommate you have, it is always important to talk to them when issues come up.  The best thing you can do is be honest, be respectful, be calm, and be considerate, because you’re roommates: You need your space, but you also need to live together peacefully (for both your sanity).

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Roommates, Student Life

I Hate My Roommate: What To Do When Your Relationship With Your Roommate Goes Wrong

More often than not, you’ll find yourself in a disagreement with your roommate. While not every disagreement will end in a full-blown fight, there may be times when it will.  The only thing you can do is to prepare yourself for those times and to be ready for anything.

For example, say your roommate has been having their significant other over to your place too much.  When you go to talk to them about it, they get defensive and the issue never gets resolved.  Let’s say that after that point it gets very awkward around your place and you end up leaving each other notes, ignoring one another, and/or just not speaking.  What would you have to do?

In every case, you should always try to talk with your roommate again.  Avoid leaving passive aggressive notes for one another (you can see why that might not work on www.passiveaggressivenotes.com) and giving them the silent treatment.  It’s time to act like adults; you’re in college (or maybe out of college, depending on who’s reading this).  Take some time and plan out what you’re going to say to them.  Focus on how their actions make you feel and avoid making it about defects in their personality.

You also want to be sure to talk to them when you are calm and levelheaded; they won’t listen to you if you scream at them.  Be sure to detail your feelings, but also be sure to listen to what they have to say.  No matter what, try hard not to take things too personally or become too defensive; this only makes matters worse.  Instead, try to think logically about what they have to say; this means being able to criticize yourself.  What could you be doing to upset them?

If talking with them doesn’t seem to work and it only seems to make things worse, the only thing you can really do from there is to be civil to one another.  Maintain your consideration and respect for one another.  Being roommates doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be friends, or that you even have to like each other; just as long as you respect one another and are considerate, your relationship (or lack-there-of) can work.

While fighting with your roommate can be traumatic, it happens to a lot of people.  The only thing you can do is prepare yourself for those scenarios when it doesn’t work, and sometimes you do just have to concede that you don’t see eye-to-eye or that you just don’t get along.  Although it stinks when you and your roommate don’t get along, it is better that you both can at least come to an understanding and share mutual respect for one another and your space.

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Roommates, Student Life

Two’s Company & Three’s A Crowd: How to Manage Your Relationship with Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Your Roommate

While having your boyfriend or girlfriend around all the time might be great for you, it might not be for your roommate.  Whether you’re living in a dorm or you’re living in an apartment, it doesn’t matter: Sharing space with your roommate and your significant other can get tough to manage.  That’s why we’ve put a list together of all the things you can do to prevent a huge blow up between you, your roommate and your boyfriend/girlfriend.

In an article by Annie Maguire at College Cures, the first thing you want to do is set time boundaries.  This means that you should talk with your roommate about their schedule and when would be the best time for your boyfriend/girlfriend to come over.  You can also work with them to determine a cut-off time (10 pm, 11pm, etc.) for guests, and then stick to your guns.  Once it gets to the cut-off time, your boyfriend/girlfriend needs to go home and so should theirs.

The next thing Maguire suggests is setting spatial boundaries.  This means that you should establish with your roommate where your significant other can spend time in your room/apartment.  This means that you should establish with them (beforehand) where your boyfriend/girlfriend can hang out and what items they can use.

Another rule of thumb when it comes to managing these types of relationships is giving one another space.  This includes giving yourself, your roommate, and your significant other the space they need.  You should be sure that you and your significant other aren’t always hanging out in your room, and that you share time between each other’s places equally.  This way your roommate and their roommate get time alone too.

The most important concerns you should have when it comes to managing your relationship with your roommate and your significant other is to be considerate and to communicate with one another.  You and your significant others’ wants and needs are not superior to your roommate’s and vice versa.  The best way to manage this is to speak with one another frequently and often about what each other needs, wants, and feels about the situation and what each of you can do to make sure everyone is happy.

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Housing Advice, Roommates

What Happens When You Get a New Roommate?

It happens all the time:  You choose to live in the same apartment for another year, your roommate moves on, and you end up with a new roommate.  While it is just a part of life, it’s always a little weird adding a new roommate to the mix, especially if you have been living there already.  This is why we’ve put together some suggestions to help you navigate your new roommate situation.

Don’t forget that it’s their place too.  This is perhaps the most important thing to remember:  If you’re adding a new roommate to the mix, you can’t forget that the apartment is just as much theirs as it is yours.  Just because you have been living there longer doesn’t give you the upper hand.

Take time to get to know them a little.  We’re not saying you have to be best friends, but it is considerate to try to get to know them a little bit.  In particular, you should consider asking them questions about their lifestyle preferences (i.e. when they go to bed, where they like to study, etc.).  That way you know what they like and what they don’t.

Take time to explain to them your existing house rules.  If you and your roommate(s) had previously established house rules (i.e. guest policy, chore distribution, etc.), you want to let them know.  However, because this person is new to the situation, you shouldn’t consider these rules to be set in stone.  Talk with your new roomie about how they feel about the rules you’ve established, what they like (or dislike) about them, and how the house rules can accommodate everyone’s preferences.

Give them a tour.  Show your new roomie where things are normally kept; this includes where the cleaning supplies are, where everyone puts their food, and where they can find extra toilet paper and paper towels.

Be helpful.  Be open to answering any questions your new roomie might have about your place.  Also be sure to explain to them any weird features or problems you may have with the apartment.  This way they know the kooky characteristics of your pad just as much as you do.

While it may be strange for you when your new roomie moves in, imagine how weird it must be for them!  They are moving into a new place with people who have already been there before.  They may think you and your other roommates will be best friends already and/or you will already be into your own routine that you won’t acknowledge them.  This is why it’s important to talk to your new roomie and figure out ways you can help them make your apartment feel like their home too.

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Roommates, Student Life

The Passive Aggressive Note: What Does it ACTUALLY Mean?

Have you ever had a roommate that would leave you notes when you left dirty dishes in the sink, forgot to clean up your things off the kitchen table, or you had your friend over until 5 am?  Have you ever been that roommate?  If you’ve ever been in that situation (no matter what role you played), in most cases, in never ends well.  This is because there is a lot more behind that note than you may initially think.

Passive aggressive notes could mean one of two things:

The person doesn’t feel like they can talk to you.  Maybe you give that aura of “Don’t mess with me,” or maybe they’ve just never experienced a problem with a roommate before and they don’t know what to do.  The person could also just be afraid of confrontation, and this is their alternative to actually confronting you about the problem.

You aren’t around for them to yell at, so they leave you a note instead.  If someone is extremely frustrated, and you aren’t around, they may take out their frustration in note form.  It’s not the best option, but it certainly happens.

Sometimes it’s easy to see which option it is, especially when you know the person well, but then sometimes it isn’t.  You need to think about what motivations they might have for writing a note like that and what might have you done to make them do that.  You should go speak with your roommate about the note, because you don’t want to let things like this make the relationship worse.  I say worse, because, let’s face it:  your relationship is already not on the best of terms if you’re writing passive aggressive notes to one another.

Here are some tips for talking with your roommate about their passive aggressive notes:

Think about what you’re going to say before you talk to them.  Like we said in our previous posts about roommate relationships and conflict, it’s best to go into a situation prepared.  You want to plan out what you want to say and how you will say it.

Avoid escalating the situation.  You never want to avoid talking things out with your roommate, but you certainly want to avoid escalating the situation.  Avoid directly placing the blame on them, and use “I” statements instead of “you” statements.  This means that instead of saying “I hate it when you leave nasty notes like that for me,” you say, “It bothers me to read notes instead of actually talking with you.”

Act calmly and rationally.   Perhaps the worst thing you can do is to lash out and make accusations or make unrelated arguments about other things the person has done to frustrate you.  Remember:  You need to act instead of react.  This means that you should act on the situation, i.e. talk with your roommate about your relationship, why they are leaving you notes, and what you can do to fix it.  You don’t want to react to their note, meaning that you don’t want to go with your automatic and “gut” reaction to how that note made you feel.  While both you and your roommates feelings are important and should be acknowledged, you don’t want to take out those feelings on your roommate.

Perhaps the overall moral of the story is to be considerate and to have open communication between you and your roommate.  It will be significantly more successful, and significantly more valuable, for you to talk with them instead of resorting to notes, because your reaction (or their reaction if you’re the offender) says it all.  Don’t write passive aggressive notes to your roommates.

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