It’s that time of year again — when the feel-good warm fuzzies you and your roommate used to have might feel like they’re starting to fade away.
The dishes are lingering a bit longer in the sink, the trash pile seems to be growing exponentially each day and even though the shower water is pooling at your feet, no one wants to step up and pull the hair out of the drain.
Having a roommate is tough, but it’s something we all will probably have to go through in our lives at one point or another, especially while in college. During this season of our lives, it is not only important that we learn how to be accepting of our roommates, but also master how to be a great roommate ourselves.
The most important way to do this is to make sure that you communicate, no matter what; even if you don’t know your roommate, you’re sharing a living space and it’s important that you get on the same page. HerCampus, a website that shares collegiate and life advice, shared common issues such as dealing with messes and attitudes. The common denominator though, was communication.
Set ground rules and boundaries for what you’re comfortable with, and make sure you respect those rules as well. In a time where our lives are so busy and we’re running around all the time, it’s vital to have a place to come home to where we feel comfortable and accepted.
As you set these boundaries, though, be considerate of your roommate as well. You might not agree on everything that is put into place, but you don’t have to. Respect their wishes and what they feel comfortable with and remember that it’s their home too.
On a real-life note, if you have someone of the opposite gender coming over, tell your roommate and make sure they’re OK with it. There’s nothing worse than coming out of the shower with a towel on and awkwardly finding an unexpected visitor on your couch.
If something like this does happen, approach your roommate and have that conversation about the situation. Don’t just keep it pent up inside or gossip to your other friends about it, because then it will just keep building until one day you explode.
Although it might be awkward to have the conversation, just pull your roommate aside at some point and talk about it. Nothing will be resolved without a dedication to communication.
Chores are another thing that can become a big problem in households if not approached in the right way. Floors are left full of dust and crumbs and bathrooms are full of mold under the assumption that someone else will take care of it.
One of the best ways to approach this might be to make a chore chart, so each roommate is aware of what is expected of them and when it’s expected.
Another big problem roommates seem to have revolves around food, so find a system that works for you and your housemates. Put colored stickers on your food boxes, pick shelves in the pantry or the fridge or share all of your food if you feel comfortable going that route.
The common theme is that communication is key. No matter if you have the best living situation possible, or you and your roommate are just struggling to make it to May, make the best you can out of your situation. Turn lemons in to lemonade, or just keep the lemonade sweet and refreshing — be considerate, be kind and communicate.