College Roommates: The DO’s and the DONT’s
Although I’m not in college anymore, I still live with roommates, but throughout all four years I was in it, I lived with an array of interesting women.
Let’s start from Freshmen year: I lived in the dorms and had one roommate. We were both super messy so we kind of complimented each other in the worst ways. We remained friends, but didn’t end up living together the remainder of college.
Sophomore through Senior year of college, I rotated between different roommates. I lived with girls that were literally fucking crazy drug addicts and I lived with some pretty chill ones, too. Long story short, I’ve lived with a wide variety of personalities and I know I’m definitely not perfect, but here’s a few notes and helpful tips I’ve learned along the way when living with other girls:
Just Because You’re Roommates Doesn’t Mean You Have to be Friends
When you sign that lease, you’re not signing a friendship contract. You know how you have different friend groups? You have your friends from back home. You have your drinking buddies. You have your designated friend groups for what kind of mood you want to be in, basically. Living together doesn’t require you to be friends. It requires you to be respectful and communicative. You don’t have to LOVE the person you’re living with. You just have to get along when the situation demands it. You don’t have to go to parties together or run errands together if that’s just not how you vibe together. I’ve lived with girls I think I would’ve been better friends with if we didn’t live together. This is because everyone has different life styles and sometimes personal space can get into the mix in ways you wish it didn’t.
DO Be Clean. No, SHIT.
Part of being respectful is being clean. I was SUPER messy my freshmen and sophomore year of college and BOY, do I have REGRETS. My clothes were always spread out on the floor. I had snack bags next to my bed and mugs of coffee or open beverages next to my bed as well. I shared a room so you can see how this was an issue. I also hardly ever did my dishes. I was too lazy to do them so I would literally go stay at my ex-boyfriend’s place majority of the week to avoid confrontation with my roommates for my poor cleaning habits. My roommates would be annoyed I’d be gone for days and I would be annoyed that they were mad because I didn’t have “time” to do them. Bullshit. I had the time. I would just rather spend time doing something else. What I’ve learned is that no matter how busy you are, there is NO excuse for not being clean, ESPECIALLY if you live with other people. It took some time, but by my senior year, something in me snapped and I was SUPER clean. I even juggled school full time, an internship and a part-time job and still cleaned up after myself. Don’t wait for your roommates to say something because at that point, you know it’s gotten real bad. No one wants to be confrontational especially at first, so keep that in mind to keep the peace.
The Significant Other is NOT a Roommate
I used to live with a girl who had her boyfriend over ALL the time and we shared a room. It was fine when he would be over maybe two days a week, but he stayed over at least four nights of the week and it was like, UM HELLO, I pay rent for my personal space, not for an additional GUY ROOMMATE. They would always cook and watch TV, so basically they took over the kitchen and living room 90% of the time since I was in the bedroom. NEWS FLASH. If you’re not paying rent, you’re a guest and should be a courteous one. If you’re a significant other who stays over your partner’s place, make sure you clean up after yourself i.e. cleaning the stove after you cook, washing your dishes after you use them and putting things back where they belong. You don’t live there and so you shouldn’t have to be picked up after. I had another roommate who had her own room whose boyfriend would also stay over four nights of the week. However, she cleaned up right away every time they cooked or did anything together so it never became an issue with her. Unfortunately, she brought a cat home when weren’t supposed to have pets, but that’s a story for another day…
Not Everything is Going to be 50/50 so DON’T Have 50/50 Expectations
Sometimes you give and sometimes you get. With my current roommate, we share a room and we live harmoniously. We are super respectful of each other’s space and we’re pretty clean for the most part. We don’t ever butt heads and we don’t really take from each other without asking.We’re also best friends because of living together and that’s how well it all worked out. This is because we don’t expect each other to give 50/50. Sometimes we’re 60/40 or 40/60 and it’s SO much better. We don’t do favors just to receive them. We don’t GIVE TO GET. If I wash her dishes because I have extra time, I don’t expect her to wash mine. If I borrow something of hers, she doesn’t expect to borrow something from me. I think when you split everything 50/50 that’s where it gets complicated because life is tricky, maybe one week you can do more than you could the last week. It’s all about balance. Being too specific with everything also makes you seem stingy and at some point you won’t be able to live up to the expectations you’ve created for yourself and for others.
DO Be Nice Even When It’s AWKWARD
Maybe your roommate walked in on you when you had a special guest over, YIKES. Maybe you’re confronting your roommate about their cleaning habits. It happens and it’s unavoidable. What you can avoid is bad blood. It’s important to keep in mind you still LIVE with this person until the lease is up or until they or YOU decide to leave, but until then you are sharing personal space, so be level headed. It’s hard living with girls because honestly, we’re so fucking emotional and everything has to be said with care. Use the wrong tone and it’s overthinking to the max. If you came home to an unexpected guest, it doesn’t happen all the time so no need to get super upset. However, if there’s an ongoing issue you need to address, address it. By all means, it’s so important to have open communication about these things so there’s no grudges and no tension.
LASTLY, Be Communicative and Respectful
In this case, LESS IS NOT MORE. Frequent communication is better than none. Lack of communication causes problems. When you live with someone, you have responsibilities and you need to RESPOND to be respectful. Don’t leave your roommates hanging when they ask you questions about important stuff like bills and rent. It’s especially awkward when they haven’t responded and you see them later. ALWAYS pay your share on time. It’s unfair if one person has to pay the whole bill one day and doesn’t get their roommate’s share until a few days later. Also, don’t take responsibility for something that your roommates will have to be responsible for without their consent. Like I said about my last roommate, she brought in a pet when we weren’t supposed to have one so if we got caught, ALL OF US would be in trouble. It brought up so many issues and just fucked everything up from there. Moral of the story: Be respectful and communicate.
Honestly, through all the ups and downs, I’m thankful for every experience I’ve had. I can tell you firsthand, living with girls can be tricky, but every person you live with really teaches you how to better communicate and better yourself. So, here’s a big thank you to all my roommates for all the memories and lessons and TY to my current roommate for being my literal best friend.
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