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Student Life

How to make Bad Roommates a thing of the past.

4 Mins read
Nothing can ruin your university experience like a bad roommate.

So this may not be for everyone, but I think it is still something everyone should know if you are going to end up living with what till that point would probably be a complete stranger who you will be meeting for the very first time. So if you don’t want to end up sitting outside at 12 am because your roommate has “hung the sock on the door” , or maybe you don’t want to deal with his friends making your room the group hangout or anything else that may take away from you enjoying your private space. So as we go into the next new semester here is some guidance for you.

Setting Standards

Now, first things first, you must know what you expect from your roommate. You need an actual list of expectations, something that you yourself are able to meet, but nothing too unreasonable of course. You can’t expect anyone to arrange all their clothes by color, or for them to have absolutely no visitors or friends over, but it is alright to set standards for general cleanliness, hygiene, visiting times and other things that will have a large impact on your living experience. Just remember the golden rule, if you can’t do any of this yourself don’t ask it of someone else. Now if you want to know a few examples of what you can ask your roommate for without overreaching, here are a few things:

  1. Personal Hygiene – You will be living with this person so it is important that they are clean. It is not unreasonable to ask someone to make sure they bathe at least once a day and to brush their teeth too in the morning. Things like how to deal with dirty laundry and any dirty dishes need to be discussed and agreed upon because at the end of the day this will affect your health. 
  2. Visitation – Your roommate has friends, yes I know it is quite the shock, but what is even more shocking is that these friends will want to come visit your roommate. I know this divine revelation may come as a surprise but unless you live on the 4th floor of a building with no elevator and they aren’t on the same floor as you guys, it is going to be a reality you will have to live with.You should be able to agree about visiting times, what people can and can’t do do in the room and what to do in the case of visits that may go outside a normal social call, especially if it is going to mean you can’t access the room during that time. Things like no noise from guests after a certain hour and no all night visits unless discussed and agreed upon ahead of time are very reasonable things to ask for. Remember just as it is their space it is yours too and you should be able to relax and feel comfortable there.
  3. The Additionals – These are things that you may just want from your roommate that might be somewhat outside the above. For example, no smoking in your room and no loud music between certain times. Things like this also matter and need to be discussed. So make sure you come up with a list for yourself that makes you comfortable.

Negotiating time

The next is setting the standard as early as possible. You guys need to sit down as soon as possible and talk about your expectations for each other. There is no point shying away from this conversation. It is best to have it early before bad habits set in, while you guys are still trying to figure each other out. My recommendation you ask? The very first evening you move in after things are a little more settled down. Now, you need to understand one thing: this conversation you are having is a negotiation. You can’t exactly start to dictate rules to someone who has also paid to be living in that space just as you have. You have to be willing to give and take, to end up with the most ideal living arrangement possible. If you want to end up with someone who will live solely by your rules it is best you just stay on your own cause finding someone like that is very unlikely, but since you are here reading about roommates I guess that isn’t an option. So you will have to be willing to compromise on certain things.

Don’t let things slide

After setting the standard, you need to apply it and maintain it. This is where most people get uncomfortable or start letting things slip, but you aren’t supposed to. If you guys have agreed to something you are entitled to hold them to that agreement. So the first time they do something wrong, say something. Be direct and show that you do not approve of whatever it is they have done. Don’t let things slide. I am not saying lecture them like their parents would, but be sure to make them know verbally that you are not okay with what they are doing and that it is not what you guys agreed on. Again I repeat, do not let things slide, people will take advantage of the fact that you are willing to give them leeway to do the wrong things, and if you try to set them straight later they will never take you seriously. On that point, do not clean up after your roommate, unless you want to be your room housekeeper because they will continue to do whatever it is they are doing expecting you to clean up after them.

With that I think you are ready to face the new semester and potentially a whole new roommate. There is no need for you to have a worst roommate experience like so many other people, and endure a semester of what might be hell for you. School is hard enough, home shouldn’t have to be difficult too.

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