Statistically, ending up with an incompatible roommate may not happen more than once; however, real life relationships don’t always fit neatly into a mathematical one. Some efforts are made toward compatibility when you are assigned a roommate in a college dorm. However, it may not turn out to be a good match. If it’s clear right away, request a change, so that you both can get on with an education. It’s not always an easy read.
With a momentous flourish of boxes and plastic tape, people become roommates, and much to their horror, discover they cannot tolerate each other. This unfortunate experience may occur unexpectedly, such as in a college dormitory, or more shocking still, sealed with a hug, when two friends decide to save a few dollars on rent. The number of ways people can differ, and irritate each other, occupies every space we can visualize along a bell curve. Sadly, there are some roommates that are gifted with more than a few items on that continuum.
Naturally, roommates come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and spiritual persuasions. They frequently have family and friends, or both, whose inclination is to further sully an otherwise lukewarm living situation. It will take some time for the negative emotions begin to take their toll on any one of the people involved with roommates, whether there is one, or more than one. The more roommates, the more frustrating the situation can become.
A short list of things that can go wrong:
1. The toilet isn’t appropriately flushed.
2. The used kitchenware is not properly cleaned and stored away.
3. Wrappers and other food related leftovers are left scattered on furniture.
4. Unclean clothing is casually distributed around the communal living space.
5. Cell phone conversations are poorly timed and interfere with others trying to sleep.
6. Failure to self start in the morning give a person reason to be slovenly because they are in a hurry.
7. Opinions are offered, although they are unsolicited.
8. Relatives/friends are invited to sleep over without approval of roommate.
9. Poor timing, and an inconsiderate attitude, make for many disagreeable moments.
10. Borrowing of money, clothes, books, etc., etc., etc., becomes an ugly source of disappointment.
There are a lot of conversations and consultations that might serve to ameliorate the disagreements between people who live together as roommates. However, there is no magic bullet, other than both parties willing to examine the details of the specific problems. There is no way to resolve the emotional chaos that comes from having your home environment turned into a battlefield.
The two most important considerations when living with other people, whether they are family, or roommates, are respect and manners. Oh, yes, and a sense of humor is always of great value too.
Last but not least, roommates should establish some rules right out of the gate. When there are established ways of doing things, it’s easier for everyone to behave in a more thoughtful way. The more casual the rules become, the easier it is for everyone to choose to be a better roommate. Habits established at the beginning of a roommate situation are easier to keep, and a whole lot better than trying to change bad habits later on.
As education, and not roommate compatibility, should be the main focus of effort in college. When there are fundamental, insurmountable, personality differences between roommates, it may be better to arrange another living situation as soon as it is possible.