Do you know of ANY family that doesn't have conflicts? Just take a look at your own family. The answer is obvious, no? Whenever two grownups share the same 'home' space daily, some needless conflicts are bound to arise, even over trivial matters. Similarly, conflicts with your student roommate(s) can also be pretty common. Just like husband and wife squabbles, you also have to manage the petty issues. It's next to impossible to avoid your roommate 24/7 without moving, so it's best to tackle the issues as they come up. What's the point of letting the troubles burn up your insides?
If your roommate is pretty good, try to let minor things go.. If they are not matching your expectations, sit down with them and have a respectful conversation. Talk in a friendly manner. Use 'I' statements (I feel, I thought...) Perhaps some of your activities don't seem appropriate to your roommate either? The person/people sharing your room/apartment also have the right to mention your irritating actions.
Think of the situation as a teeter totter: On one end, in your opinion, your roommate has unbearable habits, and on the other end, your roommate simply can’t stand some of your behaviours. Like the teeter totter, whoever pushes the hardest triumphs, but leaves the other wallowing in the dirt. Who truly wins? Nobody. Unless and until both of you try to fix your issues, it will be pretty challenging to get a 'balanced' resolution.
Smart people always figure out solutions. The best solution, for the conflicts with a roommate, is to sit down with them and discuss the behaviours that you can't ignore/accept. Speak of how these issues make you feel; explain the problem in a calm manner. You too may have some undesirable behaviours, which you’re not conscious of, or which you don't realize irritate your roommate(s).
So, knowing the basic norms for living with a roommate(s) will help you manage, or even prevent, these minor, regular-life issues. Below, we have listed our top 7 choices of behaviours you must maintain while sharing a living space.
First things first, up until recently, you’ve lived your whole life with your family. So whenever you ran out of toothpaste, you went to the next room and got toothpaste from your brother. No problem.
Now you’re sharing a room with another person, a relative stranger. You don’t know their values or habits. Your roommate is probably also sharing a room for the first time. If you take their toothpaste without consent, said person will most likely not take it lightly.
Using the other person’s stuff might not be a big issue to you. But it might be 'the end of the world' to your roommate. It’s always better to be on the safe side and only use each other’s goods if you have permission. Take time to get used to sharing each other's space.
It's a pretty typical mistake we make while sharing a room with another person. My parents always insisted that I should do everything possible to become best friends with my roommate(s). But in reality, things are not like this.
What on earth makes it obligatory for your roommate and you to be bosom pals? sometimes, it’s good enough to maintain a formal association with them. It could save your sanity. It might also save you from disasterous outcomes caused by unavoidable events.
If your roommate is your best friend, you will sometimes feel you have no privacy. Their expectations of you might skyrocket. For example, though you may not be feeling well, they could expect you to join a late-night get-together. To maintain the friendship, you feel you reluctantly must join your friend. Similar situations could occur multiple times a month. Going forward, it could become a big problem and even cost you the friendship. I have seen many cases where best friends lived together and after a few months, they couldn’t even stand the sight of each other. Sometimes, having a little detachment is the best option to maintain the status quo.
Communication is the key, they said. But it's a fact of life that having a close attachment with another person can be challenging. As well, not communicating is mentally draining to you when in any relationship.
Just think about a hypothetical circumstance: Two people are sharing a tiny room and talk to each other once or twice a day. How do you think this atmosphere will feel? Simple, there will always be a cold front in that room. And what then happens if someday you’re feeling low emotionally and all of your actual friends are busy? Or you've got some great news? You won’t have anyone to share your feelings with.
We all like to share our extreme moments with the first person we find, who often is the person we live with. If there's a cold front in your room, you're out of luck. A little daily communication with your roommate may one day save your day, whether it’s the most incredible day or the worst day of your life.
Since you’re sharing a room(s) off campus, you have to share some of the common costs with your roommate. Sometimes, you may be preoccupied with your studies and assignments. It’s the end or beginning of the month, and the bills are due. Tempers may flare! If neither of you gives a headsup and finds a solution to this, a similar incident will keep happening every month. Both of you will wait for the other to sort out the billing issue. Then, at the end of the month, each will suffer equally. It’s smart to set out the rules when you start sharing the room(s).
Another area of conflict: Let me share a personal experience. I like to enjoy the sunrise and have always thought that morning is the best gift to humans. Enjoying daylight is another way to enjoy your life. So, I used to open all the curtains and windows early in the morning, but not everyone held the same position. My roommate didn’t like light entering the room in the early morning.
Maybe you like to enjoy movies with a speaker? Exams are upon you and your roommate. It’s the night before their most important one. What are you going to do? Or, it may be the most crucial cricket match of the year. You are exuberant about the game. On the other hand, your friend doesn’t even care about cricket. Instead, enjoying the latest tv series would be more pleasing to them. What are you going to do?But, neither of you are willing to be considerate; therefore, conflict mounts when you both want to watch tv at the same time. One must concede so that conflict doesn't get out of hand. Otherwise, nobody is going to get any kind of entertainment and a cold front may move in.
Being proactive and considerate can help you sort out these small issues way before they become a problem.
Going back to another personal example; my roommate used to enjoy tv shows. I would always find him watching tv shows in his free time. Seeing someone watch tv shows is enough for me to get a headache. He moved one step further. While watching shows, he used to pause and discuss dialogue or scene-perspectives with me. My roommate was expecting a similar kind of enthusiasm from me.
Not a big deal, right? Looking back, it seems so trivial now. I could have avoided any issue by speaking to him about it. Due to room-sharing inexperience and diffidence, I ignored the issue multiple times and started ignoring what he said. Later, the situation got worse, day by day. Even when my roommate approached me for an important task, I was reluctant to weigh in on his discussion. I could have avoided the conflict, if I had spoke with him about my preferences on the first day.
One of the most common issues in sharing a room is cleaning. Your friend likes to have late-night hangouts with his friends. They party all night on the weekends. The room gets trashed. Now, few people like to wake up and see messy surroundings. Obviously, this is a problem.
It may be entirely okay to have get-to-gethers in the room (Set the rule from day 1!), but clean up afterwards, as soon as it ends. Setting rules like 'you can do this and not that', in agreement with your roommate, just might avoid major conflicts.
During the weekend, it’s time for scheduled cleaning. The previous week, your roommate cleaned all of the living room stuff. This week it’s your turn, but, you procrastinate. Next weekend, your roommate will also procrastinate, deliberately. Living there will become intolerable. So, make a cleaning schedule and follow it diligently.
You probably can't give an example of two roommates who had a conflict. It’s part of life and living. Solving these life conflicts is a sign of maturity. Being proactive about issues and trying to solve them before they get out of hand, will make your life easier. Compromise is often rewarding.
It’s your turn now, to share your room, and to try to avoid the issues mentioned earlier. We know you’re one of the smart people, who acts responsibly in your activities and ignores daily trivial matters in order to have a happy life.