How To Be A Bomb-A++ Roommate

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Whether you’re new to having a roommate or you’ve been living with the same crew for the past couple of years, bunking with someone can be challenging and requires a bit of adjustment. You don’t have to be a people-pleasing doormat, but it’s important not to be a total pain-in-the-ass who develops a chore chart or leaves a dozen passive aggressive smiley notes around the apartment. We have a few simple rules to follow if you want to keep things as copacetic as possible for the next year.

Go with the flow.

If you’re living with a stranger, there’s definitely a learning curve to figuring out how to handle each other’s quirks and living habits. And even if you’re living with old friends, there are certainly things that they do that drive you crazy. The key to maintaining your sanity – and peace in your dorm room – is to go with the flow. This means that if your roommate is a total slob and you’re a neat freak, perhaps discuss a compromise and find some middle ground. Whatever you do, don’t freak out over every little thing that you don’t like.

That said … don’t be a slob.

We get it: People have different standards of what’s an acceptable level of cleanliness. Acting like Miss Hannigan won’t win you any popularity contests, but perhaps even worse than that is being a total slob. Leaving dirty dishes in your bedroom (or even the sink), leaving textbooks and clothes all over your living room and failing to wipe down the bathroom once in a while is just plain inconsiderate. No one’s asking you to spend hours Cloroxing your apartment, but be mindful of the fact that it’s not just your space and have some respect for your roommates.

Set boundaries – and stick to the ones being set for you.

Don’t want your roommate borrowing your clothes without asking? That’s a totally reasonable request. But if your roommate writes his name on a jar of peanut butter signifying that it’s off-limits, you need to respect him, too. Unless you ask for what you want and need – like no guests over during exams time, for example – you can’t expect to get it, so discuss boundaries with your roommate and respect the ones that he or she has for you.

Let go of expectations.

Maybe you assumed that you and your roommate would be besties who’d party together every weekend – but she’s more interested in a forensics club and working on the school paper, and frat parties tend to occupy your time. Or perhaps your roommate always finishes off your shared food without replacing it. Whatever your gripe and disappointment, let go of whatever expectations you have for your roommates and understand that you can’t change people. Adhering to this mentality will make you much more serene – and easy to live with.

Know how to let loose.

It’s cool if you’re not a party boy – but don’t forget that this is college, where people live to socialize, stay up late and are generally up for anything. Don’t be a stick in the mud, demand “quiet hours” after 10 pm or balk at your roommate’s request to hold a party. Learn how to let lose and have a little fun. You’ll be a better man (or woman) for it.

Ali Reynolds

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