Strategies Of Coexisting With Your Roommate

If you have a roommate, then one of three things is going to happen. You are going to become each other’s best friends and there are times when you are going to save each other from things such as bad dates and missed deadlines. You will become buddies that indefinitely like each other (which is fine), or you are going to spend 30% of your time with your real friends complaining about your roommate. Here are a few strategies to help you coexist with your roommate.

Do not go in with a list of rules

Other articles and family members are going to advise you both to create a list of rules. Do not do this! It is only one-step above labeling each of your eggs with your name in marker pen.

Go in with rules and you will both disappoint each other in the long run. Go in and be courteous with each other and if you are both reasonable people then you will come up with a balance. It is exactly the same as when you move in with your partner when you are older. You cannot go in with a list of rules because that list will become a main arguing point that tears you both apart.

Approach complaints with diplomacy

If there is something that your roommate does that bugs you, then approach it very gently. When you ask them to change what they are doing, make it sound as if you are asking a favor instead of making a demand.

Instead of saying, “Please put the used coffee filters in the bin when you are done with them,” you can say, “Hey, I cleaned the counter today but those coffee stains are tough. If you throw away the coffee filters when you are done then it will help me out a lot.” Obviously, put it in your own delicate and tactful words and try to make it appear as if they are doing you a favor by complying instead of it seeming as if they are taking orders from you.

Tolerate the stuff that doesn’t matter

Does it really matter that much if your roommate’s desk is full of papers? Does it matter that much that they missed under the coffee table when they vacuumed up? Does is matter if they listen to new age music when all you are doing is playing Temple run on your tablet? If you niggle over the little things then they are just going to niggle back when things such as your old shirts end up in their laundry basket.

Ask but do not complain

Complaining to your roommate is the fastest way to turn your relationship bitter. Do not be walked all over, but do stand up for yourself with things that really bother you. Instead of complaining or ordering, you should ask. Here is the difference between the three.

Complaint - Do you have to leave your clothes on the floor? My mother is coming round.
Order - Move your stuff off the floor, my mother is coming round.
Asking - Could you have a quick tidy round of your stuff like your clothes on the floor? My mother is coming round and she loves to give me a hard time about this sort of stuff.

Be firm about having partners and friends over

If any of your roommate’s friends or partners bother you, then you have the right to deny them access to the room. This is one of the unspoken rules and it is okay to create tension with this one. If your roommate has something such as a leering before or a girlfriend that keeps hitting on you, then you must tell your roommate that you do not want them round anymore and tell the roommate why. Tell them if you are not comfortable with their friends coming round. Tell your roommate that you can trust them, but tell your roommate you are not willing to trust your friends. Make any excuse you like, but do not tolerate having people in your room if you are uncomfortable.

Buy a small strong box that is chained under your bed

This is a small strong box that you keep your jewelry, valuables and passwords in. It should be lockable so that only you can access it and it should be chained to something in the room (with a lock on that) or else it will disappear from your room.

If your roommate comments on your strong box, then tell your roommate that you trust them but you do not know who else is going to enter the room. Say that you do not know his or her friends and do not want to risk losing stuff and blaming the roommate unfairly. Also, say that you love your friends but that you do not want to risk trusting them with your stuff. It is better to be safe than sorry, right?