The outside world may think that classes are the hardest part of being in school. But college students know that roommates are a much bigger (and trickier) challenge to tackle.
Dorms and apartments are often small, dark, and dirty during your college years (and sometimes beyond tbh). These factors can send your relationship with your roommate in a fast downward spiral. From someone who’s had seven roommates in the past five years, I’ve had my share of experiences and learned a lot in the art of dealing with lots of different types of people while living in really small spaces.
Here are a few of my tried and true pieces of advice for those of you hoping to improve one of the most important relationships in your life:
1—Don’t be passive aggressive. Trust me—I know that’s easier said than done when your roommate hasn’t taken out the trash in at least a month. But being petty and leaving trash bags in front of the door for her to trip over will only leave bad smells and even worse vibes. Instead, try asking her nonchalantly (and with a smile!) if she’ll take it out the next time you see her going outside. Afraid of confrontation? A friendly written note left on the trash bag never hurt anyone, especially with some added smiley faces. One thing to remember, however, is to avoid texting about sensitive matters—no matter how many emojis are added, I’ve found that texts almost never come across the way they’re intended. (Photo via @alexadmendoza)
2—Little things go a long way. College can be seriously rough, and going home to a loveless dorm after a hard day can make problems feel even worse. You never know what your roomie has been going through, so why not do something nice for her just because? If she’s having a good day, you’ll make it better. But if she’s having a bad day, you can help turn it around—and maybe even bring the two of you closer in the process. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture—leave out a vase of flowers in your bathroom or kitchen, buy her a candle (and light it before she comes home!), or make her a cup of tea while she’s stressing over homework. You’ll undoubtedly bring a smile to her face and your own. (Photo via @sarahgargano29)
3—Keep it clean. You get annoyed with your roommate for being messy, but are you practicing what you preach? A little organization and effort goes a long way in keeping the peace, and preparation can solve more problems that you can imagine. Incorporate a few organizational tools into your life—a planner for the fridge to keep track of big dates and chores, cute storage to hold random items (read: annoying stuff you trip over everyday), or a mail holder to store all the random mail neither of you know what to do with. Even if your roomie ignores the new additions at first, there’s a great chance she will catch onto your efforts and eventually join in herself. (Photo via @kierraxmakayla)
4—Be understanding. You may not love your roommate’s friends or her choice in music, but try to let her be herself without infringing upon her personal life. If her friends have moved in full time or she blasts music while you’re studying for a test, that’s not okay. But if she wants to have some friends over on a Friday night or play her music out loud for a little while? Do your best not to complain, because in the end it’s her space, too. Try to set up a private space of your own with a space divider, find a comfortable place outside of your dorm to escape to, or invest in some really good headphones to drown out any unwanted noise. And try to be your most understanding, empathetic self. As long as you are both able to live comfortably in your space most of the time, it’s worth keeping your complaints to yourself to keep the peace. (Photo via @keepingitkrischic)
What tips have you found that help you and your roommate coexist in harmony and minimal arguments? Let us know in the comments below!