I know we have all experienced that one person that we thought would be perfect to live with. You spend a little time with them and the vibes are all right – he or she is cool, chill, got common sense, and most importantly, the chemistry is there. You feel like you hit the jackpot and you just know you found your new, best friend. Yas…….. You betta!
Fast forward to two months of living together and you are literally contemplating fighting them when they get home! Things aren’t the way they used to be. Everything they do irritates you and they have become your worst enemy – in your head. They’re loud when all you want is a little quiet, they’re rude and complain too much, and you either dread when they come home or when you have to go home and they’re there.
Congratulations my friend, what you are experiencing is The Roommate Blues! Whether you like it or not, you will most likely be a victim of choosing the wrong person to live with at least once or twice in your life. And because you ain’t trying to do that murder bid for nobody, here’s a guide on how to handle the pressure of living with your unwanted housemate:
1. Jesus be a fence!
In times like these, I find comfort in asking myself What Would Jesus Do! Although it can be a little difficult to accept the answer, praying in a situation like this, especially in the heat of the moment, can do wonders in providing you with peace at a time when all you see is fire. In my own experience, reading a few scriptures from the Bible has literally saved me countless times from snapping on somebody and allowed me to remain gentle with my words and actions. Seriously, a little Jesus goes a long way!
2. Seek guidance.
Seeking counsel from someone who you respect and has wisdom is a must. Because you are in the situation, you will most likely have a very skewed view of the problem – it’s them. However, nine times out of ten, it’s them and it’s a whole a lot of you too! Having someone there to help you evaluate the situation and pinpoint your mistakes is important to knowing how to fix it. Yes, they used your last two eggs without asking but did you really have to turn up like that?
3. Inquiry beforehand.
Before the side-eyes and no-she-didn’ts, it is imperative that you TALK to your roommate as a roommate and not as your bestfriend. This is new territory for the both of you, which means that preparation is key to avoiding silly mistakes. Ask your roommate what she needs from you as a roommate and have her do the same to you. Write down each others responses and hold each other accountable.
4. Set boundaries.
Setting boundaries on what is acceptable and what is not is important in any relationship, especially one in which you are living with another person. Specifically detail cleaning schedules, rent and bill payments, and grocery/household funds – whether you’re splitting everything 50/50 or switching off responsibilities monthly. Whatever the plan is, come to an agreement, and stick to it!
5. It’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it.
We all know that one girl that everybody looks at sideways because of her tone. And if you don’t know her, then it’s you. Speaking to people with respect and dignity can quickly turn a bad situation into a tolerable one. When discussing things that you would like your roommate to change or do, it is of uber importance that you approach the situation with a tone that is appropriate. People are usually very sensitive to constructive criticism anyway, so you having to discuss how this person has to change already places negativity in the atmosphere. Replace it with a positive tone and if you’re feeling a little adventurous, positive speech, and you’ve got what we call an adult.
6. Compromise, compromise, and then comprise some more.
Society teaches us that compromising is for the weak and vulnerable. Demand what you want and you’ll get it. Let me ask you, has that worked out for you yet? There’s a major difference between being weak and compromising. Being unyielding and miserable in your own home is a recipe for disaster and will lead you to being featured on an episode of Snapped! Putting aside the need to be right and making a mutual concession of accommodations is important for both parties and has the ability to shape a happy home. Instead of keeping the ketchup in the cabinet, put it in the refrigerator like your roommate wants, and forgo the argument – who knows, in time you may actually prefer it being in the refrigerator yourself.
7. Look on the bright side.
This is but a time in your life and it too shall pass. Keeping in mind that your current situation will not last forever will help you make the most out of your time now. Instead of focusing on all the negative characteristics of your roommate, celebrate the things that they do right. And remember it could be worse – you could be rooming with that one girl your other friend is rooming with.
Learning how to deal with unpleasant experiences will be instrumental in your personal growth and development. Yes, it may seem insurmountable in the moment and you may feel that your current situation will never end but, it will. Just be sure not to miss the lesson. And remember you’re an adult now, so handle it like one!