Living with friends often spoils relationships

Mary Morris and Gillian Feehan

Contributing Writers

Trying to find a good roommate is like taking a shot without a chaser. Some people can do it, and some people cannot. Then there are the many unfortunates who think they can, only to find out later when their head is hanging over the porcelain throne of regret that they were so very wrong.

The relationship between roommates is meant to be one of mutual respect. One would think this might mean doing your best to keep from waking the other up or giving each other some privacy when in a bad mood, but some roommates just don’t see things from your perspective. You try your best to be quiet when she’s napping, but she invites some friends over when you’ve pulled an all-nighter cramming for an exam.

After having your roommate selected for you your first year, many students assume that living with friends will be a more pleasant experience. But in some situations, this dream come true can turn into a nightmare before closing your eyes on the first night. Rooming with your friend prevents honest communication about habits and living styles that become problematic to the relationship. You may fear that confronting these issues will strain, and maybe even ruin, your relationship. Is telling her she’s a slob in the hopes of her cleaning up really worth the attitude you’ll be getting for the next few days?

So you try to subtly get your point across (hints about being woken up yet again this morning or writing funny notes about the dirty dishes in the sink), but your pleasantly oblivious roommate does not get the hint. After months of little annoyances, you are about to completely lose it. What do you do now?

First, take some time for yourself–go for a run, buy yourself a coffee or go to the Freez. Treat yourself like royalty! It’s hard to be rational when pushed to the brink of insanity. Once your jets have cooled, calmly approach your roommate, sit down and talk it out. Mention your problems without becoming too accusatory, listen to each other, think of some solutions and come to a compromise. You will be thankful that you took the time to sort your issues out.

There may be no relationship more demanding and fragile than the one between college roommates. Despite believing that everyone has the same experiences and background as you, it is important to keep in mind that no matter how good of friends you are, living with someone reveals all the little quirks and peculiarities that have developed over 18 plus years that your grooming cannot override. There will be rough times ahead for many future roomies, and when those times come, remember: compromise is always better than a screaming match.

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