How to make it work with your roommate

By Laura Stall

When I started college, I was warned that I might not end up being good friends with whoever I was assigned a room with. I was also told that I could end up hating the person I lived with.

I was lucky enough to be assigned a room with someone who not only was a great roommate, but also became a great friend.

However, not everyone is so lucky. In our group of friends alone, my roommate and I have had the best turnout. One of our friends moved out of his room after one week due to his roommate’s unusual (for lack of a better term) habits.

Our other friend moved out of her room when her roommate got a new boyfriend and made things very awkward for everyone.

We also met one of our best friends in the middle of the year when she switched to our building after things didn’t work out with her roommate.

So how is it that my roommate and I got such a good deal? And how can one ensure that his or her roommate experience will be successful?

Well, in my opinion, it comes down to change. It’s really about how much one is willing to change about his or her lifestyle.

Let’s face it: we have all formed certain habits while we lived at home, whether it’s never putting clothes away, sleeping with noise machines, fans or night-lights, or setting bedtimes/wake-up times, regardless of what we have to do the next day.

However, when one is then forced to share their living space with another person, he or she can no longer only think of themselves when going through their normal routine.

Now there’s someone else in the room who is affected by it as well. If you’re not willing to change some of them, then you’re in trouble.

My roommate and I both have admitted that at home, we don’t usually put our clean clothes away immediately after doing laundry, and tend to lead messier lives.

I always have to go to sleep with music. But in our room, we make sure that everything’s put away as soon as possible, and I use headphones when I fall asleep, so I don’t have to worry about waking her up with my music.

My roommate has to wake up early for classes. She makes and eats breakfast in the bathroom some mornings because she doesn’t want to bother me when I sleep. We’ve both had to change certain things about our daily routines to make sure that living together won’t result in one of us hating the other.

From everything I’ve heard from people who have had problems with their roommates, it always comes down to a lack of respect for the other person.

It’s always one person being too loud while the other tries to sleep, or one person leaving their clothes or other belongings all over the room. Sure, we all did that at home, but now we have other people to think about.

I don’t think my roommate and I would be friends today if either she or I were a bad roommate. I imagine it would be difficult to like her if the way she lived made me angry and she would probably dislike me if the way I lived angered her.

Now this might not be the case with everyone. Maybe it is possible to be friends with, or live civilly alongside, a bad roommate.

But, more often than not, if the person won’t accept the fact that he or she can no longer live in the same fashion as they did at home, the situation won’t go well, and a change in living arrangements might be in order.