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Whether it is your freshman year of college and you are just experiencing “dorm life” for the first time or you are about to graduate and are sharing an apartment, experiencing roommates during your time at MU is inevitable. With that being said, it is not always easy. Even if you are living with your closest friend, with whom you have everything in common, annoying situations are bound to arise. Here are some easy tips and a word of advice on coexisting with others!

Nightmare Roommates

We have all heard or read stories of “nightmare roommates” who are a total disaster to live with. It is more than likely that at some point you have stumbled across a Reddit post or watched a YouTube storytime displaying this exact narrative. You know, the typical: “I woke up to my roommate watching me sleep”, or maybe even the: “my roommate sabotaged my shampoo and now my hair is falling out” stories? To ease your mind, these are purely accounts of random people on the internet. Therefore, the validity of these oh-so-tragic tales is still up in the air. Being roomed with a stranger can be scary. However, it will ease your mind to hear that 99% of the time, your roommate is a regular person just like you. Although they may not have the same style or outlook on life as you do, they are still a person, so it is important to try to have an open mind! 

Just Talk!

Communication is key. We have all heard that one, have we not? This is absolutely essential when it comes to living with someone else. Everyone has different routines, therefore, it is important to establish each person’s individual needs at the beginning of your living experience. All things considered, friendly communication is necessary in order to make any sort of progress with your roommates. So, be gracious and give them the benefit of the doubt. It is highly unlikely that your roommate is intentionally trying to inconvenience you. If you start off with hostility and accusations, you will only create enemies that you are stuck living with for the rest of the year. 

Give n’ Take

If living with roommates has taught me one thing, it is tolerance. You must keep in mind that whatever space you are sharing is not solely yours. For that reason, there is a good chance that not everything will be perfectly how you would like it to be all of the time. There might be an occasional cup out of place or a shoe laying around here and there. With this being said, it is important to pick and choose your battles. Not everyone is perfect and there might be times when your roommate was running late and did not have time to put up that dirty dish. Life happens! It is important to not use anger as a first resort. If there is a continuous problem that is arising, that is the time to revert back to step one: Communication. However, evaluate first whether this is a one-time mistake or a legitimate issue that is not being resolved. This by no means takes away your voice! Your living space is also YOURS, so do not be afraid to speak up either. Overall, it is important for you and your roommate(s) to work as a team in order to have an ideal living environment. It is all about compromise!

Keep calm

Having a roommate is intense, to say the least, especially if you have never experienced living with another person before. Every single person has their own way of life and their own wants or needs. Combining two different routines can be challenging at first. It is impossible to never have conflicting schedules or habits. Staying calm, considerate and kind is most important. If you have a roommate who is willing to be flexible, that is wonderful and something you should definitely show appreciation for. We are all trying to get through this stressful college experience together. 

Being a good roommate is a wonderful quality to have. Although we all wish we could simply live in a studio apartment alone and do whatever we please, having experience with roommates is necessary when it comes to surviving in the real world. Even though community living and shared leases might seem like an inconvenience now, it is making you a more well-rounded person. If everyone chose to live on their own or with their family forever, we would never learn important skills like tolerance, accountability, compromise, and, most importantly, communication. Effective communication will take you a long way in life. If you are able to get your point across clearly and politely, people will listen when you have something to say and will take your words into greater consideration rather than if they were met with hostility. 

With all of this being said, life is all about balance. You must balance your consideration for others’ needs and your personal needs appropriately. If you ever feel unsafe or like someone is becoming an immediate risk to you and your well-being, this article does not apply to you. However, if you are simply angry at your roommate over a dirty dish or a sock being on the floor, you came just to the right place and you will get through this!

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