Roommates: A Stephen King horror story or year long slumber party?

When it comes to shared accommodations, whether you live in residence or off-campus, there are usually two outcomes: your roommates either become your future bridesmaids or on the list of people to whom you wish endless bad hair days.

Unfortunately, it’s quite possible it’s the latter. Maybe they’re messy or inconsiderate. Sometimes your personalities might clash or you started off the year with a series of misunderstandings.

Issues with your roommates in tandem with course work, extra-curricular activities and employment can lead to a tremendous amount of stress, and can turn an otherwise amazing university experience into a living nightmare.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to avoid the many possible conflicts you may have with your roommates.

1. Write up a contract, and follow through with it!

You wouldn’t enter a business partnership without writing an agreement, so you shouldn’t enter a rooming situation without signing a contract.

It might seem weird—most people don’t write friendship contracts. However, a roommate isn’t simply a friend. Living together produces multiple sources of conflict, and it isn’t as easy to find a new apartment as it is to unfollow your toxic classmate on Twitter.

Make sure that once you draw up and sign the contract, it doesn’t end up in the back of your junk drawer. If an issue arises, refer to the contract and have a discussion about your next steps. Bringing a third party, or mediator, can also bring additional insight into how to solve the problem.

Many residence advisors have contracts ready for use, but you can also use this template Her Campus writer Sydney Nolan made.

2. Be Understanding

Some people snore, loudly. Other people get up early, blend a protein shake and head to the gym. And yet, even others come home late after a night out.

People have different lifestyles and habits that they build over a lifetime. It’s hard to change and if your roommate is trying to adjust to your needs, you can also take steps to be more accommodating. Come to a middle-ground and co-operate: clean up your crumbs in the kitchen, and they can take the party somewhere else during finals season or tip toe back from their late night adventures.

Keeping an open-mind can offer your relationship space to grow and flourish!

3. Have Realistic Expectations

Maybe your roommate has a group of friends and isn’t keen on bonding with your suitemates. They might not be into hitting up the clubs with you on a Friday night, or they might like to party while you grind at Weldon. You might not always become the best of friends, and you might run into a few little disagreements.

These scenarios aren’t reason for resentment, but can be the basis for an amicable relationship. Just be respectful and inviting!

4. Confrontations

Addressing the elephant in the room usually feels like the elephant is sitting ON you, so people tend to avoid confrontation.

You might really hate when you’re roommate brings her boyfriend and his frat friends over the night before your calculus exam, but it’s not a big deal so you don’t bring it up.

Instead, you push it to the back of your head, along with the memories of the carpet stained with beer and the noise complaints from your neighbours. The spite builds, you snap at little things and your friendship begins to deteriorate.

So address the elephant, but bring out the peanuts. Be clear when explaining your perspective, open to hearing opposing points of view and accept where you may be lacking as well. It doesn’t have to turn into a circus and the elephant might really be an ant.

So there we have it, four ways to make your rooming situation infinitely better! Remember that these are once in a lifetime experiences, so make the most of your current living situation!

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