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There is nothing better in life than gambling on a new roommate who turns out to be your BFF. But when it goes the other way? Dealing with terrible roommates, especially in college, is a life trend that most people can relate to, and there is an assortment of advice on how to sort it out (or at least survive until the end of your lease).
Maybe you haven’t experienced it yet, but brush up on these common disagreements and how to handle them in preparation. Trust me, you’ll need them sooner or later.
Communication
Most roommate issues come up because of miscommunication or a lack of communication. When that happens, be willing to work things out. If you were in the wrong, be willing to admit it. If they were wrong, don’t try to rub it in.
Bad communication may not even happen on purpose. If your communication styles don’t mesh well, be open and honest about it. That way, if they persist, you both are aware that it’s not intentional. It will be something that will take a bit more effort is all.
Space
Arguments can break out over pretty much anything, but encroaching on someone else’s space will always be at the top of the list. If you share a room, it could be that their belongings are overflowing into your territory or it feels like a mess because it’s literally never clean.
In the kitchen, someone could be eating your food and using your ingredients to excess when you know they have the means to replace it or get their own. Dishes may stack up in the sink, books and shoes may be strewn across the front room. Whatever it is, avoid being passive-aggressive. It will only cause more tension.
Issues with space might have nothing to do with the apartment and everything to do with personal space. It’s okay to leave the four walls of your BYU-I housing to get away. If you’re the touchy one, don’t assume everyone loves hugs. And if you like at least three feet between yourself and another human being, don’t be afraid to let people know.
Drama
Everyone takes their turn being dramatic. Yes, even the person who claims they abhor drama. The best thing you can do when you’re drowning in someone else’s drama is separate yourself from it.
That may mean telling your roommate you can’t listen to them vent, giving yourself permission not to care or permission to be amused when you see it happening. If you can keep a level head during their dramatic moments, and give them friendly support instead of exploding yourself, chances are they will try to do the same thing for you when it’s your turn to melt down.
Empathy
One of the most effective ways to prevent irrational responses is to put yourself in their shoes. You might think they deserved to fail that class, but it doesn’t hurt any less to fail. You might not have had the same experiences they are going through, but you’ve had experiences similar enough that you get the idea.
Do your best to be kind and give a listening ear. They won’t always want advice and I-told-you-so’s, so tone down the judgment for a minute. If you don’t think you can play the friend, find someone who can and they can help you to be more sympathetic.
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