All relationships are similar. They are similar because every relationship is held together by emotions and like any other relationship, having a roommate requires those emotions being healthy in others for it to be, well, healthy.
Relationships need to be understood and controlled else they become cancerous and hurt the parties involved in it.
Relationships require that the parties involved cooperate. However, there must be a balance of responsibility. And that balance is dependent on understanding and tolerance.
To explain this, I’ll just use the relationship between two female 🚺 roommates. This can be related to any other form of relationship.
Okay, down to business. The major thing here is emotions; how to manage and channel them, and by them, I mean yours and those of your counterpart. So, here we go
TIP 1: LET THEM TALK – Listen to their thoughts and opinion
Living with a person requires that you know exactly how they feel. You have to know what they like eating for breakfast and dinner, what disgusts them, what gets them psyched and all that other good stuff, because, hey! this is not a pet you are living with.
Living with a roommate is not as simple as feeding a pet, caressing it and then taking it for a walk, you got to know what they feel, deep down. You got to know how they think. You must know what they are capable of and incapable of, at least when they aren’t drunk or something…
It takes time, that is why roommates that stick together for long usually have many things in common, not because they met each other that way, but because they got to know each other very well, and with time started mimicking each other while at the same time correcting each other. It is like they say, “iron sharpens iron”.
To do this, I mean the whole “let them talk” thing, you must learn to listen. Yes, you must be willing to listen to all their stories, jokes, and B.S (and by B.S I don’t mean Bachelor of Science, I mean BULLSHIT!).
You got to ask, “how are you doing?”,” What is happening? and so on and so forth. Then you got to listen. Listen to what they were most excited to tell you about, what they really didn’t want to tell you about, and what they were indifferent about.
This is because those tiny changes in voice tones when they talk carries much weight. They are essentially showing you a piece of their soul each time they talk to you. And that is why even the things they don’t want to talk about might be indications of heftier issue lurking within the corners of their hearts which you might want to press on to know, because, hey! this is your roommate not your pet.
Being willing to listen to their B.S and all other types of uncomfortable conversations is what makes all the difference. If she tells you of this one time she had sex with a fellow girl, then trust me, she has left a piece of her life in your hands, and you don’t want to joke with that, ever, not even during fights.
suggested article about sex and the university, click here
It goes without saying that you should not let every other person know the deepest secrets of your roommates. You don’t want to hurt them, do you?…
TIP 2: TALK – Express your thoughts and opinions clearly
As you must have observed from the above tip, talking makes one vulnerable and prone to getting hurt, and this is why you must do it.
It is very difficult to live with someone who clearly doesn’t value what you value or respects the things you respect, and you shouldn’t even be thinking of living with someone who doesn’t respect you (whatever your interpretation of respect is), because that would be a very miserable state of existence, but guess what? no one would value or respect you if you don’t teach them how to.
How would they know what you value or tolerate? how would they know what irritates or disgusts you? How would they know your crush to avoid going for him or your religion to avoid making jokes about it? There is no other way, except you open up and talk.
You have to go on lengthy talks about your favorite ice-cream and how you hate spaghetti. You have to tell them how you hate or love pornography, you have to tell them how much you love some peace and quiet once in a while or how much you hate that she crosses her legs over you when she sleeps.
All the petty and annoying things must be spelled out clearly, because when they are bottled up, and then get shaken over and over again, with time they go burst and then the neighbors would start separating fights about the toothpaste and trashcan.
The trick is to be clear, precise and concise. You can’t tell me you love egg, only for me to discover that you hate it boiled just after I finished boiling five eggs for breakfast, my dear you must eat it, what nonsense…
Where were we again? okay. Tip 3
TIP 3: DON’T TALK – Learn to maintain respect even when upset
By this time, you must be thinking I was drunk when writing this piece, but no, I’m sober, too sober for my liking. The third tip says don’t talk and that is getting me pissed right now.
I mean, how could she leave the room scattered, and what’s that smell? damn, she didn’t even flush the toilet after peeing, this girl must be mad or retarded. Where’s my phone? I’m calling to tell her exactly what I think of her
Psst! Hey, its David, don’t call her yet.
I know your friends finally decided to pay you a visit only to meet this hazard but wait for a minute. Give yourself time to calm down. She might be stupid and all, but you don’t have to be the mad one. You should calm down, and ask WHY?’
And I don’t mean that you should yell so loud that the speakers start zinging, I mean you should, in a calm tone (as calm as you can get) after giving yourself some time to cool off, ask her what happened. You might be surprised to hear the most logical reason come out from those lips of hers.
Anger is a biggie when it comes to living with people. No one is comfortable where peace is unavailable. And peace on its own doesn’t exist except someone tries to create it (that person should be you).
This is your house, your home, not a battleground. If the conversation gets too heated take a break, leave the room for a while, give yourself time to calm down. You could text or chat on instant messengers. Try to understand what the other persons reasons where.
If you are still too angry or the person doesn’t have any genuine reason, you are left with few options, which include asking them not to repeat the action, taking measures to prevent that from repeating itself or simply ending the roommateship (That word doesn’t exist, but who cares).
The point is, you should never let things degrade to the point of verbal or even physical aggression. Avoid this at all cost. The amazing thing is that you might meet them somewhere else and discover that they are cool to hang out or work with, it’s just that they don’t fit your requirements for a roommate. Respect them.
suggested article about anger management : click here
TIP 4: ACT – lead by example
There are a lot of things that can’t be said. And there are even more that are better done than said. And that is why living by example is so sexy and powerful.
Some people love waking up in the morning to do the dishes, sweep the floor and take their baths, others just love lying in bed till the sunlight becomes unbearably bright. Whatever end of the spectrum you are, you should make sure to live by example.
If you want things done early in the morning, then start doing things early, if you like doing things when they are pressing, then you know what to do. No matter what you do, don’t demand your roommate to do something that you aren’t doing yourself, because if you do the end would most likely be catastrophic and nobody wants that
If you love being complimented before you leave the house in the morning, make sure you compliment your roommate first, if you like meeting the room tidy when you come back from a long day, then be the first to arrange the room, if you like coming home to already prepared meal, then do it for your roommate first: that is the only way to make them understand you and your preference.
Yap all you want, action would still be louder, and I can assure you, you won’t even have the mouth to ask if you haven’t fulfilled your own part of the unwritten deal – unless you’re an entitled “assface”
This flows down to respect and privacy; you don’t like someone opening your phone and going through it, then don’t do that. You don’t like being called silly names, then you know what to do…do unto others what you want them to do unto you – Jesus said that.
TIP 5: COMPROMISE – Reach an agreement
As with every human relation, there is bound to be a time when your wishes would never and can never be able to align. These are the precious moments when you guys would have to agree to make minor sacrifices.
These are the moments where you would agree to put up with her late nights, which demand you waking up by 1AM every morning to get the door, and she would have to put up with your loud gospel music. And Oh! let us just agree not to bring the Bible study group to the house and I promise to stop having sex every weekend on the Christian leaders favourite chair.
Compromise requires you reaching an agreement that would hurt a little but is necessary if the roommatship is ever going to continue. It also requires you turning down the music because she has a test tomorrow morning.
Well, in case the compromise can’t be reached, then use tip 6
TIP 6: FIGHT – Set strong boundaries
You can’t believe how pissed I can get when someone wears my shirt, I know its irrational, but darn! I get pissed, so, It goes without saying that my roommate doesn’t wear my clothes or shoes. And according to TIP 4, I showed him how serious I was about this by not wearing his belongings either.
There is nothing dysfunctional about this, it is called boundaries, and it is necessary if any roommateship is going to survive the long hurl. As a matter of fact, boundaries should be set on the use of towels, toothbrushes, roll-ons and personal belongings in general. And of course, boundaries should be set on sexual partners (sharing that is possible, but not advisable, for reasons best seen in the movies; Hint: it has something to do with losing your life).
These are the things you should boldly say, “No”. When you pine up these resentments and spite for long, they would one day burst and lead to really ugly outcomes, remember Tip 2.
This is not to say you should be a little “dickhead” about every little thing, it’s just a reminder that you should clearly state what you can’t compromise on (Tip 5).
TIP 7: RESPECT – Value or at least respect their Values
Although hard sometimes, this is very crucial. It’s something I even struggle with a lot. It requires you valuing what your roommate values. It requires you trying your best to see the value your roommate places on a thing in that thing. It requires you seeing the thing they spend their time doing as important.
it requires you avoiding the temptation to engage in any form of mockery of their job or skill. If she washes dead bodies for a living, then respect that, if she decides to play a part in a porn movie, then respect that. If you can’t, then leave and stop being their roommate, it’s within your right, it’s your boundary, remember tip 4 and 5.
On a serious note, anything can be laughed at. You can’t imagine the look on most Nigerian Parents faces when they hear that their child wishes to take football as a career, but is it really a job to be mocked – I think Kanu Nwankwo would be in a better position to answer that.(If you ask me, I’ll tell you that it’s a good job, not because I love football, I don’t spend 90 minutes of my life watching people trying to get a ball to cross a line, but because I think the footballers are making good money, just look at the crowd that pay to watch them, it’s insane, its good business)
More than just tolerating, respect requires that you encourage and support their hustle. It requires you to be willing to listen to them talk about it and their plans about it; remember Tip 1
TIP 8: UNDERSTAND – Watch yourself
The final tip is kind of counterintuitive. It requires you totally forgetting about your roommate and all her wacky behaviors. It requires you to look at yourself, and actively seeking out your own flaws.
The more you realize you are not perfect, the more you would be able to understand that that insufferably annoying roommate of yours is just you in another skin.
We humans are very quick to judge but wait. This is your roommate. If there is any benefit of having a roommate, it is to help you see how flawed you could be. And trust me, they would expose that to you sooner or later, prepare for it.
Because, when two people fight, they are very sure that the other is wrong, yet in most cases, they both are.
Your job as a roommate is to try to tolerate your roommate whilst trying to trim off her excesses as she as well tries to trim off your excesses. And I can assure you that within a few months or years, you both would be identical. Having that bond that is so strong that people begin to wonder if you girls were sisters.
You can’t always be right, and some situations don’t have either right or wrong, they are simply just problems. And if you are sensible enough, your aim in such crisis should be to look for a solution, not hulk-smashing the others face.
Looking past the words they used or how they used it to how they felt when they spoke those words. Looking past the petty surface annoyances to the deep emotional fuels that triggered them. This is what would keep you in their heart, and them in yours for life.
If you can keep these eight tips, then you won’t have much challenges handling money or dishing out responsibility.
Emotions run the world, they put everything in motion. Understanding this would reshape all your relationships. It’s the reason a person who understands how his/her roommate feels would always live in peace whilst the person who seeks to be understood would always keep having troubles
I’m an artist, writer, and thinker. I also love reading and playing chess.