Moving into a dorm, apartment, or house with strangers or friends can be so much fun, during the honeymoon phase. You and your roommate(s) get along, you don’t mind the mess in the kitchen or the living room, you’re super giving and understanding, you guys are invincible — Until the honeymoon phase ends and the fighting starts.
It’s around that time of year when the the three month itch sets in. The leaves change, you’ve been here for a few months and roommate(s) start bickering. Living with someone who may or may not be a stranger and sharing a small space with them is not an easy task. Throw in the stress of tests and general school-related annoyance and you have the perfect recipe for a roommate fight.
Have you been fighting with your roommate(s)? Are you approaching your boiling point?
Read below for some tips on how to deal with roommate problems, both legitimate and ridiculous.
First off, don’t let every little thing they do annoy you. Your roommate(s) may smack their gum loudly, tap their pens like drum sticks or watch Netflix without headphones on the couch next to you when you’re trying to study, but letting those little annoyances creep into your head will only make things worse. You’ll start getting into the ridiculous fights over why your hairbrush is on the bathroom counter instead of in the drawer where it belongs, a blanket left unfolded on the floor, a dish left unwashed in the sink, etc. I know this is hard, but as hard as it is when everything seems so stressful, ignore those little annoyances. The more you ignore them the less you will start to hear them. You don’t have time to worry about that silly stuff anyway.
If you have a chance to go home or stay at a friend’s place for a night or two, or even the whole weekend, do it. Space is one of the best things to get when you find yourself annoyed with your roommate(s), or feel like they are annoyed with you. A little space can go a long way. It gives all parties involved a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on the situation after having some time apart to calm down and regroup.
You also have the option of reaching out to a third party who is not involved in the situation. Doing this will allow for a fresh ear to listen to your complaints and give you advice on what to do. They can tell you if you are being silly about the situation or if you have a real issue to figure out. Even if you don’t get the advice you need or the answers you want to hear, they can give you a much-needed vent session.
Lastly, always keep communication lines open, even when things get tense. If something is bothering you, tell your roommate(s) what it is and always make sure to never leave things unsaid. Leaving things unsaid will only make the situation worse, because ff you let things sit and fester they will only become worse and friendships could end or be damaged. If something bothers you about what your roommate(s) are doing, tell them right away and figure out how to solve the problem.
Always be open and honest with your roommate(s) and talk everything out. The honeymoon phase may be over but it’s time to open a new chapter in your book. Don’t let the little things get you down, and if you have an awesome relationship with your roommate(s), don’t let it fizzle out over a silly argument even if at the moment it seems like the end of the world.
Collegian Columnist Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @tamrasmalewitz.