So I decided to move out of my childhood home and into an apartment, and things have been less than ideal with one roommate. While this has definitely been a stressful situation, I’ve figured out that there was a lot to learn from this experience! So here are my words of wisdom for anyone going through a similar situation, because once you start realizing these things, life gets better.
P.S. I’m sure that my roommate would have a lot of similar things to say about me since we really, really don’t get along, so thanks for the inspiration!
1. You learn how to better deal with difficult people.
While I obviously wish I wasn’t in this situation, I know that this definitely will not be the last time that I deal with a difficult person, and this serves as fantastic practice for real world situations. I may end up with a boss or coworker that I’m not particularly fond of, but I still have to figure out how to interact with them civilly when I see them each day.
2. Pick your battles.
Is it worth it to try and start a conversation that you know will turn into an argument over them not cleaning the entire kitchen like they were supposed to, or should you save your strength for that time in the middle of the week that they decide they are no longer going to take out the trash so they leave it by the door? You learn pretty quickly which ones are a bad idea to pursue and which ones have to be addressed.
3. You learn a lot about yourself in those battles.
I’ve never had a full on argument with someone until this roommate, and it showed me that I don’t have a problem sticking up for myself. I didn’t have any problems refuting useless arguments that were made because I knew what I believed and stuck with it rather than backing down when things got tough. I never knew that I was capable standing up to myself at that level until that first argument we had.
4. You have to laugh it off.
There have been multiple times when the rest of my roommates and I had to laugh about our situation. It’s becoming comical to see what will cause a rise this time because we can’t seem to get anything right. If you take the bad roommate situation too seriously it starts to become an issue that you think about too much, and it becomes detrimental to your mental health.
5. Seriously. Laugh about it.
This is so important it needs to be said twice. When you talk about it with other people you realize just how funny the situation is. Tell your best friend, or the coworker that you’re close to, or the random person at the bus stop. It gets a lot better once you start laughing about it rather than analyzing all of it too closely.
6. Never expect a “thank you.”
This one has probably been one of the hardest for me. There’s a saying that I heard that went something along the lines of “You can’t get mad at someone for not saying thank you when they didn’t ask you to hold the door.” That one hit hard. You often expect a “Thanks for cleaning the bathroom!” or “Thanks for doing the dishes!” Sometimes you get a thank you and it feels good, but once you start expecting it you find yourself getting a lot more frustrated when you don’t hear it.
7. Never expect someone to ask how your day was.
This was another tough one. Growing up we get used to getting home from school, having our moms and/or dads ask how our day was, and we answer without much thought. When you have college roommates, a lot of the time they’re not that interested in how your day went. You get used to walking in, hearing a quick “hey,” and moving on. They have a lot going on too, and if they have a test to study for or an essay to write, they really may just need to focus on themselves, and that’s okay.
8. You have to be able to self-reflect.
When you’re in this type of situation, you always want to assume that you’re right and that’s the end of it. I’ve been wrong multiple times. Do I like admitting that? No. Absolutely not. But because I’m able to take a step back and look at the situation I can see where I’ve been wrong and know that that’s not a path that I want to take again. I have not handled this situation with grace 100% of the time, and I’m more than willing to admit that.
9. If you have a faith or religion, it’s okay to lean on it.
I’m a Christian, and praying about a lot of this has helped. I try to remember that my God has a plan for me, and while this may be a rocky part of His plan, it’s part of the plan nonetheless and there’s a reason I’m going through this at this point in my life.
10. It’s not a forever thing! (Thank goodness)
You don’t have to live with this person for the rest of your life. If they won’t move out before the lease is up, it’s okay. The beauty of a lease it that eventually it does come to an end, and you can all move on.
11. It’s totally okay to not be best friends with your roommates.
Like I said, obviously this roommate is one that I don’t get along with. We probably won’t talk much after our lease is up, if at all, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to realize that you’re better off as friends with some people rather than as roommates. Just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you want to see each other 24/7 or when you come home. It’s okay to need a break from your friends. With roommates, it’s a little harder, so it’s okay if by the end if you decide that living with your friends wasn’t all it was chalked up to be.
12. You’re going to grow, whether you like it or not.
This one is the biggest and probably most important. It encompasses all of the other things on this list because you realize each of them as you go along on your adventure with your not so great roommate. If you don’t grow at all by the time you’re done with your lease and roommate, you’ve wasted a pretty good opportunity.