I always thought it was commonly understood that there are just certain ways to behave. And then, I got a roommate. Unfortunately, a LOT of people seem to have missed the memo on decency. Living in a dorm-like situation has made me realize how many truly awful roommates are out there. So I’ve compiled a short list of some of the basic kindnesses you should grant the people with whom you’re living.
1. Learn to communicate
I just recently had a roommate who would not tell me if something I did bothered her. Instead, she would talk about whatever she didn’t like behind my back, as well as spread lies around. I guess for shits and giggles? I don’t know. Not only is that sort of behavior immature as fuck, it’s just plain stupid. How did she expect any problems to be solved if I didn’t even know what they were? For example, about a week or so after I moved in, I asked how things were going and whether anything I was doing was bothering her. She said everything was fine. I knew that wasn’t true from conversations I’d had with some of her friends.
So I pressed her, and specifically asked about the shower. She said she had no issues there. However, a few hours before, our suitemate had informed me that my roommate had repeatedly complained to her about the ONE HAIR I LEFT in the shower after painstakingly cleaning it each morning (I found a huge ball of blondish hair in the shower the next day, but this girl’s hypocrisy is a whole other story). When given the opportunity to air out any issues, she still chose to lie and avoid the problem. She was the exemplar for insane passive-aggressive behavior.
2. Be Respectful if Someone is Sleeping
There are two girls down the hall who have been fighting like cats and dogs. One of their main issues has been one of them being too loud when the other is sleeping. They actually recently had a screaming match that almost dissolved into a fist fight because of that type of issue.
Unfortunately, this sort of conduct is extremely common. A few days ago, a guy I know proudly informed me that he blasts heavy metal at like 6 a.m., because he “doesn’t give a fuck”. Apparently, he plays the music so loud it can clearly be heard at both ends of the hallway, even with doors closed. He thinks that’s funny. It’s a simple courtesy to be a little more conscious of noise when your roommate is sleeping. Slamming doors, playing music loudly, and repeatedly snoozing your alarm EVERY SINGLE MORNING, are all really rude things to do if someone is trying to sleep.
3. Say “Good Morning” Back
Like seriously, this is SO obvious. I’m strongly fighting the urge to face palm because, really guys? How old are we? It’s like a fundamental rule of being a human being: If someone greets you, return the greeting. No one should have to be told this. And yet, a friend of mine told me she regularly says hi to her roommate, only to be returned with icy silence. Like, why? It literally takes 3 seconds to say “good morning” to someone. Is that really too much effort?
4. Adhere to Basic Standards of Hygiene
I heard about this guy who was apparently consistently refusing to bathe. He would play sports all day, jump into bed without changing or washing, and then start the next day in the same clothes. His odor was so strong he was making others sick. His roommates had exhausted themselves trying to find a solution. Finally they took the guy’s clothes, and locked him in the bathroom. He turned the water on, and then proceeded to walk around the bathroom for 15 minutes while the shower ran. He was locked in there, he might as well have jumped in! He literally would rather go through the work of pretending to shower, than actually shower.
Honestly, I almost have to applaud the dedication this guy had to being gross. Obviously, he was eventually kicked out. The moral of the story is: don’t be nasty. It takes a measly few minutes to wash yourself and keep your room clean. Just do it. It honestly isn’t that difficult.
5. Just Be a Nice Person
To sum it all up, it’s as simple as just be nice. This is elementary-level stuff. Don’t steal. Don’t talk on the phone for hours when your roommate is trying to sleep. If you have a problem, discuss it with the parties involved, not others (and don’t make stuff up, for that matter). Don’t give people the silent treatment for no damn reason. Don’t smell bad.
Seriously people, it really is that easy.