Roommate Reality

The probability of being lifelong friends with your freshman roommate is unlikely.

The probability incoming freshman will actually believe that is even more unlikely.

It seems most students come into college with an expectation that living with someone they have never met before will play out like a Hallmark movie.

We quickly come to the realization that this person we romanticized as our new best friend has annoying quirks and habits we didn’t foresee while mentally envisioning our four years of college.

Somehow the months of Facebook messaging did not prepare us to live with a virtual stranger.

What your roommate described as “organized chaos” was what you described as a “glorified train wreck.”

What they described as “comforting white noise” was what you described as a “television blaring at all hours of the day.”

What they described as “packing light” was what you described as “preparing for the apocalypse.”

It is no secret that most roommates have to do a bit of compromising to make the living situation work.

At best, you might decide to part ways as unlikely friends once the year ends.

At worst, the school might have to play mediator in a crying-scream fight.

My hope is you have never had to deal with the worst, however, I have heard horror stories.

The most common roommate issues result from miscommunication, assumptions and bottling things up.

For instance, a slight miscommunication might occur when your roommates text you to tell you they are having friends over, and you did not realize that was code for alcohol and strange boys you have never met before.

That was completely hypothetical, of course.

Assumptions might come from you thinking if you do the dishes one night, they will do the dishes the next night.

Never assume.

Bottling things up occurs when you never communicate about the little things such as their cute habit of leaving their dirty dishes in front of the television.

And then finally one little thing sets you off and a whole semester full of bitterness comes flying out.

My advice is to talk things through as they come up.

As someone who avoids confrontation like the plague, I understand this is easier said than done.

You might be afraid of making things awkward, making them not like you, or even making them mad at you and having them talk about you behind your back.

These are real outcomes, but you have to be willing to risk them to achieve a healthy roommate relationship.

You do not have to be best friends with your roommates and, believe it or not, you do not even have to be kind-of-friends with your roommates.

You just have to be able to get along.

And getting along consists of communication, compromise and the willingness to make things a little bit awkward to find a comfortable meeting ground.

As Guy Sebastian, would say, can we all just get along?