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How to be Roommate Courteous

todaySeptember 22, 2015 1

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by Daniela Garcia
Blog Content Contributor

*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole

Apartment off campus
Photo by Daniela Garcia

Most of us have had the privilege of roommate company but it isn’t without the additional features of the many characters we come across that we continue to reside among each other.

Sometimes, the universe will align and pair you with roommates that end up becoming your best friends.

Other times however, you may encounter a living situation from which you don’t seem to get much happiness except contentment or maybe even resentment.

They mooch on your food perhaps.

They leave the lights on throughout the entire place.

They bring 20 people over while you’re studying for that exam taking place the next morning.

Maybe you’re more organized than they are and the way they seem to just throw anything anywhere on the counter really bugs you.

Whatever it is that makes you feel like you wish you did not have to sleep and wake up in the same residence, take a moment to step outside of yourself and consider things in retrospect.

Am I being a courteous roommate too?

Maybe your roommate’s mess is a reflection of their creative mind, whirring in full gear at the start of a new project.

Or maybe they leave all of the lights on because they’re afraid of the dark.

Or maybe no one ever told them it’s kind of a big deal.

Sometimes we have to consider why people do the things they do in order to understand them.  And understanding is really important to achieve that residential peace you seek.

Because let’s face it.

Who wants a crappy roommate?

If we don’t want a crappy roommate, perhaps then we should first try to not be one ourselves.

Maybe then, after some time if sitting down with them and discussing your pet-peeves doesn’t work, understanding them will help them understand you.

Here are 5 ways you can set the example of courtesy in your place of residence.

  1. Observe who they are.

As unnecessary as it may seem, sometimes it does help to take in as much detail of your roommates as possible so that you can learn what kind of person they are and how that will affect you. After all, you are living together so it is almost a familial relationship you want to develop. Check out their Facebook, look at their collection of DVDs or spottily playlist, maybe even what kind of food they like to eat. Someone who loves buying bulk boxes of pizza bagels will probably not have an entire set of fine china in the cabinets and you probably don’t need to go to the extent of buying them a fancy dinner to get on their good side. Maybe ordering a pizza for you both will be good bonding time.

  1. Consider where they came from and where You Come from

So you’ve been paired with a pale pale girl from Alaska, you’re both living in Texas and you find yourself very upset over the expensive electricity bill. It also really bothers you how cold it is in the mornings because the room temperature is now strangely 65 degrees instead of 78.

At first it may not make sense at all to us but if we hold on to the rabid argument you initially want to throw and instead consider that your roommate is in fact very pale and comes from a really cold place you’ll realize she isn’t used to the heat. So maybe you can meet in the middle. If they don’t wish to meet in the middle, you can then note that you have tried to resolve the situation and the burden of the conflict should not weigh heavily on you.

  1. Ask Them How Their Day was

We can all have bad days where we just need someone to hear us complain about how the train crossed your path as you were already running late to work and then your coffee spilled all over your new work shirt and seeped into the crevices of your computer keyboard.

Or maybe you made a friend today, fell in love, had an epiphany or wanted to gloat about your well-deserved A in History.

Whatever it is, talking can be beneficial for both parties.

Without communication, that initial barrier of acquaintance will probably never fall down.

You don’t have to go into detail about everything personal that’s going on in your life but at the end of the day, this person is on the other end of the house, or maybe even the other side of the room.

  1. Do Nice Things For Them

So you realize your roommate is hardly ever home and the dishes have been piling up.

Instead of getting angry, think about whether they’re really out all day doing nothing or if they’re just that busy. We run out of time sometimes and can’t always get things done when we wish to.

If there’s a dishwasher at home, place their dishes in the washer with yours. They’ll probably appreciate it and maybe even start to pay more attention to this area of their lives.

Do they like coffee? Tacos? A decorative candle?

Every now and then you can remind them that just because you lock yourself in your room pretty much all day studying (Netflix) or resting (Netflix), doesn’t mean that you don’t care about them.

There’s a sort of attachment that form to the other person residing with you that inevitably leads to care.

If they’re going through a rough break up, you can sit down with them and eat an entire tub of ice cream together.

If they had a rough day at work you can crack open one of your beers and pat them on the back to let them know it’s all good.

  1. 5. Don’t be THAT Roommate

No one wants to be THAT roommate, you know, the one I’ve been describing. So don’t be it! In the midst of trying to have everything to our liking we can end up being a nightmare to the people living with us.

How do we fix this?

I’ll bring back the retrospect aspect of al of this and ask you to step outside of yourself then look in. Do you think maybe you’re being a little too harsh on your roommates and have a contorted perception of the situation instead?

Don’t forget to consider yourself in all of this. Make sure that what you’re asking for isn’t something you wouldn’t them to ask of you. Don’t steal their food if you haven’t asked if it’s okay first. Don’t leave your own things lying around if you don’t want them to.

But most importantly, don’t be their worst nightmare because you don’t want them to become yours.

Act kindly, live peacefully, experience happiness.

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