She leaves her dirty clothes on the floor every day and never cleans them up. You hate how cluttered your room is because of it. You wish she would just grow up a little and clean up after herself—after all, she’s in college, for heaven’s sake, and you’re not her mom. You’re incredibly irritated but don’t want to say anything for fear of causing a fight.
Fear not: you don’t have to feel aggravated whenever you’re in your dorm. In fact, there are three simple strategies for preventing feuds and frustrated feelings between you and your roommate.
1. Speak up
This is seemingly obvious, but many people keep mum when they’re upset about something and instead hash it out with their roommates via passive-aggressive methods. If something is bothering you, say something! If you’re kind in your inquiries (never sarcastic), you’re creating a tension-free, open environment. “Hey Kayla, do you think you could clean up your messy clothes? Sorry, clean freak over here!”
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2. Establish ground rules from the get-go
This was a mistake I made as a freshman. If you don’t set up rules with your roommates at the beginning, you’re at risk for serious clashes throughout the school year. Avoid this by setting up a time with your roommate to sit down and agree upon specific regulations. It helps to write them down on a big poster and hang them up in the room. Examples of rules could include who cleans up when, quiet hours, and who will be buying basic dorm necessities (such as tissues and cleaning supplies).
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3. Learn what bugs your roommate
By knowing what annoys your roommate, you can avoid disputes and hostility. If she hates toothpaste in the sink, make sure you wash out the sink. If wrappers on the floor get on her nerves, clean ’em up pronto. If she simply can’t stand when you leave your coat on the couch, get in the habit of hanging it up. You can’t expect your roommate to abide by your rules if you don’t abide by hers. Make sure you’re being considerate (this works in all aspects of life, too—not just dorm situations) and you’re likely to make a good friend out of your roommate and experience minimal fighting.
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Next time you feel your blood boiling because of a mistake on your roommate’s part, be sure to remember these tips. Your college experience is shorter than you’d expect, and you don’t want to waste your years on petty roommate drama that can be easily averted.