LIVING with someone is never an easy job. There is so much you have to deal with. And we aren’t talking about live-in relationships or boyfriends. We are talking about friends who are roommates and that is a recipe for a very weird situation if things go wrong.
Everything’s hunky-dory when you decide to take a flat of your own and live the independent life but things get tougher by the day. It’s almost like a relationship that you have to go through. Except you live with this one! Now some roommates are an absolute gift from the gods.
They keep to themselves, they don’t bother you and they’re good company. But then there are others, who take it upon themselves to turn your life into Satan’s kitchen! Students who had to deal with hostels during the early years of their student life perhaps can adjust better to anybody in later life, but my bet is that they too started out with very difficult people.
Alpha, a second year Linguistics and Literature student at the National University of Rwanda recounts his first year of hostel. “Everything was terrible. The atmosphere in general, the seniors and the thought of staying away from parents. On top of this, we faced the added problem of having to tolerate a roommate.” Alpha narrates how his first roommate never used to take a bath and always used to mess up the room.
“I was disgusted and frustrated. I am not a neatness freak, but I am human!” Unable to cope with a smelly roommate, Alpha moved out from the room after enduring 6 months of torture.
One thing you might have to learn to deal with a bad roommate is to put your foot down. No, ignorance is not bliss and you cannot hope that “things will change”, just like that. Once your roommate gets the idea that you won’t have a problem with his bad habit, then he will not stop what he is doing either. So when you see something that you don’t like, make sure to waste no time in pointing it out.
Having a roommate has its own advantages. You become more accommodative and tolerant. You also learn to manage relationships because as easy as it sounds, having a roommate requires a lot of negotiation and decisions. The inevitable question of how much is too much always emerges. Even if you’re good friends, it is always advisable to keep a considerable amount of distance from your roommate. At some point you may hit the sudden realization that you are invading the other person’s privacy and vice versa. And when that happens, it turns into a very uncomfortable situation where you are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Merab, a student who lived with her best friend for years, says it is very tricky managing with the person you’re living with. “I had to be on guard all the time. Every time I went into her room, I kept thinking whether I was being too pushy or intrusive.” Merab eventually worked out a win-win plan with her best friend so that each of them would have their share of quality time.
Having a good roommate is very essential. At the end of a long working day, you just want to come back to your own space. And having that space is very important for one’s mental peace. So make sure to choose your roommate well.