Whether you’re living with your closest friends or random strangers, everyone has had to deal with a difficult roommate at one point or another. We hear it all the time from friends or students in passing:
“Why can’t she just put the dishes away?”
“How hard is it to quietly get ready in the morning?”
“They always have friends over!”
After having my fair share of awful roommates, I know how easy it is to let your frustrations overcome you. I have roommates that have boyfriends up every weekend, leave used pots and pans on the stove for weeks and would choose to ignore each other before coming up with simple solutions. Even a calm discussion about such issues has left the apartment in a slew of tension that makes you want to avoid coming home.
I used to punish myself for this. I was the one who chose these roommates, these “friends” that were supposed to watch movies and order pokey’s on Saturday nights. Instead, our apartment remains silent and these people have purposefully induced conflict against me. I’ve had days where all I want to do is say what’s on my mind no matter how many problems it’ll cause. Then there are the days where I’m so overtaken by frustration and anxiety from being made to feel like a stranger in my own apartment that I have to try so hard to keep the tears down.
The people you live with become a large part of your lives in that shared space you have, but many of us allow them to have a tighter hold than necessary. I began to realize that it wasn’t fair to let other people dictate how I was going to live in my own space. I was allowing negative, inconsiderate people to step all over me, even after trying to create a middle ground. But when you finally get to that point where you don’t let it bother you, it no longer becomes a problem. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Roommates do crazy things, most of which you don’t deserve. Avoid giving into the petty drama or overheard gossip. I know it’s tempting, but try to remain positive. These are some of the things I’ve learned.
I refuse to be apologetic to the people who go out of their way to make me feel inferior. I refuse to hide in the library until my roommates go to sleep just to avoid confrontation. Most importantly, I refuse to allow people who hardly seem happy themselves to decide how happy I’m going to be. For too long I’ve let others get me down about myself and my time here as a student, but in the process I’ve learned how important it is to just ignore that.
I’ll have new roommates next year, actual close friends that I can count on. Those are the people that actually matter, but maybe thank those awful roommates for finally making you realize they aren’t worth your time.