Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
Living alone can be tough. Living with someone else can be tougher. As roommates, you are most likely in a situation where you are living with someone to cut down costs. Let’s be honest, in today’s economy, living alone may not be realistic for many. For others, some people like the company of having someone else in your space. If you suffer from any type of disability or illness, living with another person can be crucial for survival. In my life I only had roommate and our relationship was able to stay afloat due to early communication about certain guidelines. Regardless of why you have a roommate, let’s discuss why roommate relationships don’t work and how to fix it:
Issue: Cleanliness- Often times, roommates fall apart due to their living habits. It is nothing more frustrating than to come home from a long day of work ready to cook a meal only to realize you can’t cook because your roommate never washed the dishes they used. Similarly, it is not fun to have company over when the there is stuff everywhere in the bathroom and you are always having to excuse the mess. We all get busy but a dirty atmosphere makes everything unpleasant and is a major factor in failed roommate relationships.
Solution: Make a chore chart. Although the idea sounds a little elementary, it definitely allows each roommate to have an assigned role and it allows you to hold them accountable. I also recommend you all set a designated time to clean. That way you all can bond while you clean.
Issue: Finances- Your roommate is not holding up their end on the bargain on rent. Additionally, you are always left buying groceries and household items.
Solution: Communication is key with this one. When you and your roommate first decided to live together, financial commitments should have been a part of the discussion. If you or your roommate is not responsible with money or is currently in between jobs, it is important you sit down and discuss the plan of attack until money is no longer an issue.
Issue: The unofficial third roommate- Long story short, your roommate is in love and his significant other is always at your place. They don’t pay rent but they are always there taking up space and eating up food.
Solution: This can be the most tricky of the issues because of the fact that there is no curfew or visitation policy for roommates and their guests. It is hard to tell someone who they can and can’t have over, especially when they are paying to stay there. The trick to solving this problem is a discussion about your feelings in the situation and some compromise is required on both parts. If your roommate’s girlfriend is constantly over, perhaps you can recommend sometimes they hang out at her place. Sometimes you can leave and hang out elsewhere to give them some alone time. In many cases, your roommate’s significant other will feel bad they are causing a riff between you and your roommate and will work harder to fix the issue.
Issue: Mismatch schedules/ Noise- Let’s say you work during the night so you are sleep during the day. Your roommate loves to blast his music during the time you are trying to catch up on sleep.
Solution: I consider this to be an easy fix. Encourage your roommate to get headphones, take his loudness elsewhere, or wait until you are also awake to be loud. You can politely remind your roommate how important it is for you to get sleep so you can stay employed and be able to meet your half of the rent.
Issue: Bad attitudes- Your roommate is just not a pleasant person. You always speak but they are rarely in a mood to talk. It is always uncomfortable when they come around.
Solution: Address it directly! In an ideal world, your roommate will be your best friend for life but unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. The main thing that’s important is a mutual respect for each other and maintaining the place to be safe and livable. The best way to address a personality issue is to be assertive and provide examples of the times you felt uncomfortable.
Issue: Personal property violations- Every time you go to use something of yours, it seems to be extremely low or all-together empty. Sometimes things are not where you remember leaving them and you suspect your roommate had something to do with it.
Solution: This can be very tricky because depending on how this is handled will determine the future of your relationship with your roommate. If you feel someone is using your stuff without permission, I urge you to tread carefully. Please come with detailed examples because there is nothing worse than to be accused with no proof. A great way to fix this is to set a list of expectations and let one of yours be that personal property is off limits without permission. However, be prepared for the same thing in return. Don’t complain about your roommate using your shampoo if you are going to continue using their toothpaste.
Moral of the story: With all the common issues listed above, all of them can be fixed with communication, time, and desire from both parties to do better. We want to hear from you, what are some of your favorite/ craziest roommate experiences?
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.