I’m sure that more than one person reading is having a roommate crisis. After all, just about everyone has to share a living space at some point, and it can be pretty difficult.
Just ask the poor saps who had to live with me before I got married. They had a roommate who thought he knew everything about sports, was way too into ’80s music and liked to make sarcastic comments about commercials. What a nightmare.
Living with a roommate can be tough, which is what a lot of college freshmen are learning right now. But having a roommate teaches you a lot about life.
It starts with the importance of compromise and respecting different points of view. Having a roommate also helps you find creative ways to solve problems, such as how to convince your roommate that a burglar broke in and stole nothing but his “Exotic Rhythms of the Himalayas” CD.
“And they also stole your beginner’s guide to playing the sitar. I can’t believe it!”
One key to compatibility is getting to know your roommate. That’s why, when I moved into my first college dorm, my roommate and I were handed a questionnaire to fill out. I don’t remember any of the questions, but it was probably a good way to open the lines of communication.
Here’s an updated questionnaire for anyone currently experiencing a challenging roommate environment. Fill it out with your roommate and decide where you’re similar, where you’re different and how many locks you’ll need on your bedroom door:
My favorite hobbies include _____.
A. playing sports
B. listening to music
C. art and photography of nude models in our living room, or perhaps in your bedroom because the light is better there
I like to have friends visit _____.
A. only occasionally
C. because it helps them picture you when I talk behind your back
Overnight guests _____.
A. are fine with me, especially if they bring food
B. must sign a liability waiver
C. are expected to kindly direct me back to my room if I end up in their bed during one of my sleepwalking episodes
My pet peeves include _____.
A. people who don’t do their share of household chores
B. people who laugh loudly for the sole purpose of getting me to say, “What’s so funny?”
C. all the people who tell me that I’m “uppity” and “condescending” just because they are stupid and jealous and beneath me
My belongings can be borrowed _____.
B. in most cases, as long as you ask me first
C. at your own risk, because I am watching and I will get you
To avoid potential problems, roommates should discuss _____.
A. what bothers them and why
B. painting a line in the middle of the room and picking a side
C. abortion, capital punishment, gun control and the JFK assassination
When I have a problem with you, I expect you to _____.
A. listen to why I think it’s a problem
B. discuss the situation with me without being offended
C. dodge household objects as I throw them
When you have a problem with me, I expect you to _____.
A. let me know quickly so our relationship doesn’t suffer
B. be open to different ways to resolve it
C. deal with it on your own time, like after you finish cleaning my bathroom
Indicate which of the following activities might occupy your time in the residence:
A. Repeatedly encouraging a roommate to sign up for an exciting financial opportunity that is absolutely, positively, probably not a pyramid scheme.
B. Breaking down and crying for no apparent reason, screaming “Why God why?” and running into the bathroom with the remote.
C. Telling a roommate “Don’t make me angry … you wouldn’t want to see me when I’m angry.”
D. Ordering a pizza to share and then suddenly not having any money because of the exciting financial opportunity, which should not be discussed because it’s a sensitive topic
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