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Woman frustrated at lazy roommate using digital tablet on sofa

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Hey girl. I’ve got to be real with you.

I can’t stand living with my roommate.

Really, I can’t. As much as I love my apartment, I’m constantly being made to feel like a nuisance in my own home and I’m exhausted. Naturally, I have beef with my roommate in this situation because I feel like she’s totally cramping my style. But at the end of the day, I have no one to blame but myself for this situation. Why? Because I let her walk all over me when I first moved in. I thought I was keeping the peace, but I was actually just setting a precedent for being talked to in my own home (where I pay my own rent!) like I’m a six-year-old child. Mind you, my roommate is not related to me and is only a few years older than I am.

Do not make my mistake. If you’re sensing tension between you and your roommate over things that can be easily addressed and fixed, nip it in the bud sooner rather than later. The future you will be much happier for it. To make the conversation easier for you, here are a couple things that you should and shouldn’t be compromising on in your living situation.

What Not To Compromise On: Storage Space

If you’re told that you were going to get a certain amount of space to store your things during the home tour, only to sign the lease and move in to find that that is not the case, make noise about it! It is highly annoying to go fishing through your closet, unable to find your belongings because half of it is packed with random junk your roommate can’t fit in her bedroom.

What You Should Compromise On: Interior Decorating

If you can, try to find a roommate that has as similar taste in home decor as you do. It’ll make you a lot more comfortable in your new living space. Have conversations about what you’d like to do to the space to make it feel like home and how much you’re willing to spend to make it happen. Then you can split up the costs and items you’re willing to buy. Of course, you get first dibs on whatever it was that each of you purchased when it’s time to move out.

What Not To Compromise On: Loud Noises

If you don’t like overhearing your roommate’s private phone conversations from the living room when you’re working at your desk, say something. If you can’t stand waking up to gospel music at 7:30 AM on Sundays because you’re not religious, say something. If you hate overhearing random podcasts playing in the kitchen when you’re in bed trying to make love to your man, for the love of God, say something. Your roommate should feel comfortable in using her phone or playing her music, TV shows, etc. around the house whenever she wants. But troubleshoot a way that you can still get the rest and quiet time that you need.

What You Should Compromise On: Cleaning

Living with a roommate will teach you firsthand the challenges of being around someone who has different cleaning habits and schedules than you do. Still, that shouldn’t impede the two (or more) of you from maintaining the space so that it’s comfortable for everyone. Figure out when it’s easiest for you to clean the space, how often you can set aside time to do it and how you’d like to divvy up the responsibilities. There are few things that build tension faster than a sink overrunning with someone else’s dishes or being with someone that doesn’t have the same attitude towards cleaning as you do.

What Not To Compromise On: Use Of Facilities

I was once told that I couldn’t use the bathroom to put on my makeup because I left a drop of concealer on the sink the day before. Girl, bye. If you’re getting ridiculous requests (read: demands) because your roommate is peeved about something, just call it out for what it is: petty. When you’re paying rent and you’re not harming anyone, you have every right to utilize the different rooms of the apartment how you want to. But if that continues to be a problem for your roommate, then it’s on to the next one.

What You Should Compromise On: Time Tables For Use Of Facilities

Again, living with a roommate can sometimes be a challenge because you might clash over wanting to use the kitchen, bathroom, office space, etc. at the same time. Talk to her about using the spaces at different time slots for each of you so that you can do what you’ve got to do without getting in each other’s way. That’s an easy way to accommodate each other and make yourself happy at the same time.

What Not To Compromise On: Who You Entertain As Guests

Thankfully, this has not been an issue for me but I’m sure it has been for lots of other people. Do not allow your roommate to make you feel uncomfortable or guilty for whom it is you choose to bring in your home—unless of course, that guest poses a threat to you, the person you live with, or the apartment itself. This is your space to entertain as you please and anyone you bring over should feel welcome.

What You Should Compromise On: When You Entertain Your Guests

You and your roommate should be communicating well in advance if one of you wants to hold an event or have someone over to spend time with you. It could be as formal as an email or as quick and easy as a text. Whatever is most convenient for the two of you is fine; just make sure that dates and approximate guest counts are sent over in writing so there’s no confusion or surprise the day of the events or hangouts in question.

What Not To Compromise On: Your Dignity 

I am so serious. If you’re unlucky or choose unwisely, you’ll be dealing with a roommate who will try to clown you because you live a certain way or have different preferences than she does. Don’t trip. Don’t fall for it, either. No one has the right to make you feel backwards or alienated for your lifestyle. Speak up and speak loudly when you feel disrespected. You’d be surprised at how quickly a bully will back down when you confront her about her actions.


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