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January 25, 2009

Roommate Relations

This Extra Ink was written by Chelsea V.

Living in close proximity with another person can be difficult. As much as I love my former roommate (and I do), there were times that we had to compromise our old habits to accommodate each other. What you have to realize when you enter a new living situation is that everyone has different lifestyles. Living together isn't about combining everyone's lifestyles, it's about creating new ones that suit all of you. To help you all live in peace and harmony, here's a few tips:

Talk. Really. Talk about your homes, your families, your friends. It will give you all a better understanding of how each person is used to living.

Collaborate. Make your room/suite/apartment be an expression of each of you. Allow everyone to contribute to the decoration of your space.

Set some ground rules. If you are having trouble compromising on a daily basis, write up a contract.

Make a chore wheel. I know of very few people who enjoy cleaning. And when you live in a small space, the littlest mess can seem a lot bigger. Make a chore wheel with all of your names and all of the chores that need to get done. Spin it every week so everyone trades off.

Get lost together. No joke. You'll learn a lot about your roommates and your new surroundings by wandering the campus/city together. Find cool places that you like to hang out at. Make it a mission to go out some place new each week, or go out for lunch every Sunday. It will create traditions within your new family.

Give it time. Don't expect to hit it off immediately with your roommates. If you do, that's great! But if you don't, give it a while. You'll grow on each other.

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