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How to Live with a Roommate Who is the Opposite of You

By Alyssa Laffitte 

 

Living with roommates can be an intimidating experience, but it can be more intimidating if you and your roommate are very different. How can you reconcile two different lifestyles to create a peaceful and happy living situation? In this article, we’ll discuss how to live with a roommate who is the opposite of you.

 

 

Communicate your expectations

When living with a roommate who is the complete opposite of you, it is extremely important to communicate your expectations. It is likely that you will have different expectations for your living situations than your roommate has. Still, that doesn’t mean you are bound to have a difficult living situation! You just have to be aware of each other’s expectations and come up with a compromise so that both of your needs are met.

For example, you might expect to clean the kitchen after every meal, while your roommate expects to do all the cleaning at the end of the day. These are both good ideas, but you two will have to come up with a compromise so that neither of you feels frustrated. Preferably, before you move in together, have a discussion about your expectations for things like cleanliness of the bathroom and kitchen, guests (especially overnight guests), how you will split the rent, eating each other’s food, and borrowing each other’s things. If you and your roommate discuss your expectations about these things, there will be fewer surprises when you move in together because you’ll have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.

 

Address issues right away, and in person

Unfortunately, when people live together, issues could arise. If you are a non-confrontational person, it might be easier to “sweep it under the rug” if an issue comes up. But if you ignore an issue for long enough, you risk becoming angry and resentful toward your roommate, who might not even be aware they’ve done something to bother you. Instead, when an issue comes up, talk about it in person, not via text (which can very easily be misinterpreted and cause even more issues). Choose a time when you are both in a good mood and without distractions. Of course, be respectful to them, too. If you do this, and your roommate is a decent person, they will likely try to change their behavior and resolve the issue. Even though it might be uncomfortable, talking to your roommate about any issues increases the chance that the issue will be resolved.

 

Respect their wishes

On the flip side of the coin, your roommate might have an issue with your behavior. If this is the case, don’t get defensive right away (as that’s usually our first instinct when we are called out). Listen to what your roommate is saying, and honestly consider if they are right. If they are, then respect their wishes and adjust your behavior accordingly. For example, if your roommate complains that you are too noisy, try to talk more quietly and turn down the volume of your music or TV. If your guests have been over-staying their welcome, make sure they don’t do it again. Living with another person involves working together, and that means to respect your roommate’s wishes.

 

Be understanding and patient with each other

When you live with someone very different than you, you will need to be understanding and patient with each other. For example, you can ask your roommate to be quieter, but you can’t change their night-owl tendencies. In this case, you will just need to be understanding and patient with your roommate. Other times, they might forget to do a chore they said they would do. In this case, be patient with them. You don’t know if they forgot because they were busy working! In short, be patient with your roommate, because one day, you will need them to be patient with you!

 

Extend common courtesy

This should go without saying, but please extend common courtesy to your roommate. Clean up after yourself, especially in the common areas, bathroom, and kitchen. Keep your things in your room, don’t leave them lying around in the common area. Don’t make too much noise. Always say “please” and “thank you,” ask before you borrow something (and give it back), and don’t eat their food (unless they specifically gave you permission to). Give them space if they want it. Extending common courtesy will make your roommate relationship much more comfortable.

 

Respect each other

Lastly, roommates need to respect each other. Yes, you two might have different sleep schedules and cleanliness preferences, but as long as you respect each other, you should have a good experience living together.

 

It’s not easy living with someone who is the opposite of you, but if you respect each other and communicate your expectations, you can still have a great living situation.


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