What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Random Roommate

(as told by Dr. Cox gifs from the hit television show Scrubs)

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I bet you thought your random roommate days were behind you…

Think back to that summer before freshman year. Like me, you probably read countless articles like this before going through the roommate selection/matching process.

Ah good times.

Well strap in folks because we’re doing it again. Whether it is only for a couple of months while your current roommate studies abroad, or for a whole academic year because you were desperate to save on rent, there is a very real possibility that you will find yourself living with a “rando” once again. Don’t worry. I’ve been there, done that, and now I’m here to help you.

I debated saving what I’m about to say for either the beginning or the end of this post, but I respect you too much not to say it now. There is absolutely, and I mean absolutely, no way to know what it is like to live with another person until you actually live with that person. If you’re mind is blown, go ahead and take a few seconds to put the ol’ brain bucket back together. I’ll wait…

You good? Ok, now I know that cliché wasn’t exactly earth shattering, but people are dumb. Not you. You’re a special snowflake. In addition to being dumb, people are also liars. On this I refuse to backtrack. You’re a liar. I’m a liar. We’re all liars.

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If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, what-have-you, you are most probably guilty of creating an online persona that is different than your actual self. I don’t blame you. I do it too. My point: don’t be surprised when your roommate turns out to be a hermit instead of a social butterfly, or appears to have a clean bedroom in all of her pictures, but in actuality its just a corner she keeps neat and tidy for selfies. Just remember, when prospecting a random roommate, take everything they say and do on social media with a grain of salt.

Now, the most common issues you are likely to encounter with a random roommate are no different than issues you are likely to encounter with a roommate who is your BFF. Made-up statistic alert: 95% of the issues you may have to deal with can either be prevented or more easily solved through communication. Dirty dishes in the sink? Clean clothes in the washer? Weird noises at 3 am? Front door constantly unlocked? I got you. “Hey [insert rando’s name], I noticed you left some clean dishes in the sink from last night. I personally like to clean my dishes right after I eat, but I understand if you like to digest a little and go to sleep for the night before you do. Can we compromise? Can you just make sure to have your dishes cleaned before dinner time the next day?”

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Communication my friends. Be specific. The next worst thing you can do is miscommunicate by being wishy-washy in what you say. This is a no-no: “Hey [insert rando’s name], I think you’ve been leaving some of your dishes in the sink. Would you mind washing them a little quicker?”

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Two big mistakes here. One, they either are or are not leaving their dishes in the sink. You know what you ate and what you ate it on. There is no “I think” business going on here. Second, asking them to wash the dishes a “little quicker” may mean one thing to you but something entirely different to your roommate.  Two minutes, two days, two weeks, etc. You can see how this can quickly snowball out of control and lead to frustrations.

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Moral of the story my friends? You’re not going to get the perfect random roommate, and you’re NOT going to be the perfect roommate either. Communication and understanding. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

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If you have any experiences with a random roommate, please drop a line in the comments section to share with the rest of us.

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