Roommates: Detrimental or Social Success?

Have you ever had a horrible roommate experience? Maybe it was your first year at college and your roommate was just the worst. Maybe they were messy or smelly or just rude to you altogether.

On the flip side maybe you had a fantastic roommate experience. Maybe you moved in with some friends and had a lot of fun. Maybe you got married and have enjoyed living with your significant other.

Most everybody has lived with, or will live with another person in their life. Depending on how it went for you, it could have left a bad taste in your mouth about living with people again.

Playing roommate roulette can be unpredictable but that unpredictability could be really preparing you for later life experiences. You could end up taking a job with a boss that you despise or have colleagues that drive you nuts, but because you have lived in close proximity with people you don’t necessarily like, you will be prepared to deal with it.

The topic of roommates is very prevalent in my life because I just moved into the dorms this year. Not only is this a new experience for me, but many of my friends from the same building are experiencing this too. Some have already had to change rooms or switch roommates because it wasn’t going well. In one instance a girl decided to move to the other side of campus because her roommate was so rude to her. So then, is it always best to move away from your problems?

On campuses, there are often resident advisors and one of their main jobs is making sure room dynamics aren’t too hostile. They have meetings with roommates and do their best to keep the peace. They could help mediate a conversation and see if they can alleviate a problem so you don’t have to take drastic measures like, say, move across campus.

This is easily paralleled to working life. Say you took a new job and you’re just fed up with your coworkers. You can’t stand them and can’t imagine working in this place anymore. There are often resources you can turn to for help. Maybe talking with an HR representative could help find a solution. Finding helpful resources would be better than just up and leaving your new job.

From those situations you can also learn how to deal with the minor issues yourself. Learning how to start a conversation to bring up an issue in order to fix it before it gets worse is very important for keeping a healthy living or work space.

There is an article on USNews called “How to Choose and Keep a College Roommate” and Mayfield has a whole paragraph about social dynamics when you have multiple roommates. She advises that you should talk about things all together and not break into pairs and talk all separately. I would agree with this because that way everyone can communicate their opinion or how they feel and things don’t get miscommunicated through the grapevine.

In an article written by GradGuard called “How to Pick a Good College Roommate” Suneson talks about discussions you should have with your roommate prior to move in day. You should discuss such things like sleep, social habits and cleanliness. If you talk about these topics beforehand and reach an agreement on what it looks like then that can help avoid conflicts before they arise. Being able to start a conversation with a roommate about such things is also indicative of good social skills.

Through this research I have learned that turning tough situations into learning experiences and a chance to grow your social skills will not only benefit you but it will help keep the peace in social situations. If you know how to deal with conflict early on before it becomes a deep rooted issue, you will avoid social drama and most likely be a more likeable person to your bosses and coworkers. Leadership will recognize your ability to work well with others no matter how difficult someone may be. Things like that could be the reason you get a raise or maybe a promotion. Maybe it will just help keep your friendships at the healthiest they can be. Either way, you will have learned an important life skill.