I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that life is a little silly. It likes to throw you curve balls, mess with your head, send you mixed signals and essentially sometimes make you jump through leaps and bounds just to get to the other side. As I’m writing this down, I have a raging headache, the contacts in my eyes want to flutter out like a pigeon’s wings and I’m infinitely exhausted. And it’s all because there are copious amounts of unnecessary noise drowning out the sounds of my thoughts in my dorm. So for those of you looking to escape the headache, the smell of overflowing trash or the pile of clothes crowding you in, here are some of my best tips for living with another human.
1. Three-strike rule
The three-strike rule is something I’ve created for myself to survive living with other people. My rule is that if dishes with food scraps are left in the sink overnight, if clothes are sprawled out for days or if the trash is severely overflowing, everyone gets three strikes. In the first occurrence, I ask politely. In the second occurrence, I ask for a “family” meeting where we see how we can do better. By the third occurrence, I don’t even bother helping out — I just learn to adapt and work around it. By the third strike, I remind myself that in the near future, I’ll be living out my city dreams in a dainty little apartment and that the only way to go from here is up.
2. Invest in Febreze, candles or anything that will smell nice
Let’s say the trash is overflowing, there’s a waterfall of leftovers stinking up the room or even the possibility that your roommate or suitemates aren’t the most hygienic. The most non-confrontational and arguably peaceful way of solving this is investing in anything that will clear up a mucky stench — Febreze, candles, flowers, incense. Do whatever you have to do; the purchases will be worth every penny.
3. Establish clear boundaries
While everyone is under the naive assumption that they’ll immediately get along with their college roommates, still take the time to write out some rules — you’ll thank me later. Be as specific as you can get, assign chore charts if you have to and consequences for not doing such chore charts. For your sake, maybe even have a reward system like a kindergarten teacher because college kids have the same amount of maturity from time to time. Discuss what you can share and what you cannot — expenses, finances, bills and what times friends or significant others are allowed over till. There are no topics off-limits.
The best part of our living situations is undoubtedly how they’re limited in nature. I promise that ratting them out to the RA will only create more drama. While we can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s always something to look forward to, whether it be moving out, having fond memories to look back on or having a great story to tell at the dinner table