That time I got roommates…

20 June 2016

I’ve had roommates in the past. Unfortunately, I’ve had bad roommates in the past. So for the last 5-6 years, I’ve lived alone. Just me and the cats. And it’s worked out fairly well. (Albeit a little costly at times since my income, or lack thereof, was responsible for everything.) However, this past semester, while working in our archaeology lab, one of my peers who I’d been getting to know mentioned that she and her current roommate were trying to find a place to stay this summer and not having much luck. So I casually mention that if they can’t find a place, I’ve got a spare room I could rent out, as long as they liked cats.

Within a few weeks it was locked down. I was getting roommates for the summer. Little hermit me, in my 30s, would now be living with two 20-year-old undergrads, one of whom I’d never really met.

It actually started out quite smoothly. Mostly just a lot of “where does this go?” type of stuff. But that was also because only one of the girls had moved in, and it was the one I already knew. The other was off in Europe on a trip. So for the first few weeks, the two of us got into a rhythm and it was working out well. When our second roommate came back — a few days early, sort of short notice of “oh, btw I’m going to move in tonight in a few hours!” (which she only sent to our other roommate, and gave me no notice of) — well, needless to say it threw things off.

Communication has definitely been something we’re trying to work on. Ok. It’s something we’re needing to work on. There’s been a handful of times when the second roommate has kept me out of the loop, not intentionally, but still. Those two have been roommates for two years and are used to each other. However, when 2 to possible 4 people “have” to stay the night at our place it would be nice for a bit more than a few days heads up. (Not to mention just checking with us in the first place to make sure that it’s ok for people to stay over. This has happened twice.)

For the most part, everything else has been small things that are just little peeves of mine. Having most of my tupperware being used. The bathmat being wet and gross after showers. Not leaving the water drip for the cats. Not refilling the toilet paper when it’s gone or leaving only 2-3 squares for the next person. Leaving lights on, especially in the bathroom so I can’t tell if they’re done and it’s ok for me to go in. Never washing dishes. Ok. So the last two are legit complaints. And the later actually has been dealt with and taken care of. We’re also needing to work on the fact that one person has never taken out the trash since she moved in. And using my spices/oils and not telling me when they’re empty.

Like. Ok. I know it sounds like I’m complaining about this one roommate a lot. And I honestly don’t mean to. One of my goals is trying to be more flexible and understanding. (Though when it came to money things, it was hard. Life lesson: if you owe someone money for rent and utilities, don’t go out and buy an expensive cookbook and then the next day say you have no money to your name.) However, these two girls are adults. They’re 20. All of this is a good lesson in adulting. And while I’m not responsible for parenting them or getting them to be adults… I don’t want to walk on eggshells because it might upset them or anything. Personal histories and issues and mental-wellbeing aside, at some point you sort of do have to suck it up and realize you live with other people and it’s not always going to be easy or fun. There’s common courtesies that apply.

The roommate that I know best is leaving today for three-ish weeks to be with her family at their cabin. So, it’s going to be interesting just having the other one around with me. Communication is going to have to happen. (Especially because she doesn’t drive. So if she wants a ride to campus or the grocery store or wherever, she’s going to have to ask.) It’ll be interesting to see how this all goes. I’m hoping I won’t upset her too much because if there’s an issue I’ll likely just be blunt about it.

So while this hasn’t necessarily been the easiest thing, it been fairly nice over all. We sometimes cook for each other. It’s been nice having people to talk to. (Though I will admit sometimes I do just need alone time. I am still a slight hermit after all. This summer has been crazy social for me.) The cats like them. And it’s also nice to have a slight break on rent. (I unfortunately didn’t think everything through when I made the offer to them, so I’m actually paying $100 more than both of them combined.) Given how my financial situation worked out this summer, I don’t think I could have made it had I not had their help covering costs.

We’ll see how it goes by the end of the summer. Hopefully we’ll all still like each other. And, even more so, hopefully we’ll work out a lot of these issues in compassionate ways. Maybe by mid-August the cats and I will end up missing them. Who knows.

  • B.

    I’ll never understand people who don’t know how to communicate. It’s not like you’re asking for some well thought out answer, just a heads up about things! Ya know, common sense!

    • She and the other girl have lived together for 2 years, so I can sort of get when she’ll tell her and not me… but when she doesn’t really communicate with either of us… it’s just… egh. It’s not that hard either. Text messages or post-it notes work.

  • Kay

    I hope it keeps going well, and communication gets better! Your complaints are definitely all legitimate stuff, so I hope they all get resolved.

    • Thanks. I hope so too. Should be interesting just having two of us for 3 weeks. Might force some resolutions out.

  • Oh, man that is so frustrating. I hope she can start to figure out how
    to communicate better AND to be more respectful of your shared space. At
    least it’s just for the summer?! Good luck…

    • I keep reminding myself of that. It’s just for the summer. And that I’ve been in her situation before. But still… we’ve hinted at things (like budgeting) and spoken outright about other (communication)… hopefully it’ll sink in. Otherwise I’ll have to have a “this isn’t working well” conversation…. and I really don’t want that, but it’s pretty much my place more than theirs so, my rules go.

  • My favorite roommate ever was my own sister. We lived together for a year, after both of us were in college and it was amazing. Because I knew my sister would always be my sister…no matter if I had to tell her that something was pissing me off. Our communication was excellent and she’ll forever be my favorite. 😉

  • Pingback: What I learned from having roommates()

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