I heard so many roommate horror stories before I moved into the college dorm that I thought I was prepared for anything. The tales that I heard ended up being distant memories since I lucked out my first year and was able to room with someone that ended up being one of my closest friends. During my second year of college, all of the stories came flooding back into my memory as I lived through my own roommate horror story. Throughout all of the stories I heard, no one ever told me of the lessons they learned. Well, for any of you that have gone through dealing with an awful roommate of may have one in the future, here are 7 things I learned while dealing with a roommate from hell.
1. You have to know when to pick and choose your battles.
I learned this one early on. Like the day before classes started early. I’ll spare you the details but after engaging in what I hoped to be a civil conversation that ended up being a screaming match, the cop that came over to my apartment (yes, it was that bad) explained everything we were risking if we ended up getting kicked out of our apartment. I realized that I couldn’t jeopardize my education over not getting along with someone and if I had to put up with her for the rest of the school year, so be it. There were so many times that I had to walk out of my apartment just to cool down but I knew that if I acted in the heat of the moment, I would come to regret it.
2. People will go through hoops to get a reaction out of you.
I didn’t catch onto this lesson as early as I did the first one, but that was mainly because I was oblivious to just how much someone would go out of their way trying to make you uncomfortable just because you won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you react. Needless to say, I dealt with her being obnoxiously loud, leaving food on the plate, and even going so far to send provoking text messages. I had to constantly remind myself that the best reaction is no reaction at all.
3. Document EVERYTHING!
When I say everything, I mean everything. Living on campus, it was important that I made sure my RA knew about all the instances where I would be provoked. I definitely made sure that there were incident reports written whenever something would go haywire. Sure, it felt tedious and I really didn’t like feeling like I was tattling but in the event that something went really wrong, I would have proof of everything she did to me which would work out in my favor.
4. It’s good to know all the rules.
I’m not saying that I read the on-campus living handbook from cover to cover, but I definitely did make sure that I knew what was generally acceptable and what wasn’t. This lesson went hand and hand with documenting everything because when I would go to report the incidents, I knew exactly what to tell those in the office.
5. Sometimes it is your fault.
Just because I walked away from most of the battles, didn’t mean I walked away from all of them. I’m not perfect. There were times that the fights were my fault. Instead of dwelling on them too much, I learned to take a step back and examine myself from an external perspective to see where I could have done better. This lesson also taught me that an apology goes a long way.
6. If you redirect your energy, you can get a positive out of a negative situation.
Although I lived with an awful roommate, I also lived with another one that was really great. She and I got along so well that sometimes it completely erased all the bad that I had to go through while dealing with my other roommate. After I started letting go and focusing on the positive, I realized I gained a friend for life with my other roommate.
7. Most things are temporary.
I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t going to last forever. This lesson got me through the year and helped me realize that I’m stronger than I think after looking back and everything that I went through. Yeah, I didn’t leave the year loving all of my roommates, but I definitely left with lessons that I would keep with me forever.