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Here our very own broke girl, who has an experience of living with roommates for a decade, gives pro tips on living with roommates without hassle.
If you live alone in the city and have to share your room or flat with someone, you will know, the importance of having a good roommate, if not a great one. A fight with your roommate can ruin your week, and I am not kidding. Until you can afford your own space in this city, darling you got to share the space with someone, each day. I have lived in hostels and PGS, since graduation years. So, if I count, I must have had almost 55 roommates, and I really had a great experience. Come on, they are all in my facebook friend’s list. In today’s time of add and delete, it’s a good thing that you are still there.
So, after a decade of experience here is what I know about having a good roommate and also having a pleasant experience.
Darling, please do understand the first rule. You are not married to her. So, the ground rule is that, it’s a very temporary arrangement. You got to give some, you got to take some. Even if you guys hit off really well, tomorrow she might just wake up and leave. An engagement or a job change might do it. It happens all the time. So, please know it’s temporary. She and you will both move on, sooner or later. And you will keep in touch according to the bond you shared.
Now that you have decided to stay together, get the terms and condition first. Like, who pays when- the electricity bill, cooking gas, and maid and so on. Remember tussles begin with money. Yes, money is very important. In our flat, I don’t need the AC at all. But we all still share it. So, make it clear, that all of you, pay equally. And then the housework, who gets the grocery and cleans the washroom, if you don’t have a maid. You might be the most amazing person and so maybe your flat mates, but people lose their cool over dirty pots and unwashed dishes in the sink. So, get your priority list done on day one.
Please get all you need from the shop. You are here as an independent woman. You are your own responsibility. However, sometimes you may use something that might belong to your flat mate, we all do, at times of necessity. But refill it. Like, the packet of Maggie I used last night, while writing this, I will put it back by evening. I learnt that when you give back or keep your accounts clear, frictions are likely to happen.
This is important. If you sleep early, tell her. So, if she is speaking to her boyfriend over the phone at night, she can keep her volume low. If she does not keep low, speak in the morning. That’s all. In all cases I have seen, all my roommates have done that. But darling, after that her boyfriend is her business. Even when she makes absurd plans with her friends over the phone, it’s her life and choice. Advice only when asked. And most of the time, she won’t. So, live and let live.
When you share the same physical space, you are bound to know a lot of secrets. Some people come from broken homes to families on debt. You will be a part of many things that is not pretty. For, God’s sake never talk about it to anyone else. Know what, I have seen in my hostel years. The girl who talks behind others back becomes very popular for the first 15 days and sooner or later people turn against her. It all comes back. People know, what you talked about them. I am not sure how, but they end up knowing. And that is ugly. Don’t ever talk behind. If something is bothering you, talk to her.
Even if you hardly know her, wish on her birthday. Get a cake and a flower. Remember it’s someone’s birthday. Also, when her parents and family visit, smile and try striking a courteous conversation. Sometimes, such conversations got me lifelong relationships, not only with my roommate but also with their families. And never mind the good food. Kindness, I have learnt goes a long way. It always comes back in many forms. It came back to me, and is still coming back. Go, visit the doctor with her when she is sick. You never know, how that kindness comes back. It need not come from her, but somewhere it will and it always does.
I know, it’s not something anyone will tell you, but when you keep your side of the room clean many small fights don’t happen. Everyone loves to come back to a clean room.
These are 8 rules, I have lived by. Trust me, they worked magic. I have lived with roommates for more than a decade. Made really great friends, been part of their lives, families, weddings and now I know their in-laws too. Remember, away from home, your room mate or flat mate is the first person you can talk to, or get close to. If you strike well, you strike lifelong relationships. And it’s worth nurturing in this busy paced life. Remember she is the only person who sees you the way you are, without make-up, fighting with Mom on phone and with dirty clothes. I hope you make a friend for life. My best friends are the ones I lived with.
I have lived alone, I have lived single in this crazy city and I have thrived. The only reason is that I had great friends. Even after people left I can still go and crash down at their places and still feel good about life. That is a boon, if you stay single in this city. Sometimes I just hug my roommate or pat her head, just to tell her, she is wonderful.
Now, you know how I stay so positive in all my write ups. These flatmates see me each day, writing late at night. And they don’t complain about the lights. I cannot be a writer without their co-operation. I live lights switched on and the tapping of the laptop is constant. I know, it’s not easy, but they lived through it all, and I survived to tell the tell.
Life is beautiful.
Cover image via Shutterstock
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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