All the essentials have been packed, and you’re super psyched about finally flying out of your nest into the infinite sky of endless opportunities and freedom. But wait! Are you prepared to share a place with someone? Know this: Living with a roommate is way different than sharing a place with your folks. And it can get pretty tough if you don’t follow some unspoken hostel rules, even if the roommate happens to be your best friend!
Throughout my school days, I shared my room with my younger sister, who was easy to boss around (I’m an evil elder sister, sue me!) and thus, living was smooth without any major bumps. Yes, there were some arguments here and there, but nothing our Mom’s scolding couldn’t handle. But in a hostel dorm room, which I shared with two other wonderful ladies, I found myself lost. They were the same age as I was, yet so different. I realized that there would be no adult supervision, if and when we have a fight because we were the adults there!
So, as a fellow living-in-a-hostel-with-roommates-person, let me guide you through these life-saving tips on what to expect from your roommates, and how to make your hostel life a hell lot easier by understanding how to handle different situations.
Here are those 5 unspoken hostel rules you should know before moving in
1. The Roommate Rule-book
You’re young and you want to take life as it comes. But trust me, you really don’t wanna be having the awkward conversation with your roommate about them using your bathing soap. Laying down the rules before you really need them can be one heck of a smart decision.
After the pleasantries have been exchanged, give them an overview of your habits and the absolute deal-breakers and ask them to tell you theirs. Establish the ground rules :
- Divide the chores and do your part on time. You really don’t want those dishes to pile up in the sink, do you?
- Discuss your sleeping habits and your class timings, so that the other can be considerate enough to not blare out their speakers at 2 am.
- Decide what stuff can be shared, and what stuff is absolutely off-limits, because you never know how petty you can be until you move in with someone.
- What about having people over? The last thing you want is to walk into the room late night after a party and seeing your roommates friends whom you don’t know, sleeping on your comfortable bed.
2. Communication is a major key
Hanging out with a person is drastically different than living with the same person. You will frequently find yourself in situations where you question the very rearing of your roommates and on better days, you’d want to hit them with the nearest weapon you could find. What both parties need to understand is that both are completely different individuals and will obviously have different living styles, and in such cases, clashes are bound to happen.
You may find yourself leaving post-it notes all over your place, reminding your roommate to do the dishes or to stop eating your food and whatnot. You may not realize it, but resorting to passive-aggressive behavior does nothing. What you really need to do is to confront your roommate regarding whatever issues that are bothering you. And here, by confronting, we do not mean to go ballistic and interrogate them like a criminal.
It will always benefit you in the long run if you phrase your sentences strongly but politely. Your roommate might be taken aback for a while, not realizing they were in the wrong, but when sense kicks in, they’ll surely appreciate you for your honesty.
3. The Trash War: The Slob vs The Neat Freak
Face it: Nobody really likes doing the chores. But they’ve got to be done. Yeah, you’ve planned out the schedule regarding who does what stuff and when, but what’s not decided is how the chores are to be done. Your idea of cleaning the living area may be completely different than roommates.
The two of you may also be different about how tidy you keep the room. You may be the slob, throwing away all your dirty laundry on ‘the chair'(Yeah, everybody has ‘the chair’), and your roommate might be borderline OCD. If this is the case, you should be courteous enough to not let your mess cross your side of the room. Although it is advisable to keep the room neat, so as to avoid panicking when one of the two’s parents are supposed to visit.
4. Your Stuff is My Stuff, and My Stuff is Also My Stuff
The worst thing someone could do to borrow something from you and return it damaged! Don’t they know everything you own is absolutely holy and deserves to be treated with utmost care and sanctity? It sucks when your roommate ‘borrows’ your favorite dress from your closet in your absence and manages to get a tear while hard-partying on a Friday night.
You might be very good friends but you know where to draw the line. If you need to borrow something, you can politely ask your roommate. If they agree, use it and put it back before them having to ask you. If somehow you damage it, apologize and offer to replace it or get it repaired. Your roommate with appreciates the gesture. If they refuse to lend something, instead of accusing them of being petty and uptight, respect their decision and take the high road.
If you’re at the receiving end of such behavior from your roommate, let them know that you’d be happy to let them borrow things but only if they ask you first. If they return something, not in the original unharmed condition, let them know that fact. Also, tell them what are the things you’re totally uncomfortable lending. This will clear out the vagueness.
5. Best friends or Not?
The popular sitcoms have led us to believe that roommates are necessarily besties who always hand out together, have similar hobbies and interests and have a common group of friends. However, this is not true in real life. Your roommate will have a different set of friends than yours. And it’s not such a bad thing. You don’t have to be best of friends to be good roommates.
One bonus tip for you all, You can sync your Google Calendars for common dates such as when to pay rent when to buy groceries and other supplies and other common roommate stuff. So, instead of blaming each other’s shitty memory, you’ll be reminded of these important dates, and hence your lives will become extra productive!
Hostel life transforms you into an independent and self-sufficient adult. A little argument with your roommate should be last of your concerns because when compared with the positives, these negatives don’t stand a chance. Happy ‘roommating’ to you!