We've actually had a total of 1 male friendly roommate change (two residents switch rooms with each other to be with their best friends; had no conflicts) and about 20+ female unfriendly roommate changes. Males tend to be more tolerant of each other, but I would like to make it so they don't have to stress through it. If we can lower the amount of roommate conflicts it would make our lives SO much easier. I know nothing will be perfect and there will always be incompatible roommates, but I would like to try and reduce it.
Any idea where the male/female difference comes from?
Female residents have either/or thinking when it comes to roommates.
"Either I like her or I don't like her and I want a new roommate". If one roommate doesn't like the other, she then starts gossiping about her to others and eventually the other finds out and they have one big fight. I really can't describe the dynamics in words right now but I'll ponder it. Basically, I think women are more territorial than men. I think the most common mistake is that at least one of the two girls forgets that she is sharing a room and she has a lot of friends over, leaves her clothes everywhere, sleeps until 3:00 p.m. etc.
I have a lot of these problems with my current roommate but I keep my mouth shut and try to fix things the best I can. He is a very smelly person and I can walk in and be slapped in the face by his odor. What did I do? I didn't complain for a roommate change; I bought an odor eliminating plug-in and I replace it every two weeks.
ugh- that sounds like my freshman year roommate who staked out the whole room as hers, left things sitting all around and woke up at 5 am and was noisy- no matter how much I complained I pretty much moved out once another friend's roommate left and I could spend my time in her room
some people don't get along with any roommate no matter WHO you put them with
Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? -Terry Pratchett
The things my housemates and I conflict the most about are:
-quiet-times ("having fun" for some = "being loud" to others)
-doing chores, and what "clean" means -- this one by far is the worst!
-having guests over
That's about it. But really, this is all pretty pointless, because 2 reasonable people will usually be able to work out a compromise...and an unreasonable person will cause problems regardless. So I wouldn't stress too much about it.
In my experience, these have been the biggest issues with roommates.
1. Age differences
The fresh faced 18 yo's are so happy to be out of the house that they go buckwild. When you have a senior who's trying to get ready for life outside the college bubble, jobs/interviews, graduate school, lamenting over the last class they're in danger of failing, etc. they're mentalities are on two completely different continents and tend to clash.
When I was in one of my two triples, my other roommates BFs would spend the weekend almost every single weekend and some weeknights. That may be a problem for people that like to have their private space.
Some people have more lax attitudes about sharing and others are counting every sheet of toilet paper that gets used. Help roommates figure out appropriate and reasonable levels of sharing. If you're living in close quarters with someone and they think it's OK to use your computer and download porn (true story!) or use all your toothpaste and because everyone agreed to share then there was probably a lack of clarity for sharing boundaries.
You may want to find out what roommates ideas on security are. Depending on the size of your campus and crime this can become an issue. If one roommate is from a small town where they rarely lock doors and the other grew up in the city, there may be problems. I've know people that have had their laptops and gaming systems stolen while they were sleeping in the room.
This is the absolute worse. I've had roommates that have let the fruit liquefy in the fruit bowl and we had to combat a swarm of fruit flies for a couple of weeks. This particular set of roommates were so bad I had weekly appointments with a counselor to help figure out ways to deal with them.
Here are some questions I had to answer for an internship I once applied for that offered housing. I thought it was really thorough and appreciated the fact that this was thought of. I wouldn't use them to screen people, just as a way to identify possible conflicts. These may be illegal questions though.
1. Have you had or have any life-controlling (mental, emotional, and/or relational) issues.
2. Have you ever sought help for psychological problems? (sexual, emotional, relational)
3. Have you ever attempted or considered suicide? If so, please describe.
4. Do you currently wrestle with suicidal thoughts?
As with most relationships, it usually comes down to willingness to communicate. My worse set of roommates was two against two and by the end of the school year we were communicating through post-it notes. Other random roommate horror stories I've been regaled with are pets hidden away in rooms, hardcore drug abuse (cocaine, ecstasy), alcoholics, abusive boyfriends, and one of my friends caught her roommate taking her hair out of hair brush for a spell and chanting over her bed.
Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship. Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts Social Penetration Theory 1 Social Penetration Theory 2 Social Penetration Theory 3
I think the most common mistake is that at least one of the two girls forgets that she is sharing a room and she has a lot of friends over, leaves her clothes everywhere, sleeps until 3:00 p.m. etc.
I think that's why my first roommate left me.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers
2. Do you like peace and quiet or are you more outgoing and social?
Because to me, those seem like the two main areas that people living together would butt heads over. If you need cleanliness and organization, yet you live with someone that is a pig and doesn't give a damn, that can be pretty stressing, frustrating and just an overall distraction. Same applies with living with someone that enjoys having people over a lot, hosting parties, talking/joking on a regular basis. If you're one who doesn't like living in that atmosphere and would rather your living space to be more serene, coupling opposites like that isn't a great idea and it could cause conflicts.
Maybe you should set it up as one of those speed dating things that have gotten so popular lately (I am only partly joking, the idea is intriguing to me)
Get all those freshmen/women in a room with a bunch of tables and let them spend 5 minutes with each other figuring out if they think they would get along with them or not. Maybe give them an idea of what they should be asking, but let them run with it. If anything, it would be an interesting social experiment.