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“I knew my roommate before we lived together. She seemed really nice, so I assumed we’d hang out together or talk. But it’s nothing like that. She’s a lot different than I thought she’d be. Now, we can barely stand to look at one another.”
-Jamie, age 18
Do you ever look at your roommate and wonder, “Who is this person?” “What am I doing here?” “How can I get out of this mess?” Whatever your situation, it’s probably not what you expected, especially if you’ve always had your own room and private bath and have never lived in such close quarters with anybody. It might have sounded cool to room with a foreign exchange student at first, until you realized you had nothing in common. Or maybe you played it safe and roomed with your best friend, but now you’re living with tape down the middle of the room. Maybe you agreed to share food only to find out your roomie never buys any!
When you expect one thing and get another, it can be a shock. It can also be disappointing because you were prepared mentally and emotionally for something else. Even the greatest of relationships have conflict. Expecting to have disagreements is a lot different than assuming you’ll never have a fight. The bigger the gap is between what you expected and the unpleasant reality of the situation, the higher your stress level. You can bridge that gap by learning to adapt your expectations. That doesn’t mean you have to lower all of your standards, but you may have to adjust a few.
So, what are reasonable roommate expectations, and what do you need to let go of? Check yourself against these lists to see where you may have to make some adjustments.
It’s OK to Expect.
You Shouldn’t Expect That.
Realizing that you may be holding on to unreasonable expectations is the first step. Read on to learn exactly how to deal with reality, communicate with your roommate, and improve your situation.(Reprinted by permission)