I read a wonderful blog post from Lisa DeCanio last week on why she couldn’t live with a co-ed roommate. It got me thinking about my past living situations, and I realized that I’ve never actually had a successful female roommate experience yet. They’ve all started off well enough, but usually ended up with someone setting the other persons worldly possessions on fire or a fist fight.
Is it me? Am I that much of a nightmare to live with that I should just live alone? (Hint: most likely) I’ve lived with plenty of men, and none of those situations ended with a police escort on moving out day. It must be something about my personal tastes clashing with the same sex.
I decided to break down some of the reasons why a woman like myself can’t possibly live with another female. Keep in mind, I’m a little out there – but so are lots of people.
Common Interests: This may be because I’m a tomboy, but I’ve always had a hard time getting interested in some of the more girly aspects in life. Yes, I’ve tried to wear make up and a tight shirt like my other female friends when I’m up in the club. Unfortunately it usually ends up with running, ugly makeup (I’m a sweater), and a night ruined because I’m too busy trying to suck in my gut wearing a shiny shirt that’s a size too small. Give me a roommate that I can sit down and talk about video games with while in sweatpants, and I’m the happiest girl in the world.
Judge others as you would yourself: Most women I know tend to judge others critically; which if you’re my roommate, being judgy could be a full time job. I like to do some weird stuff when in my own home. None of my male roommates have ever made a catty comment about me hitting the peanut butter jar with a spoon at 11 pm or singing show-tunes in the shower.
Gender roles aren’t always a bad thing: Guess what? I can’t fix a clock or DVD player to save my life, but I am obsessive about a dirty toilet. If I clean a bathroom, then I know that it’s clean enough for my standards. It’s all about setting boundaries on day one and making sure everyone is doing their fair share; not about unintentionally getting into some weird mom or wife role.
Passive Aggressive Princess: Before you jump down my throat about me making sweeping sexist statements about the female race, let me clarify. I tend to be the passive aggressive one. I’m personally much more comfortable calling a guy out for something I’m unhappy with than women. My past experiences with men have been being able to air my grievances, talking about both sides point of view, and then hugging it out. I just can’t seem to do that with women, I hold it in and spite myself out of a healthy household.
Being comfy in your surroundings: Farting? Yep, ladies do it. Speaking like a sailor 99% of the time? It happens. I’d much rather be farting around (get it?!) in a towel around someone who wouldn’t notice that 5 lbs I gained over the holiday break; then to worry about what people may hear about my bad habits though gossip. I can’t speak for all men, but the ones I lived with were never attracted to me or judgmental about the way I looked (at least not to my face, so I was comfortable being myself in my own home).
Don’t hook up: Getting too involved in any roommates life is asking for trouble. Yes, you may be besties…but how long until you get sick of each other? If you’re stopping yourself from living with the opposite sex because you’re nervous of getting feelings or a drunken random hook up is crazy. Hey guess what? Don’t let it happen! Again, it’s all about the boundaries; set them and don’t cross them. If you’re getting black out drunk enough that you’re concerned you may hit the hay with your co-ed roommate, then you may have a bigger issue at hand (yes, giving any advice on moderation on my end is the pot calling the kettle black…but it’s true).
Any roommate can be a nightmare to live with, and it all comes down to personal preference and good communication between you both. The key to a successful roommate experience is to set boundaries on day one and communicate effectively the entire time; even when it’s a uncomfortable subject. There are pre-screeing services out there like Roomiematch.com that can help you find someone to live with. I’d suggest in your roommate pre-screen to make sure you ask about the typical stuff, but also be brutally honest. If you just can’t make yourself do the dishes for three days after you cooked, tell them! Ask for references from previous roommates, and if they don’t want to give you any then red flags should be going up. eHow.com has a good article on all the things to look for when finding a roommate. Good Luck, you’ll need it! Sharing a living space with anyone will always take some hard work to have it be a successful and positive experience.