How to Live With a Roommate, Seduce Men, Make Friends, and More

“You’re a liar,” she says.

“Nope,” I say. “I’m an introvert. Just like Jane Eyre.”

“You talk so much though,” she says, eyes wide with shock. “You get along with everyone. You have so many friends!”

Now you’re the liar, I think, I don’t have friends. What are those? Also, you ignored my allusion to the best book ever. Our friendship is over. I cough a little bit into my hand to cover my disdain, and I lean back into the hard wood of my dorm room door.

“Have you met my roommate?” I ask. “Now, he’s an extrovert…”

How I survive socializing. But really, I do love people. Most of the time.

How I survive socializing. But really, I do love people. Most of the time.

I might not exude social prowess, but I like to think that when I interact with humans, everyone walks away happy – including me, even as an introvert. An outlier to this belief occurred last semester with my roommate. We both experienced a stressful week; he wanted to go to bed early to rest for activities during the day, but I needed to stay up to work on assignments I did not have time to complete during the day. Due to a silent disagreement about sleeping times, our conversations turned into monosyllabic phrases, and I tried to avoid my room as much as possible. We both felt tension in the air, but after a week, three magic words fixed it all: “Can we talk?”

Communication alleviates a lot of problems. In an age where people post indirect insults through Facebook statuses and use Twitter to throw shade all the time, legitimate conversation forces people to address their problems and come to a compromise. Through active listening and explaining what you want while balancing another person’s needs, you do not just ameliorate the immediate situation – you improve your overall ability to speak with empathy and confidence. Talking well lends itself to several areas of life, ranging from job opportunities to romantic relationships. In the end, everyone survives through self-expression.

I know it’s not that simple. Sometimes words come out wrong and miscommunication occurs. But actually talking – starting to speak with another person – creates a dialogue that may turn into something more. If someone refuses to compromise or to listen, another action might be appropriate, but a lot of the time communication lies at the heart of conflict resolution. When my roommate and I sat down to talk about our disagreement, we not only worked through the scheduling problem, but we grew closer and more comfortable with each other as a result.

A note my roommate wrote for me after he forgot to clean the floor. Isn't his calligraphy pulchritudinous?

A note my roommate wrote to me after he forgot to clean the floor. Isn’t his calligraphy pulchritudinous?

I included seducing men and making friends in the title of this post to captivate everyone and trick them into reading this post for no real reason for a reason. All of these activities include interaction with other people, and solid communication solves a variety of issues that burden human connections. No matter what, forming a clear foundation for the relationship – whether it’s deciding if you mind having guests over or establishing that you’re looking for a serious romance – can prevent a host of other problems from developing. When in doubt, talk it out.

A three page letter my future roommate wrote me! I live with the best guys.

A three page letter my future roommate wrote me! I live with the best guys.

Do you guys have any tips for living with a roommate or getting along with other people? What do you think creates positive communication? I know there’s a lot more to it, such as finding someone who sleeps at the same time as you or someone who has the same preferences in terms of partying, but I feel like a lot of those things can be addressed through communication. Perhaps I will write a more in-depth post about communication later on – I just wanted to give an overview of an act I find helpful in many facets of my life. On a side note, if you’re interested in my brief thoughts on “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut or Escape and Reverse by Chelsey Johnson, you can find those here and here. I hope you all have a great week!

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “How to Live With a Roommate, Seduce Men, Make Friends, and More

  1. Er, I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet… But I have heard that it is a beautiful book and will be reading it soon! (So please don’t shun me :P )

    First, I am jealous of your roommate’s awesome handwriting. He writes like a wealthy man in the time of George Washington and John Hancock. I am also amazed by that three-page letter your future roommate wrote you. Do roommates in college usually do this? Or are yours just really fantastic?

    Anyways. My current (and in my opinion, most awesome) group of friends have never had a real disagreement before. I mean, I have had little arguments that result from debates (that, uh, I normally start) getting a little too heated (because of, uh, my tendency to get too carried away in my want to be right) with some of them but that’s all and they don’t last long. I believe the longest one I had lasted for about an hour. I think that we have been able to stay away from having a big fight is because that, though many of us have differing views on many things, we are all good at respecting the different opinions we all have and make compromises. Now, when it comes to my getting a little carried away in my constant wanting to be right (it’s a flaw of mine), I have a few friends that are able to snap me out of that– and I am getting better at snapping myself out, too.

    As for just getting along with people in general… I just try to find how a person is, what they like and dislike, and adjust how I interact with them according to that. I’m different when it comes to my actual friends, of course, but when it comes to people I just know, I find that I find it easier to get along with them when I do that.

    I can’t give any tips on getting along better with a roommate (I don’t even think what I have said above is any help either, haha), but I think you are doing just fine! Just keep being able to talk things out when you get into a disagreement :) While being “right” is sort of fun (I should know), it’s more admirable when a person is able to compromise, making it so both parties are happy in the end.

    • Of course I won’t shun you, you’re a superb person! Let me know when you read Jane Eyre. (: And I suppose my roommates are just unusually splendid, ha ha – though we are all human with pros and cons.

      I’m glad that you do not experience any severe strain within your group of friends. I agree that it’s a mix of trying to win an argument and maintaining harmony; it’s great that you gauge what each of your friends is like and adjust accordingly. It seems like we’re both on the right path in regard to interacting with people in positive ways!

      Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful comment.

  2. I love this post! And same about the disagreements with friends, lucky us.

    http://www.khoasinclair.co

  3. I totally came here for the seducing men part. I feel duped, man.

    Just kidding. But also, you seem to have hit the jackpot with roommates?? Calligraphy and three page letters? I – that- that HAPPENS?

    Ah, communication. We can sit and discuss it for hours, and people have written countless theories on it, but once it’s in practice, the organic-ness of it can bring about any number of results, both good and bad. I guess it’s up to us to go back and remedy a situation if the results were more in the negative area.

    Sounds like school’s going well for you :)

    • I suppose I have hit the jackpot, though the school I go to possesses wonderful students so that might help. (: But you’re right, I’ve portrayed communication in a positive way here but it really depends on how you communicate – it’s a complicated process and it takes work to make it fruitful.

      School is going well, I’m waiting for more posts on your blog though! Thanks for reading and commenting as always.

  4. I am really lucky in the fact that, before I moved in with my boyfriend, I lived mainly with friends I got on with. Two were my best friends (both at separate times) but one was a girl that I really didn’t along with. Luckily it was just in the same house, and not the same room like you are having to deal with. I spent a lot of time in my room, trying to avoid communal areas. Not the perfect living situation.

    I am not really much of a talker. I’m much more one for obsessing on things silently. Not healthy, I know. What you’re saying is right though. Communication is something we should all try for.

    • It’s great that for the most part you roomed with people you got along with, I’m sorry you had to deal with someone who wasn’t of your liking too much though. I feel like it’s perfectly fine if we do not always share our innermost thoughts all the time, as long as we try and ameliorate a situation if it’s really bothering us. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. Thoughtful post for sure. For me, the art of communication improves thru repeatedly putting it into action, otherwise it is lost.

  6. I understand what you mean about being a talkative introvert. I’m that way most of the time, though I do have the knack for striking up conversations with total strangers about anything. Your roomies sound cool and yes communication is key when dealing with them (or really anyone, especially bosses – have a serious issue with that where I work now). I was lucky to have pretty easy-going roomies in college, and was only really upset with my very first b/c she was my best friend and moved out after 1st semester and my last roomie b/c she invited her boyfriend to move in with us without really asking me (though he was a nice guy – the fights between the two of them were interesting as we had an old rental apt and very thin walls). Oh yeah, then there was the 3rd roomie who became a stripper and all these creepy guys kept calling and dropping by, but the girl and me got along pretty good.

    • I agree that communication is a skill applicable to a wide variety of situations. Your roommates sound super interesting, and it appears that they’ve given you quite a range of experiences and ordeals to deal with.Glad you managed to mostly get along with all of them though. Thank you for reading and commenting. (:

  7. Maybe a desk lamp, a sleep mask for him and complete silence from you, would suffice..

    • Trust me, we ran through the whole gamut of ideas when discussing the sleep issue. The desk lamp, sleep mask, and silence theory was brought up. It’s worked out now though – still, thank you for your suggestion!

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