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How to Get Along with a Roommate (When You'd Probably Rather Be Living Alone)

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  • How to Get Along with a Roommate (When You'd Probably Rather Be Living Alone)

    Living with a roommate can be an incredibly valuable experience, particularly if you are new to the area or just starting out in the real world. Ideally, by sharing your living quarters, you are exposed to new ideas and new friends, and you have an in-house shoulder to lean on, not to mention someone with whom to split the bills.

    Then there are those times when you perhaps would rather be living alone, but because of financial reasons have no choice but to cohabitate. This can get pretty ugly if your roommate is also one to take your food or clothes without asking, leave dirty dishes to pile up in the sink or bring over strangers to party at 3 a.m. But even under the best circumstances, having someone around 24/7 can be trying.

    Top Tips to Get Along With Your Roommate

    Your roommate may or may not become your best friend, but in order to keep your sanity, you do need to know how to at least get along -- and here are the tips you need to do so.

    1. You Can’t Control Your Roommate, but You CAN Control Your Feelings. “You may not have a choice about who you live with,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates, “but you do have a choice about how you feel and react to the living situation.”

    So instead of allowing yourself to feel infuriated if your roommate leaves the TV on all night, use The Sedona Method to let this feeling go. While this does not change the offensive behavior, it DOES make you feel better, and that's what's most important.

    2. Embrace the Idea of Having a Roommate. You may not want a roommate, but focusing on that fact will only make matters worse.

    “If you resist having a roommate, then even if they are the ideal roommate you can turn the situation of living with them into your own personal hell,” Dwoskin says.

    Quite simply, you must accept the idea that you have a roommate, and then focus on the positive aspects of your living situation.

    3. Be Yourself, and Let Your Roommate Be Himself. “Do your best to make friends with them and allow them to be the way they are,” Dwoskin says. “The best way to do this is to be yourself with them and let go of any thoughts or feelings that are causing you to feel uncomfortable around them.”

    4. Be Open to New Ideas. You may think that you don’t like the Indian food that your roommate cooks, or have a hard time understanding her love of football, but keep an open mind. If you open yourself to new ideas and experiences, you may be surprised at what you enjoy, and your roommate will probably become more open to accepting your interests as well.

    5. Show Respect for Your Roommate. This includes for your roommate’s privacy, opinions and possessions. Hopefully, your roommate will respond with the same respect in return.

    6. Discuss Disagreements Openly. There's nothing worse than allowing tension to build until it explodes. If you simply allow a major disagreement to fester, your mind will focus on that negativity and bring more of it into the relationship. Instead, talk about your concerns and try to reach a compromise. Then, focus on the positive and let go of the minor annoyances that occur from day to day.
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