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We must commit to being (almost) perfect roommates

Life forces us to share spaces, let's try to make it enjoyable

We must commit to being (almost) perfect roommates Life forces us to share spaces, let's try to make it enjoyable

When it comes to roommates and shared spaces, anecdotes pour in like in the climax of a romantic movie, where the protagonists kiss under the downpour. Some are funny, others a bit sad, some make your blood boil. There was the roommate who kept tabs on how many times I used the oven, or the hours I slept. She amused herself giving me mom-like advice, and I hated it because I was in my rebellious phase. There was the one who invited her friends over for dinner every night and hammered shelves into the wall at 11:45 ignoring any condo rules (now that was rebellious), and the apartment where trash duties were so neglected that we once found some unwanted guests. But, and I won't reveal in which of these houses to keep you in suspense, there was also the roommate with whom I ate kebabs in front of the Sanremo Festival, the one I went for ice cream with on sweaty July evenings when we complained about exams, and the one who always offered me baked pasta and wine, the very young student I dragged out between one lockdown zone and another to get some fresh air - and he was happy about it even if he pretended not to be - and the roommates with whom I faced the quarantine, between one aperitif and another on the balcony. In short, many lows but also many highs, and this is shared life.

Who lives in shared accommodations? Roommates at university and beyond

As the cost of living increases (including rent), more and more people find themselves having to live in shared accommodations. The first experience of group living often comes when moving for university, but then it continues even after finishing studies. According to an analysis conducted by Idealista, 37% of workers and 36% of students ask for shared rooms and houses. House compositions are often mixed (44%), in major cities rent costs more for students (an average of 380 euros per room) than for young professionals (370). Depending on the city, the situation can vary drastically, both in terms of costs and accommodation quality. Currently, the cities where it's more difficult to find accommodation are Florence, Milan, and Rome.

Living harmoniously with roommates: a matter of balance

Let's not kid ourselves. Shared living is a life of compromises. We have to accept it, and the sooner we do, the sooner we'll be able to live it peacefully, especially if we didn't choose it by preference but out of necessity. After all, we have to share not only spaces but also our habits with strangers, acquaintances, or friends, and each of these types of cohabitation presents its specific challenges. Sometimes it's fine to be together, but other times it's better not to. If we lock ourselves in our room, however, we'll leave space for others, who might take advantage of it, invading it. On the other hand, forcing ourselves to take our space, to be present and get used to using the house as if it were ours and not as if we were guests of someone else, often can be a bit taxing. And what if we just want to be alone? We risk starting to hate the moment we come back after a long day of work or study. And that's not sustainable.

@ashlynskaar Replying to @JVM what to do when your roommates don’t respect you or your things #askashlyn #advicecolumn #advicecolumnist #roommates #roomateproblems #roommatestruggles #badroommate #greenscreen original sound - Ashlyn Skaar

Rules for harmonious cohabitation

No need to rack our brains here, either. The fundamental rules, unfortunately or fortunately, are always the same. Civility, respect, and communication are the three pillars of pleasant roommating, full of positive or at worst boring anecdotes (boring is okay, the important thing is that they're not disastrous). These three words, to be repeated in the mind like a mantra, should be applied in every possible situation. Crumbs on the table? Civility and communication. Intimate noises coming from the other side of the wall? Respect and communication. Cleaning shifts in common areas? All three together. Setting rules right away, as soon as you enter a new house, could be a good idea. Discussing and deciding them together, trying to build a friendly relationship, preparing dinner together, having a cocktail or a mocktail together every now and then, too. Not all accommodations are forever, and not always the people we live with are our favorites, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to make the best of it. And if it really doesn't work out, at least we'll have something to tell.