How to Kill the Roommate Drama Before It Starts
We’ve all had them. We’ve all lived with them. You may have one in your house right now.
Whether you currently live with roommates or just moved in into a new place, you probably know the hassle of roommate drama. Those more experienced than us tell us what to prepare for, warn us to set the rules and boundaries from the start and never share food. The list of commandments does not stop at ten.
But this is the digital age, where technology seems to have answers to most of the problems we face every day. Can technology help us avoid the pitfalls of co-habitation?
First of all, it is important to understand the underlying reasons why roommates fight in the first place. Anyone can list off the big ones – cleanliness, personal space, food and responsibilities. But really, when you live with roommates, one question is at the heart of all issues listed – how much are you willing to share?
Therapists tell us communication is key. Speak up and talk about your feelings. You finally sit your roommates down, everyone seems to be understanding and friendly, and it starts to look like you have finally solved the Roommate Problem for good…until you wake up the next day to find that absolutely nothing has changed. You feel like you are the only one who worries or cares.
It is believed that college students are more prone to being affected by roommate conflicts. 46% of starting students choose to leave home, which in and of itself poses a bunch of psychological and social challenges. Everything from being away from parents to learning how to make life choices is stressful and anxiety-inducing. 41% of those away from home for the first time get at least one roommate. In 2012, the Huffington Post published an article that drew attention to how a bad roommate situation affects everything from GPA to drop out rates among college students in the US. Conflict with roommates in college is ranked one of the top five reasons for dropout.
So now we know the problems. Can technology be the solution?
There is no magic app to solve it all, but there are a few that can make your life a bit easier. After all, you are paying too much in rent to put up with discomfort at home.
To fix the roommate drama among college students, more and more colleges are adopting a self-selecting system of choosing a roommate. One really good app for that is RoomSync, which matches you with roommates based on your Facebook profiles.
EasyRoommate verifies who you are to ensure security and safety of your move. They also help you find roommate situations or apartment shares in the geographic location you want to live in, providing all contact info in an easy-to-use interface so you can call them, have a chat and see if you are a match. All in all, these apps take some of the stress out of choosing the right roommate.
A bad roommate situation affects everything from GPA to drop out rates among college students in the US
All of your roommates claim they cleaned the kitchen when you clearly see that the leftovers from last week’s dinner are still on the counter. Luckily for you, Tody lets you manage a household cleaning routine and track who completed what tasks and when. Download from Apple Store (unfortunately no Android version available yet) for only $3.99.
You are probably tired of tracking your roommates down and kicking their ass when they do not pay rent or their part of utilities. Splitwise allows you to manage total household expenses including rent, utilities and general IOUs and track who paid what and how much. Available for a free download for iOS and Android.
If you failed to establish boundaries when you just moved in and your roommates do not understand what personal space means, do not panic. White Noise is an amazing app to help you shut out all the noise or voices and peace out into your room, where you can have some time in quiet. Available for a free download for iOS and Android.
Getting locked out can definitely create strain between you and your roommates, especially if it happens more than once. If you do get locked out, having a back-up plan will allow you to avoid involving your roommates in your drama. You can save a copy of your key in the cloud and use a fingerprint to print a new one at any local key duplication kiosk. Conversely, if your roommate calls you 35 times and asks you to give them a key because they lost theirs and there is no way you can leave work or classes, KeyMe’s got you covered there too. The new key making app allows you to scan and store keys in the cloud as well as order them to your home and even send the scan to your roommate, who can print it out at a local kiosk. Available for a free download for iOS and Android.
As of now, there is no ultimate cure to solve the roommate drama once and for all, but these apps are designed to outsource annoying behavior, giving you fewer headaches to sort out throughout the day. Make it a rule for your roommates to download these apps and monitor your shared living conditions, and be self-aware to police your own annoying behaviors (getting locked out, leaving too many dishes in the sink) with reminders and tech-based back-up plans. Restoring and maintaining peace is the most important task when you live with roommates. Be proactive and you can prevent most problems before they start.