I wasn’t so much angry that I had to shower late or watch a movie on my computer. It was more that I was jealous of my roommates who were so involved in their non-scheduled lives that they didn’t even notice my rigid routines. I was jealous that they got to run errands during the day or meet the cable guy at 11am. I needed someone to commiserate with about how much my day sucked or how much I hated my boss, but every time I came home it seemed like they had been chillin’ all day long while I sat at my desk. I knew that this was more my problem than theirs, but it taught me something: No matter how many people you think you can live with who aren’t like you, the reality is that it’s so much better to live with people who share your day-to-day routine.
That’s not to say that living with people who don’t share your schedule is all bad. It can be nice to have a roommate who’s waitressing at night while you’re home relaxing or works as a freelance travel writer and is gone for two weeks out of every month. There are definitely trade-offs, and I know that those trade-offs can be sweet. But then there’s the downside.
One student I lived with came home shitfaced at 5am at least three nights out of the week simply because she could. And every time she came home, it interrupted my sleep. But who was I to complain? I took a shower while she slept in the mornings, so it seemed like a fair trade. Except it really wasn’t. She got to roll out of bed, eat a bowl of Cheerios, watch The Price is Right and paint her toenails. Or at least, that’s what I pictured her doing as I sat at work rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.
It became apparent that we were very different people. We had different lifestyles, and our schedules reflected those differences. And while there are people out there who absolutely love living with roommates whose routines don’t mirror their own, I think for me it’s kind of a deal-breaker. I never pegged myself the type to say, “no students, please” in my ad, but maybe students and 9-5ers aren’t an ideal match. Maybe it makes more sense for freelancers who work from home to live together, and for 9-5ers to live together. Or maybe it’s just a “me” thing. Either way, I figured out that I like living with people who don’t consider 8am to be bedtime. Unless, of course, it’s Saturday.
Email me at roommates AT crushable DOT com to suggest column topics, ask personal advice, or share whatever is on your mind. But don’t be shy in the comments below. Nothing is more entertaining than reading and sharing your own roommate experiences, and we’ve all got a few. Or a thousand.