Sharing more than a room

There are many students and young professionals in the City who live with roommates; either out of compulsion — in hostels and paying-guest accommodations — or because they want to split rent two ways. Of course, sharing an apartment or room with someone can be very convenient. Apart from the financial angle, it also means that housework isn’t as much of a burden.

Kundan (in black waistcoat) and his roommates. On the other hand, living with someone can be tricky. No matter how well you know a person, it’s common to hit certain stumbling blocks and sticky situations when you start living with them. Neat-freaks might find out that their roomie is a perpetual slob; hidden vices like stinginess and laziness might come to light and it isn’t uncommon for tempers to flare and petty arguments to break out. Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans to find out what they look for in roommates and how they handle the initial period of adjustment.

Anuja, a student of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, doesn’t seem too bothered by little details like tidiness and temper tantrums. She’s more concerned about living with someone who is like family to her. At the end of the day, she reasons, living away from home can be lonely — and having a roommate who is also a close friend can do much to alleviate that feeling. “I would want to stay with someone who is more than my best friend — someone who, no matter how silly I behave, will not judge me. Living with that kind of person won’t make me feel like I’m away from home,” she says.

Kundan, a student of REVA Institute of Technology, however, has a very different opinion. He feels that close friends should never become roommates because at the end of the day, living with someone can put a lot of pressure in a relationship. “In fact, I would even say that there’s a sense of professionalism between roommates. When I first came to the hostel, I was apprehensive,” he recalls.

He feels that the success between sharing a cordial relationship with a roommate is based on compromise. “It’s tough to adjust, initially. But after you spend some time with the person, you understand when to compromise and adjust. It’s like a new marriage,” he quips.

Manya, an engineer, has ample experience dealing with roommates — she’s lived in hostels since the sixth standard. “Throughout school and then college, I’ve been living with other girls. Initially, there are three main criteria I keep in mind before deciding to stay with someone — she should be friendly, tidy and shouldn’t steal,” she explains, adding that she’s previously lived with someone who used to regularly nick her stuff. She feels that while ensuring these three qualities can make living with someone easier, it’s still tough to adapt to another person’s lifestyle. The trick, she adds, is to strike the right balance between being firm about you want and still avoiding unpleasantness. “In my case, my roommates and I used to spend time talking to each other, to decide how best to reach a consensus. It’s important to ensure things don’t get unpleasant because ultimately, you have to live together,” she sums up.

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