Big Personalities, Little Apartment

Sammi Bilitz
April 15, 2022
Roomie Taco Night

When you live in close quarters with at least five other people, it is only natural that there be a few points of contention.

I find that the closer the roommates, the more a little conflict can show up. This is fine, probably healthy. If one person brings up something they are upset about, it means they feel comfortable enough to share their feelings and trust that everyone can work together to come up with the most utilitarian solution.

The important thing for everyone to remember is that it is never one person versus the other, rather it's everyone versus the problem. It is so much better to schedule a quick apartment meeting to discuss things than it is to let problems fester until there is an inevitable breaking point. Everyone in the program is an adult, and part of adulthood is knowing how to work as a team and be an effective communicator. Consider this sort of communication—important discussions between flatmates—just another skill study abroad helps develop.

Some hot topics and possible solutions, I personally have run into:

  1. Dirty dishes are piling up and no one is taking responsibility. This is a tough subject, especially for those of us with no dishwasher in our apartment. If everyone misses the occasional dish or two, those start to pile up and before you know it, you’re out of clean spoons. No one should feel obligated to clean other people’s dishes, but if you need to in a pinch, do it. Then schedule a ten-minute sit down with your roommates, to go over the dishes. Maybe one person likes to leave their dishes to do the next morning, while the other needs there to be a clean space? Once everyone is on the same page as far as how they are the most comfortable, it’s easier for everyone to match each other’s expectations. 
  2. Trash is starting to pile up. There is a simple solution here: create a trash schedule! While the trash certainly doesn’t need to be taken out every day, with six people, trash, recycling, and glass to be taken out, every day someone can take something out. In my apartment, everyone has a day and if you noticed that the trash was full on your day, you take it out, or you take out the recycling, etc. This is also great at holding people accountable and splitting up cleaning duties in each apartment because there is a record of who was supposed to take out the trash and who did it.
  3. Someone is feeling excluded. This problem is a little different. With so many different personalities living under one roof, some people will become really close while others may gravitate toward the outskirts, however, no one likes to feel left out. If you are feeling excluded, say something to your roommates or friends outside of the apartment, to make sure you feel heard and supported. If one of your roommates comes to you because they feel excluded, listen to what they have to say and come up with some solutions together. Apartment movie night? Everyone cook dinner together? A quick trip out to get something sweet to eat together? The possibilities are endless.

Sometimes abroad living can be very close quarters, to make sure those quarters don’t chafe, it’s important to be open with your roommates while also respecting everyone else’s boundaries.

Sammi Bilitz

<p>Sammi Bilitz is a junior at Indiana University enrolled in the Writer's Program in Dublin, Ireland. She is studying journalism and international studies and is so excited to explore what Ireland has to offer. In her free time, you can find her huddled up in some bookstore with a steaming cup of tea in hand.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Indiana University
Zionsville, IN
International Studies
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