If you stay with roommates like I do, I’m sure you have experienced times when you go: “How nice would it be if I had the place all to myself”. Living with others inevitably means having to put up with their habits, and since each of us have many different needs, they invariably come into conflict. However, living with others not only makes sure you behave in a way that is actually, yes, sociable. It also exercises your mind and helps you to be a creative problem-solver.

People who live in their own place, and have things go their way all the time could really develop some gross habits. There was a list that went around, that described the hilariously gross things that people do when they live alone, i.e. the dangers of not having to account to anybody.

You are basically free to:

  • Eat that entire tub of ice-cream right in front of the freezer
  • It becomes acceptable to not bathe for the few days when you are feeling unmotivated, or depressed, or just downright lazy
  • Sleeping and eating at the weirdest times is okay
  • It is okay to reuse that fork you placed on top of the dry plate that you placed into the sink for washing
  • And many others

There was an instance when I felt thankful to place the needs of others on an equal priority as mine, even though I feel unwilling to sometimes. It made my mind work and think about alternatives. If I had my way either just by arguing, or by being selfish, I doubt I’ll have the motivation to think up of win-win solutions. And the thing about win-win solutions is, they are really so amazing once you arrive at it because it is more than the sum of its parts.

Here is a case-in-point: It is winter time and you want the heat at 80, but your roommate wants it at 70. Do you fight over it? Or wage a silent war of setting the thermostat to what you want whenever the other person is not around, or when she is not looking, or precisely because she is looking? I have to admit, having that type of situation before with my previous roommate was horrid. I ended up just checking into my room when it is bedtime.

So this time, I thought about how I could both balance the needs of others and mine. Eventually, I got around to the idea that there’s a space heater sitting in the basement I could use. It didn’t take long at all, all it took was just the right attitude. The great thing about this is, we are both happy, and there was a bonus of a more efficient use of the gas leading to a lower utilities bill.

So embrace the opportunities you have to work out things, even when, or maybe especially when situations get difficult. Practice makes perfect, and you will become adept at coming up with win-win solutions, which will be a valuable asset in life!