Whether by design (living in a college dorm or summer camp), or necessity (needing help with the rent), chances are you’ll have to deal with a roommate or two at some point in your lifetime. Managing roommate relationships can be hard, especially for individuals with autism. Here are some tips that may help!
Try and choose someone with whom you have a few things in common. This doesn’t mean you should room with your best friend! Pick two or three things that are really important to you and look for someone who feels the same way you do about them. For example, if you love to talk politics, try and find a roommate who shares your political views. If you like things very neat and tidy, don’t room with someone who is messy.
Create a roommate agreement
No, I’m not talking about a 20-page manifesto a la Sheldon and Leonard in ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Just a list of things to help you and your roommate avoid simmering conflict. The best agreements anticipate areas of living together that might be sources of conflict and establishes ways to deal with those in advance. For example, how will you share the cost of utilities? Will you each shop for and only consume your own groceries? Will you need your roommate’s permission before you have friends over? And, how will you handle household chores like cleaning the bathroom?
If you see something, say something…when you are calm
Roommate conflict in inevitable, even if you and your roommate are compatible and adhere to an agreement. It is really important to talk to your roommate if they’ve done something that upsets you but it is best to wait to do that until you feel calm. Sometimes it even helps to make some notes about how you are feeling and why to offer some suggestions about what would make the situation better.
Living with another person is an important step on the road to independence. It involves some compromise and lots of communication. Do you need help developing these skills? Coaching can help! Want to learn more? Schedule a call.