Tag Archives: communication

Collegiette Clue-Ins: 5 Ways to Be An A+ Roommate Without Being Asked to Step Up Your Game!

Being in college provides many more challenges beyond the educational spectrum that require plenty more than booksmarts. I’ve compiled the lessons I’ve learned living in a college dorm and an on-campus apartment to provide you with some insight on how to be a great roommate to your new roommate and tactics to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations in your new home! images

1. Take initiative to clean, even if you know that all the crumbs on the counter are from your midnight-munchin’ roommate. And DON’T be a jerk about it. It’s gross, it’s a hassle. I get it. But it can be a difficult thing when there are four people living in such a small apartment (thankfully this fall, it will be reduced to just one roommate!). Even if you all have your own bedrooms, there’s going to be some overlapping in the common areas (inevitably), and with that comes headbutting over where items should be placed. You’re not all going to come into the apartment with the same kind of living style in mind (that would be too easy!)! You’re not always going to have time to clean up after yourself if you’re in a rush to get to that exam you forgot to put on your calendar, but taking the time to clean up, even if it isn’t always your mess, shows your roommate that you’re happy and willing to put in the work to keep the space up to par. They’ll be thankful that you’re avoiding a roach infestation as much as they are (usually). Nobody’s saying you should follow your roommates around with a mop and scrub behind them, but if you see leftover crumbs and dirty spots, wash it down. It’s two extra seconds of your time, and even more importantly, a month without cockroaches! 

Tactics:

  • If the mess is a recurring problem, try to sit down and discuss it with her rationally. Without yelling, throwing things, accusing, instigating, holding a grudge, or talking smack. Keep it chill. Don’t use accusatory language, and if you’re upset about the issue, wait until you’ve cooled off before you confront her. Open communication starts with listening, and if you’re angry, you’re not going to hear her out and be able to reach a conclusion.
  • Keep cleaning supplies in or near the kitchen for quick cleanup.
  • Set an example. If you’d like her to keep her dishes and other items in the common area clean, make sure that your stuff portrays that. Often just setting an example helps avoid the situation altogether.

things-are-getting-steamy 2. Consult (or warn, if need be) your roommate if you have the full intention of stumbling into the apartment with a dude. I’m going to be honest. The walls in college apartments are like tissue paper. I can practically hear you blink. The sounds that you make, no matter how loud, can probably (very likely) be heard from the apartment next to yours. It’s important to voice when you’re going to invite someone in the apartment so your roommate doesn’t end up having the awkward encounter of confronting the dude in a towel or quite possibly running into him, butt naked, in your shared hallway. Who knows, the heads-up might give you the apartment all to yourselves for the night or at least for a few hours. She’ll appreciate the courtesy call you gave her beforehand tomorrow.

Tactics:

  • No last minute warnings. Be courteous and don’t spring it on her.
  • Have a conversation beforehand, like way beforehand, discussing bringing people home. She may be uncomfortable with it, so it’s important to discuss and compromise before the situation arises. You don’t want her to feel like an outsider in her own home.
  • I feel like this is common sense, but let the guy know that if he’s going to use anything or eat anything out of the fridge, it’s going to be something of yours. That would be a major line that shouldn’t ever be crossed unless stated otherwise.

friends_cooking 3. Offer to cook some of their food for them as a treat! College brings on more challenges than you’d think (aside from the endless homework, excruciating exams, and involvement in clubs), and after a merciless day, nothing tastes better than a home-cooked meal (aside from Chipotle, which is always a nice alternative if you’re a “toast burner”). When your roommate sends you a down-in-the-dumps text, take that as a queue to be her superhero and do something nice for her. And if you can’t cook, don’t worry. I bet the ramen noodles you’ll make in the microwave for her for when she gets home will still be highly appreciated. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. Make the thought worth it!

Tactics:

  • Fillet mignon doesn’t have to be on the menu (unless that’s your best dish. Then you’re obligated. Kidding!) She’ll appreciate whatever you make her (as long as it’s not something you made consciously knowing she’s allergic to it).
  • Brownie points for preparing dessert, too! Maybe have a sundae night in with her? How cute would that be?!
  • If you can’t cook for your life, give her a listening ear. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to hear you out. I know that on a really bad day, there’s nothing that comforts me more than getting to say what I’ve been thinking about without getting automatically judged. Good friends are hard to come by, so do what you can to be that genuine person she can confide in if you feel like you guys could be on that level.

happy group of young people at a university college 4. Introduce her to your friends, family, boyfriend, whoever. It may seem silly (and a little awkward) at the time (you haven’t even taken her on a date and she’s already meeting your family?!), but it’s important for her to know her roommate (yes, you’re HER roommate, too!) well enough to be comfortable at home with you. It’s a significantly strange feeling to arrive on move-in day, piles of boxes in hand, and introduce yourself to the person that you will be cohabiting an apartment with for the next year, or maybe even two if it works well between the two of you. That’s a lot of pressure for a good first impression. But if you start off friendly right off the bat, that’s what she’s going to perceive of you. You’re friendly, sociable, and open. Giving her the opportunity to meet the people that are closest to you (and that are probably going to be helping you move in) will make her feel like your new apartment is more like a home. It will feel more inclusive, and she’ll probably be more inclined to be open to you as well, and willing to accept you enough to introduce you to the people she holds close. And, if she’s awkward and doesn’t want to be a part of that whole socialization process, then at least you know that you put your best foot forward.

Tactics:

  • Hugs almost always work better than handshakes. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s going into a business deal when you arrive. The first thing I always say is, “I’m a hugger, not a shaker” and I go in for a hug before it gets weird. It usually breaks the tension pretty nicely.
  • Keep it casual. Don’t push yourself on her. Remember, friendly and sociable, not pushy and obsessive. You know?
  • Make her feel like a friend, not a stranger. She’ll be a stranger at the time, but don’t make her feel like she’s outside of the bubble while you have everyone in your little group going in and out of the apartment unpacking your things. Include her in conversation if she’s up for it!

food-sandwich 5. Don’t eat her food or use any of her stuff without asking her. I can’t stress this enough! Nothing is worse than a roommate that just digs through your stuff and picks out what they want. More often than not, when I’ve been asked for either in the past, I’ve often said “yes”. It’s all about communication. It’s your home that you share. I doubt that, at your “home home”, you have to hide your stuff, so treat this new place in the same way. Anything she keeps in common areas has the same rules as the items you leave in the common areas, unless stated otherwise!

Tactics:

  • If you buy some of the same foods, either label them or have both of you pitch in to get the food to share. If food goes unlabeled, how is she supposed to know whether it’s hers or not if it’s something she buys, too?
  • Bring a mini fridge if you don’t want to share fridge space or would like to keep some stuff in your own room. There’s no problem if you have your own space for some stuff, but I wouldn’t suggest taking up the shared fridge’s space, too. Just be courteous.
  • If you borrow anything (after given permission), return it in the same condition.

 

Do you have any tips for first-time roommates? Share them below! 🙂

#AskMandirito: What began your love of social media?

I’m actually really happy you asked that, because it’s been a journey ever since I became exposed to our first desktop computer. You know, one of those massive, box shaped monsters that used to take up the whole desk. The desktop had a dial-up speed, but something about it fascinated me. I felt like I had every creative tool imaginable in the tips of my fingers. Quickly, it progressed from the popularity of the desktop computer (that held the basics of features) to my all time favorite, the laptop, which opened up a whole new range of tools. For years, I didn’t have my own personal computer, so I found myself exploring the internet on my parents’ computer. Little did I know that that spark of interest would drive me to where I am today: obsessed with social media and amazed by the ability to promote my work to a much larger audience. I feel like the allure of using a computer to have my creative voice heard on a larger scale gave me a sense of community that I would never pass up, and that feeling still remains with me today. I have met so many incredible people through the internet that have inspired me to promote myself and have pushed me to not give up on my creative endeavors. I am still continuing to learn all of the ways in which I can use technology to build a brand for myself.

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5 Reasons Why We Never Know What Other People Want (or More Importantly, Need)

A couple of days ago, I was faced with the realization that communication can be difficult, as we all have grown up with different circumstances. I thought I would address the reasons why we don’t what other people need to bring to light our differences.

1. Some people are private people. They don’t share the requirements of their own sustenance. They are under the assumption that they can achieve that kind of satisfaction through their own means. Sometimes, though, that is not the case. Some things can not be provided by the self. These types of people, however, would probably be more likely to take assistance from someone similar to them in that way.

2. Relying on others makes you “needy”. I’ve heard this so many times before. I had this same assumption growing up. I didn’t want help from other people because I was afraid they would look at me as if I weren’t self sufficient, and being independent has always been crucial to my own satisfaction. Unfortunately, having this kind of mindset can actually break down friendships, because it is believed that friends will need each other. When your friend doesn’t need you, would you consider them still a friend?

3. Every culture has their own assumption about how to acquire their needs. In some cultures, it is believed that the right thing to do is to simply ask someone, and if they say that they cannot provide something, then ATLEAST it was asked. In other cultures, however, some believe that it shouldn’t be given without being asked. Neither culture is wrong in their belief, but being able to understand the habits of specific types of people gifts us the ability to make everyone happy.

4. We’re not mind-readers. I’m guilty of this too, the belief that others know what we need but are choosing to ignore it. Not everyone knows what you need, so it’s important to address these concerns when they arise so grudges are not held for unprovoked reasons. It’s like blaming someone for something they didn’t know happened. When we leave our thoughts in our head, they can transform in a way that misrepresents the situation, and others could be punished for the blown proportions of the ordeal. It’s better to be upfront.

5. We are not living the same lives. We all have our journeys, and no two journeys are exactly the same. Opening the lines of communication allows us to merge our paths and ultimately benefit everyone to the best of our abilities.

Insincerity at its Finest: Humanity Lacking Human Nature

It drives me mad how many times people give insincere “sorry’s” and “condolences”. You might as well not even waste your breath, because the fact that you only care to communicate with me now, and not only that, but spit a half-a**ed “sorry” in my direction, just goes to show that you don’t have an ounce of sympathy to spare. Shame on you and your lack of social etiquette. Stick a fork in it and keep chewing. You certainly don’t need your teeth for talking anyway.

And as for the people who care…Rock on. Do your thing, because you’re doing it right. Those who were there as a shoulder and open arms have been and continue to be my “rock”, so to speak. You were brought up right, and should do whatever it takes to remain sympathetic, empathetic, and caring towards others. More people need to have your kind of attitude. For heaven’s sake, finding sincerity in this world is like picking up a grain of sand on a beach from a pile of millions of ’em. I feel like I have to really cherry-pick my friends, and it sucks. Honestly. 

When did some of you lose your ability to be human, and what the heck did the world do to you that put you in your place that way? When did you stop understanding trying to understand someone else’s pain?

Daily Writing Prompt: What is one phrase that makes you cringe and why?

There are so many phrases that people use in conversation that leave my skin crawling, but I’d have to say the misuse of the phrase, “I couldn’t care less” takes the cake for me. When people misuse this phrase, they end up saying the exact opposite of what they mean, blurting out “I could care less”, meaning that they do have some care present and that their care could be reduced in that situation. And surprisingly, more often than not, when people misuse this phrase, they are actually conveying what they’re feeling of the situation. They actually DO care about the situation and want to come off as “disinterested” and “disconnected”, which turns out to not be the case.

Which leads me to this last thought: try your best to express what you feel rather than using cliches to express your thoughts. It’s more genuine and understandable when you’re describing from the heart, rather than repeating the phrases stored in your head. You know?

 

Daily Writing Prompt: Do you think that manipulation is at the core of our social interactions? Explain.

puppet

 

I’ve always been deeply engaged in the existence of psychology within our lives. Human interaction occurs in a vast amount of ways, from the way that we maintain eye contact, to the way that we physically interact, with hand holding, handshakes, subtle touches, and other physical gestures. What comes with interaction is the ability to use actions to manipulate the actions or responses of another person, or several other people. Although the existence of manipulative behavior may seem as if it has a negative connotation, it can also have a positive influence amongst people. Yes, some individuals use manipulation for self gain at the expense of another’s feelings or goals, or out of the pleasure of feeling like they can “outsmart” or “dominate” their peers. However, manipulation can be utilized to positively impact the lives of others. For example, I had recently had a discussion with a close friend that was painfully worried about meeting her boyfriend’s parents because she was afraid that they would immediately judge her based upon her cover, long before they could explore the many pages of her wonderful personality. Knowing that she takes my opinions very seriously and cares significantly about our relationship, I assured her of her greatest qualities and comforted her in the thought that they will love her, because I truly believe they will. I used my influence on her to manipulate her thoughts about the situation at hand, and to bring it down to a rational level. Having the confidence of a friend standing behind you and lingering in your mind in moments of insecurity can give you a sense of not being alone in the moment, and I think that my reassurance gave her the confidence to give it a shot, despite her doubt. It turns out when she did meet his parents, they loved her from the very beginning. They couldn’t wait to meet her, and she felt like she was family right when entered their home. She had no reason to worry about what they would think, because on her own, she is an extraordinary person, with or without my confidence, but knowing that her good friend believed in her minimized the issue. That was an instance in which positive manipulation occurred because of influence.

Let me get down to the point here. Yes, I believe that manipulation is a significant part of our core interactions, but the power that is brought upon an individual with the persuasiveness to manipulate can be used in both positive and negative ways. It’s important to value yourself, but to also value the feelings and journeys of those around you in order to avoid destructive behavior that could potentially create a lose-lose situation for both parties.

This has been written from my own personal experiences within my life, and the situations I’ve observed.