Once when I lived with a roommate, one of my cats pissed all over a pile of her clothes. Boy, was she mad. At me. I thought this was a little unfair since I wasn't the one who did the peeing, and really, if she wanted the cats to stay out of her room, all she had to do was close the door. But she was a good roommate, and good roommates are hard to come by.
My worst-ever housemate ate all my food, never changed her cat's litter and wouldn't pay me months of back rent. Even the crazy guy who took off in the middle of the night because he was convinced the Mafia was out to kill him was never so inconsiderate.
You never know what you're going to get. As school starts this week, students everywhere are being placed in roommate situations, often in teeny-tiny little dorm rooms. It's a little surprising more people don't kill each other. Here are some survival tricks.
What the Experts Say
You never know what you're going to get. As school starts this week, students everywhere are being placed in roommate situations, often in teeny-tiny little dorm rooms. It's a little surprising more people don't kill each other. Here are some survival tricks. "Painting the place green promotes harmony in situations where there might be opposite energy. Green has a very peaceful energy, so it creates the feeling of serenity and calmness. Blue supports learning. Yellow is really good for precision and clarity of mind, so usually when it comes to learning, I suggest yellow and blue. You don't have to paint the whole room. There are a lot of ways you can use colour in your decor, like in coloured pillows or paintings. Green can be added with plants."
SUSANNE MURPHY, colour therapist, Vancouver
"The problem is that you're putting people into an unnatural environment, so introducing a comforting odour can help. Citruses are almost universally positively received. You want to choose something that has as close to a universal appeal as possible, something that is non-threatening. If, for example, you're a woman and you walk into a room wearing jasmine, that's like saying, "I am the queen!" Jasmine contains powerful animal odours that are extremely sexual. It's a very yang fragrance, so that would not be a good choice. Food smells like cinnamon or nutmeg will create a harmonious environment. If you diminish the possibility of threat between two people, they can figure out how they're going to get along."
SUZANNE CATTY, aromatherapist, Toronto
"Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) are very confident. They like fun, adventure and challenges. Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) carry on tradition. They love security and are more suited to routine. Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) love to communicate, have a good sense of humour and like adventure and intellectual stimulation. Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) like game playing. They're extremely sensitive. They like friends to have problems. They love to save people. Water and fire together is not a good combination. Earth signs understand water very well. Fire signs and air signs get along well."
HASSAN JAFFER, astrologer, Toronto
"Often people get a hunch about something or feel that something is uncomfortable but ignore it because it doesn't logically go with what they know. The thing to do when living in a space [with others] is to listen to those hunches and have the discussions that you need to have. If you think something is troubling your roommate, there probably is. The time to set boundaries and have things go smoothly is at the beginning. Set up a regular time . Once a week we look at whether there is anything we need to discuss to make this work better. That way things don't start to fester and boil."
TERRI CORNISH, certified co-active coach, Reno, Nevada
"Make sure your bed or desk isn't facing the other person. You've got to have clear division of the space and ensure you know what your kwa numbers are. These are your feng shui numbers that determine the directions furniture needs to be facing. Your kwa number is determined by the year of your birth and can be obtained from many feng shui books. It also determines the colours that support you. You want to make sure you can always see the door whether in bed or at your desk, and if you can't, then place a mirror so you can see it indirectly. Ensure that there are no sharp corners [on furniture] . These cause cutting ki, a sharp, knifelike projection of energy that will hit you. If corners aren't rounded, you need to put a tablecloth over them."
SHEILA MATHER, feng shui practitioner, Ottawa