University is a time for settling priorities: where to eat, how to work, learn and grow. For most of us, that task is shared, passively or actively, with our dear housemates.
Living with fellow students is quite a journey. There’s those who help, those who hinder and then there’s you. The conscious being “yourself”, out here living the best you can. And, maybe, if you’re lucky, managing to make some friends along the way. We’re all in the same boat. But sometimes the circumstances of our lives, hidden well into the backs of our heads, tend to grow into a few traits that others begin to notice. And who best to notice than the peers who see you minutes after you’ve crawled out of bed. While there are most definitely outliers, here are the 5 types of housemates I’ve had the good fortune to experience during my stay here.
“Who are they, do they even live here? I think so: I once spotted a toothbrush in the sink at 3 am, but when I went to check it out in the morning, it was gone!”
No one truly knows the ways of the recluse. They keep to themselves and generally stick to the path of least resistance. I’ve met a couple of recluses during my years here and kept noticing an emerging pattern. They’re not the most co-habitable people out there and the Recluse seems to have scheduled their life right outside of your eyesight. When you’re in, they’re out, and when you least expect it – a creak at the door or a late shower keeps you second-guessing just how they manage to find the time to appear right when you’ve surmised that the lack of food in the fridge might be a sign that they’re truly a figment of your imagination.
A recluse might often lead to a few disagreements on house rules and cooperation, especially regarding managing utilities. They’re an enigma and getting them to open up may be quite the task. Nevertheless, if you don’t mind their ever-present but notoriously distant nature and can accept that some people just don’t feel like making friends with their housemates, and that’s alright with me.
“Heyy… It’s your turn to take out the trash, please make sure you’ve done it by the end of the day, okay? (:”
The overachiever is quite a way off from our first addition to the list. They’ve got a plan for everything, and there isn’t a day when they don’t decide to make changes in the household “for the sake of efficiency, of course!” The overachiever will make a list, and make sure you check it twice. The laundry list, the trash list, and the kitchen list – if you miss up, beware – you’re in for a polite, yet slightly passive-aggressive, request to Get Your Act Together.
The overachiever makes sure the household operates like a distinct, million-dollar organization that flows with structural integrity. Guests need to be announced with prior notice, no pans in the sink after you’re done, and there are set times for when it’s Off-Limits to use the washing machine. While overachievers aren’t always intrinsically rule-lawyers, they tend to exert an aura of “Do as I do, and we’ll be good friends.”
“Hey! I’m going out with some people I met the other day, you should totally come with!”
The extrovert keeps an eye out for you. They’ll offer to cook dinner together or ask if you want to join them on a morning jog. The extrovert is an ever-present embodiment of social comradery. You can usually find them in the centre of a shared living space, just waiting to ask you if you’re in for a group study session.
Here I have to confide in you, dear readers. I don’t fit this bill at all, so there’s a clash in personality when it comes to living with this bunch. But, after extensive research into the minds of the handful of extroverted peers I’ve shared a living space with, I see now that their social wiring is all in good faith, and their intent is to make the best out of the people who are closest to them. In this case – in a physical sense. If you’re staying home and the fridge is starting to run dry, they’ll be the first to make sure you’re headed to the market together.
“Yeah, just tell me what to do and I’ll have it finished or else I won’t be able to live with myself.”
Not to be miscategorized as The Recluse, the introvert is a much different beast. They still keep to themselves, but the built-up anxiety-meter that they’ve fine-tuned after years of social engineering has made them experts in the art of “making sure you don’t have a problem with them”. The introvert will do whatever it takes to keep you comfortable so that there’s never anything wrong that would require you to go and complain about it. They’ll listen to your demands, clean up after themselves and will make sure that whatever’s wrong will be handled as soon and as quietly as possible. Either that, or they’ll have to over-analyze it for the rest of the day.
The introvert is like a “Machiavellian” overachiever, scheming long-term and keeping their plans to themselves, and I’m not saying that just because I am one. They make sure that they can either learn to live with something or can find the best way to slowly and methodically change it to their whims. They’re content with themselves, and that’s fine by me as long as they smile and say hi when we part ways in the hallway.
“What do you mean I should take my clothes out of the suitcase?”
The nomad was a type of housemate I didn’t expect that I’d have a lot of insight on, but I still found them strangely worth taking a look over. They come and they go, but never seem to stay for long. The nomad seems to take their journey five steps at a time, going from room to room, changing places constantly and never really settling down in one apartment in particular. Be it rent, moving in with a partner or a constant goal to find their dream home, the reason doesn’t really matter – a voice in their head tells them that this really isn’t the place they want to stay in, and they’ll be damned if anyone tries to stop them from finding a place that does.
Nomads tend to be a sporadic indicator of change and are often the brashest when it comes to telling it like it is and making sure the home they’re in realises the commonality and ingrained habits that others have chosen to ignore.
I wouldn’t say I know how they do it, but I’ll appreciate their energy as often as I’ll be worried about what they’ll decide to do next.
While we tend to fit people into boxes, and it’s undoubtedly a neat way to set people apart and make sure you know how to deal with each one, remember that every one of your housemates takes in a piece of character from you, and vice-versa. While some of us are more reclusive, brash or meticulous than others, we all grow and learn to live together- by living together.
Written by Jānis Lazda – PR & Graphics committee