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I will be straightforward. I was raised as an only child, thus, I can be an inconsiderate brat with sharing issues. But after living with a roommate (whom I am lucky enough to also call a friend) for the last 9 months, I have become a better person in (at the very least) 5 ways. And to many of you out there, these are not particularly noteworthy ways; but I am finding that it's the little things that define who we are as people. I am here to appreciate those little things.
Firstly, I am more empathetic. I can gauge emotions better, hers especially. Let's call my roommate, "Kay." I know when Kay is doing dishes with a little bit of bitterness because I was the one who dirtied those dishes and has been to lazy to wash them. I know when she has been crying recently just by the way she opens the door. I know when she just needs a break from life with a good Ryan Reynolds movie and a Taco Bell night.
Secondly, I am more flexible. Kay and I both have our own stories, our own moments that define us, our own preferences and sensitivities. We both tend to be very picky about cleanliness but in very different ways. But we have both learned to compromise and let certain things go. My philosophy used to be very rigid, "Noooooo girl, you must do it exactly like this," and now it has turned into, "ugh, fine, if you must, LOL." Perhaps not as gracious as it could be, but it's a definite improvement.
Thirdly, I am more adventurous. Late night adventures to Target for an eyelash curler or to the gas station for Hot Cheetos. Check out a hot yoga class together and discover that it is entirely possible to sweat your entire body weight. Buy HelloFresh together and try cooking with their delivered ingredients (discovering new favorite recipes in the process!). Watch a new horror movie on Netflix and discover that it was actually excellently written and produced. 10/10, would watch again.
Fourthly, I am more generous. Kay and I have gotten to the point where we are comfortable with not keeping tabs on everything that we do for each other. Our motto has become "that's what friends do." She will do shopping one day, I will do the dishes. I will cook dinner on one of her late nights, she will rent a movie. I will review her English paper; she will help me with my Spanish homework. It's mutualism at its finest.
Finally, I am more thoughtful. It takes tremendous communication skills to live in harmony with another person. I let her know if I am having someone over. I ask her before I use her hairdryer even though she tells me I don't have to ask anymore. I shoot her a text before I throw something away. On Mondays and Wednesdays when she has classes at night, I walk her dog. And when she's having a particularly tough day or week, I try and comfort her in the only way I know how; I make us dinner or I do a load of her laundry or I wash some of her dishes. Living with Kay has made me a "listener" instead of solely a "talker." Nearly every day we ask each other about their day, rant about a stupid situation at work, cry about how much work we have procrastinated and laugh about the silly people in our lives.
Living with someone gives you the unique opportunity to learn and bond with another person, but it also gives you the opportunity to become a empathetic, flexible, adventurous, generous and thoughtful individual. I treasure the little things that contribute to my journey of being a "better" person. And if you give it a chance, your roommate can end up not being just a friend, but family.