It's All About Compromise

Over the years, I’ve had the great fortune to live with many of my close friends. Each house and living arrangement provided a unique experience filled with highs, lows, and everything in between. One challenge that always seemed to present itself was my eczema and how my condition would inevitably play out in the house dynamic. While I feel that I’m pretty easy to live with (I’m sure my friends would say otherwise…ha!), each individual makes an impact on the home, whether they know it or not. I’ve learned that if certain expectations — or requests — are brought to the table at the beginning of the new living adventure, everything will go more smoothly in the long run. From these experiences, this is what I’ve learned:

Roommate thermostat wars

It’s either too hot or too cold - never just right. Everyone has their own temperature preferences. Whether they’re trying to save a buck on utilities, or they are legitimately too warm for comfort, there is always a catalyst behind this struggle for controlling the thermostat. Now, I could be in the minority here, but cooler temperatures tend to make my skin most comfortable. One of my previous roommates enjoyed, “a nice warm Mediterranean climate,” as he used to put it. We realized that in order for everything to work we needed a compromise. We decided that we’d keep the thermostat around 70 degrees. That way if one of us was too cold or hot, we could add or remove clothing (or fans) as necessary.

Messy roommates

When three guys live in the same 1,050 square foot house, things are bound to get messy. I’m not saying our space was filthy, but it sure wasn’t as clean as my parent’s house. There was always a collection of dishes in the sink, random junk on the kitchen table, or light cleaning to be done. Looking back at this situation, it probably didn’t help my indoor allergies at all. What I now know, is it’s best to have some sort of individual cleaning schedule in place or to spend 10-15 minutes picking up each day.

Noisy roommates at night

Like many eczema patients, I have difficulty falling and staying asleep. I’m either aggressively scratching or uncomfortable due to the temperature. Unfortunately, my bedroom in my last living arrangement had poor airflow, which resulted in my room being either way too hot or cold. To combat this, I’d leave my door open at night to help make my environment a little bit more tolerable. This proved to be a problem because one of my roommates woke up much earlier than I, and would always make a lot of noise. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but as a light sleeper, I’d always wake up during his morning routine. If you factor in my lack of sleep, it was safe to say I was rather irritable in the mornings. The fix was simple. We found that all he had to do was shut the bathroom door when he was getting ready and I would sleep through the noise.

Roommate communication

No matter who you live with, there will always be some form of conflict. My advice to you is to recognize the source early on and address it as quickly as possible. I’ve found that creating a strong line of communication will make everything easier in the end.

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