It is safe to assume that almost all of us will come to a point in our life wherein we have to live with strangers like:
– a college freshman who needs to stay in a dormitory
– a college fresh graduate who needs to stay in a boarding house near his/her workplace
– elementary students in a summer camping activity
– exchange students
– students or office workers doing missionary/charitable works
– a stay-in employee living with his/her employer
– in some cases, living with your husband or wife after a fixed marriage (yeah, right!)
How bad and how sad is it to live with strangers? Usually, the newcomer is the one who needs to adjust to the rules and regulations of the old-timers in a dormitory or boarding house. Culture-clash cannot be prevented in a situation of closely living with somebody unfamiliar to you. What is acceptable to you might be taboo to the other person and vice-versa. A loud music to you might be a lullabye to your housemate. Then there’s the issue of equal sharing to the electricity and water bill especially if you think that you are shortchanged in the computation. Of course, privacy is also an issue because some people prefer not to entertain visitors at the dorm or boarding house. In the case of an employee living with his/her employer, the working hours written on the contract is prone to be violated if you’re just a stone-throw away from each other.
The Big Brother House is one hell of a description about how it is to live with somebody you don’t know. Big Brother intentionally did not get housemates with similar interests and personalities for the purpose of entertainment. Imagine a house full of Lucy Torreses or a house full of Ethel Boobas; the former would be comparable to a convent while the latter, to a circus.
In reality, the winning housemate must be the one who is able to keep a harmonious relationship with all of his/her housemates. Age has something to do with patience because younger people have shorter temper. As a person matures, his/her understanding about life and how to interact with the other person is broader and better.
We are always reminded about being respectful about our housemate’s belongings but the first step in dealing with a stranger is to know and understand his/her culture and as well as his/her family background. After discovering one’s culture and background, we will be more understanding about his/her personality and then, respect and acceptance will follow.