There is a point in everyone’s life where they will have to share a living space. Whether you are in school, at home with your parents, or just moved to a new city with your best friend (or total stranger), being a good roommate is essential to your overall living experience. I’m sure we have all heard the horror stories of people who deserve to live forever alone: the slob, the roommate with the live-in boyfriend, the party pooper, the roommate who always forgets to pay rent…the list goes on and on. We never want you to be those people so here are a few things to reflect on when living with someone.
1) Clean up after yourself
If you make a mess – clean it up! With our daily schedules getting more and more hectic as we get older, nobody wants to be responsible of cleaning up someone else’s filth. Regardless of your financial background and upbringing – your roommate is not your maid! Be an adult and clean up your sh*t!
2) Set boundaries
One of the most important aspects of living with someone is setting boundaries on Day One! Don’t wait for the conflict to happen for rules to be set – that is a sure way to increase tensions. Take the time in the first couple days of moving in together to sit down and create some ground rules for the living space. Maybe your roommate is an early riser and you like to sleep in? The compromise you can arrange is that quiet hours of the apartment are from 11pm – 11am during the workweek. That way, everyone’s lifestyles are respected.
3) Be considerate
This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous… please be considerate of your other roommate(s). If you know they have to wake up early for work in the morning but you decide to go out, be mindful and keep it quiet when you come home. The worst is when you are trying to rest for the next day and you are awaken by slamming doors, loud talking, and/or other loud noises resulting from adult activities… Also, if you are the roommate in a relationship, make sure your partner is considerate of your roommates as well. [S]he does not pay rent therefore, they are a guest – your guest – that must follow the house rules just like everyone else. And when you guys decide to get intimate, please try to keep it down as not to disturb the entire house. We are happy for you but some of us may be experiencing drought season – don’t rub it in.
4) Pay bills on time
Money is the root of all evil as well as the root of many confrontations with people who live together. Make sure to always have the money for you bills and rent on time to lessen the tension. Nobody wants to have to chase you down for your money. We all understand that life can throw us a curve ball and there will be a time when you just don’t have it. Speak up and let your roommate know. That way arrangements with the landlord can be made and it doesn’t come as a surprise. You never know – maybe your roommate has a little money saved in an emergency fund and can cover for you this month.
5) Nobody is perfect
Don’t be that person to complain and pick a fight about everything that goes wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept your roommate for the flawed individual they can be and get over it – it’s not the end of the world.
6) Your roomies aren’t your children
Don’t try and parent your roommates. Questioning where they are going, when they are coming home, who they are hanging out with will cause a lot of unnecessary tension. If your roommate wants you to know what’s going on, they will tell you. If not, understand that they have a life of their own that doesn’t always include you. When it comes to the household chores, it is only your role to step in [politely] when you realize they were neglected. If you all have decided that chores will be completed by Sunday evening, don’t start harping when your roommate decides to sleep in Sunday and not wake up at the crack of dawn to mop the floors. Trust that it will get done without you fire-breathing down their backs.
7) You’re not their only friend
Just because you have agreed to live with this person does not mean you are or will become the best of friends. It is great when you can have “roomie bonding time” but accept the fact that your roommate has a completely separate group of friends from you. Don’t get jealous when she wants to hang out without you. Taking a break is healthy – you guys do live together.
8) Don’t avoid tough conversations
In any relationship conflict will occur – it keeps everyone up-to-date. Do not think that avoiding the tough conversations is going to be beneficial for your good standing with your roommate. In order for you to live together in peace you will need to know what grinds the other person’s gears. Don’t be afraid to confront conflict head-on so that it can be resolved in a timely and appropriate manner. It’s no fun walking around on egg-shells when you live with someone.
9) If you finish it replace it
Plain and simple: if you finish it replace it! That goes for toilet paper, food, soap, anything! Be considerate and never leave your roommate hanging..ever!