Tips for Living With A Roommate

It can be wonderful living with a roommate–but it can also be a nightmare. When you move in with someone new, you need to establish some clear expectations so that lines don’t get crossed. It’s great to save money on the rent and to have a constant companion at home, but things can get hairy if both parties aren’t on the same page.

  1. Clear Communication: This can be one of the hardest things to do, because first, you must be honest with yourself. You have to know what your top priorities are and how to effectively communicate that to someone else. If it’s important to you that the dishes be done every night, make that known. Likewise, if your roommate says that they absolutely don’t want to share the milk, respect that, and don’t drink their milk. It may not make sense to you, but by being open and honest with each other, you can avoid a lot of tension and problems.
  2. Give Each Other Space: Not everyone wants to be with someone 24/7. Sometimes people need time to be alone and lounge around. Whether you are friends with your roommate or not, remember that it’s valuable to spend time apart. Tell your roommate that after work you’d like to be left alone for the first hour of being home. It’s ok to be honest about what you need.
  3. Clean Up After Yourself: This may seem simple, but it is usually the first thing to go once you get comfortable with each other. If you use the last of the paper towels, then replace them. If you made a mess in the kitchen, don’t wait to be told to clean it up. Your roommate isn’t your parent, and shouldn’t have to clean up after you. Take pride in your home and keep it tidy. It doesn’t have to sparkle everyday, but maintain a comfortable space for both you and your roommate.TIP: Split the chores evenly. Make a chore list with items that needs to happen every day, every week, and every year and even split it between the roommates. When it’s your turn to do a chore, don’t shrug off your duties, leaving it for your roommate to do. Take responsibility and take out the trash when it needs to go out.
  4. Pay Your Bills On Time: Money is tight. No matter what job you have or how much you work, money always seems to be hard to come by. Don’t assume that you can be a few days late on the utilities bill because your roommate has the “better job”. You don’t know all of their finances and what other bills may need to be paid. Not to mention that this means you have other underlying issues. In a worse case scenario, tell your roommate upfront when you see that you may be having some financial trouble. Communicate with them, and then do your very best to make it right by holding up your end of the bargain. Sometimes that may mean foregoing happy hour every now and then.
  5. Share the Living Space: Respect that you both share a living space. It’s not yours alone. Don’t constantly invite friends over to take up the shared living space, cramming your roommate out. Simple things like sharing the remote control to the T.V. are important.

Having a roommate can be one of the best experiences if you keep open lines of communication and treat each other with mutual respect. Listen to and honor the requests that your roommate makes, and be mindful of how you are using the shared space. If you keep each other as a priority, then you’ll have a great time living with your roommate.

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