Going off to college is likely the first time you’ve lived with a roommate. Adjusting to cohabitation can take some getting used to. Many student’s biggest fears is having a bad roommate, or watching a living situation go sour. By following these 8 tips, you can help make your roommate situation positive, so each of you feel your voice is being heard and you enjoy living together.
- Don’t expect them to be your BFF
When living with a new roommate, accept they’ll be just that. A roommate. You don’t need to hang out all the time or always know where the other is. Keeping things that way can make it easier to discuss problems in a diplomatic way. Of course, always be friendly. And it might be nice to sit and watch TV together after a long day. But you shouldn’t take it personally if your roommate prefers to go to their room or makes plans without you. And if you do become good friends with your roommate, great! Just don’t assume your roommate wants that to be the case, and give yourself time to invest in other friendships.
- Be clear about expectations from the beginning
Do you hate it when roommates snooze their alarms? Tell your roommate that in the beginning! Let them know as soon as possible about your preferences and quirks. It’s not fair to expect them to know that about you, and communicating it will stop problems before they start.
- Address problems when they’re small
Don’t wait until the final straw to yell at them for using all your shampoo. Open communication, and politely telling your roommate that something you do bothers you is the best way to keep things civil. They’ll be glad you brought it up instead of wondering if you’re silently fuming for months. Remember – they can’t read your mind.
- Respect your roommate’s stuff
Unless they’ve specifically told you to borrow/share something, don’t do it. You might think it’s no big deal to borrow their winter jacket for a weekend trip, but that might be the big thing to tip them off. Always ask, and if in doubt, don’t take it.
- Lock the door
You might just be running downstairs for 5 minutes, but how would you feel if in your roommate’s laptop got stolen in that brief time? Always lock your doors and windows when you leave the room to ensure everything is safe.
- Consider your cleanliness
Cleanliness is often one of the biggest causes for fights between roommates. You might not mind reusing a cup for a few days before washing it. Or leaving plates out, or not cleaning the toilet. But remember, when two people live in close quarters, germs spread quickly. Take extra time with your own hygiene and the cleanliness of your living space. Be conscientious about what is dirty, what could be collecting bacteria, and how you’re contributing to the general health of your home. There’s no mom to do your dishes anymore, so make sure you’re stepping up.
- Be open to change
Every time you live with a new roommate, things will be different. Don’t be so stuck in your ways that you become the bad roommate. Be open to change and listen to your roommate to adjust your living style to make sure it works for both parties.
- Make a roommate agreement
Sitting down and making a contract to address all of these issues, from chores to brining guests home to sharing things, will make it clear for everyone. When everything is out in the open, it’s easier to discuss problems when they arise, and makes it less likely they’ll happen in the first place.