Living With Roommates

Living with roommates tends to be a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes they become your best friend, and it’s an overwhelmingly positive experience. Other times, you learn that there really is a correct way to put a trash bag in, and you’re living with a monster who doesn’t understand that. Like we said, a mixed bag.

But it doesn’t have to be. While you and your new roommate don’t have to be inseparable, a general sense of comradery goes a long way to turning your communal house into a communal home. 

  1. Open lines of communication, and keep them open – It’s so important, to be honest with your roommate. If they do something that bothers you from the get-go, it’s only going to get worse. But, if you’re straightforward with them early on, you can nip a potentially devastating fight in the bud. 
  2. Establish ground rules – Day one, you need to have a conversation with your roommate about what to expect as two (or more) very different people living together. Are you sharing things, and if so, what? How do you decide who cleans and when? Is your pet peeve shoes on the floor? It’s so important to establish a modus operandi early, to avoid difficulties later on. Because there’s no worse feeling than realizing a roommate ate something you were saving for exactly this moment.
  3. Learn each other’s schedules – Everyone has their morning routine. Some people like to shower before work, others make breakfast. Try to learn how your roommate operates during the key hours before work, or during downtime. If you know your roommate needs to be out the door at 8 am but you don’t leave till 9, maybe let them brush their teeth at 7:55 as they’re rushing to finish getting ready.
  4. Stop Snoozing – If you live anywhere that you can hear your roommate’s alarm go off, please please please stop snoozing. There are few feelings in the world that brew such animosity and contempt than waking up because you can hear your roommate’s alarm blaring in the next room. Especially if it happens over and over. So maybe try ditching the snooze button. 
  5. Don’t forget to hang out – While you may not be best friends, it’s important to be at the very least cordial. Try spending some time together once a week or once a month, go to a happy hour or watch a movie. This also works like a mini check-in, to make sure that you’re both still happy with the arrangement. 
  6. Be considerate – This is the most important one of the list. Being generally considerate will instantly improve any roommate relationship. Clean up after yourself, refill the trash bag, replace the toilet paper. Just consider how your actions are going to affect the person you live with. Even if you don’t mind leaving your coat out on the chair, your roommate might. If you buy something new, put it away. If you make a mess, clean it up. Just generally treat your roommate like another human being who’s also doing their best, because you’re in this together.