College Roommate Tips
No matter how hard you try to find the perfect roommate, situations may arise where your roommate may move out. It can be difficult to navigate, especially in an apartment with a lease where legal issues that may arise. When a roommate does move out, handling the situation calmly and effectively is crucial for moving forward and settling into a new groove.
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Figure out belongings
If you and your roommate shared decorating duties, you will need to figure out who gets what. The simplest way to handle this is to look at receipts to see who purchased what. This way, you can see who paid for which items. The person who paid for the item gets it. If you are still arguing or you cannot find the receipts for an item, consider donating it to a thrift store or another organization. Make sure the person who is moving out is satisfied with whichever you decide.
Talk to your landlord
As soon as your roommate expresses that they are moving out, get in touch with your landlord. It is crucial that you proceed in a way that does not damage your relationship with the landlord, especially if you are looking to stay in the apartment and potentially bring in a new roommate. The landlord will walk you through how to proceed legally without breaking your end of the lease. If you are able to make rent, you are more than likely going to be okay with staying in the apartment. Otherwise, your landlord may not want you to stay. If you talk to your landlord, they will be more willing to help you with the situation.
Have them pay
The roommate who is moving out still may have to pay for things like rent and utilities for the remainder of the lease. If they fail to pay their share, you can take them to small claims court for the amount they refuse to pay. While you do not need a lawyer for small claims court, it may be a good idea to consult with one. If the roommate is on your lease, it is likely that the court will rule in your favor. The court may automatically rule in your favor if the roommate does not show up for court.
Find a substitute cotenant
You may want to have the roommate who is moving out help to find a new person to live in their place, but you should also be searching. When you do find a new roommate, be sure to have them fill out a rental application so your landlord knows who they are and can verify their rental history. This will help ensure that you can continue paying your share of rent and that you avoid legal issues. Avoid the temptation to bring in a new roommate without letting your landlord know.
Check out your roommate agreement
You may have a clause in your roommate agreement to protect yourself legally and financially if this situation arises. The agreement should say how much notice must be given, how much financial responsibility each roommate has, and other crucial information to help navigate the situation.
Communication is key
Communication is important in all aspects of having a roommate, but it is especially crucial to keep in contact through the process of moving out. If you need them to sign documents or pay their share of the rent, you will need to be able to contact them. Have multiple ways to contact them just in case you are struggling to get in touch with them. Remind them of their obligations to pay their share and to find a replacement roommate if needed. If you are struggling to get in touch with the roommate, let your landlord know as soon as possible so they can help navigate the situation.
Be kind to the landlord
Having a roommate move out is difficult for you and your landlord. It is not the landlord’s fault that the roommate decided to leave, so be gentle with them. Be understanding of things that you may have to do in order to assist your landlord, and be willing to provide any necessary documentation and evidence in case it is needed. Keep your space clean, especially if you are moving out and your landlord is looking to show your space to potential new tenants. In general, be a good tenant for the remainder of your lease if you choose to stay. Your roommate moving out is technically breaking the lease and it gives your landlord grounds to evict the remaining roommate(s). If you want to stay, be sure to be an extra good tenant. Pay your rent and utilities in a timely manner and be on your best behavior in general.
Having a roommate move out can seem like an impossible situation to navigate with the legal issues that may arise, but knowing how to handle the situation can help you be sure you are taking care of it properly.
No roommate’s living situation is perfect. Unfortunately, there are occasions where you can experience roommate problems, whether it be over privacy, splitting bills, or even feeling excluded by them. When you are living with multiple roommates, it can be easy to feel quickly detached and isolated from them, which can lead to more problems.
If you are in a roommate situation where you’re excluded by one or more roommates, here are six simple ways to try and fix the problem.
1. Think It Through First: Just about everyone is guilty of overthinking at some point in their lives. Overthinking can turn even the most level-headed people upside down, so before you make assumptions about your roommate’s behavior and go straight to believing that they are excluding you, try to logically piece together what would make sense based on your relationship with them, your work/school schedule, what has been going on in their personal life (as well as yours), etc. For example, your roommates may work together and be extra busy on certain days of the week, or perhaps you’ve been bogged down with heavy school work which makes you have to be more focused and isolated. Regardless of the situation, evaluate the outside factors that may make you feel disconnected first before you have a sit-down talk.
2. Try to Talk It Out: Communication is a pivotal aspect of making any relationship work, whether it be a romantic, platonic, or roommate one. If you have thought things over and are still feeling excluded, ask your roommate(s) if they have some time to sit and talk with you for a minute, perhaps over dinner or during the weekend when everyone is home. Convey to them everything you’ve been feeling and express to them all the ways that you want to be more included with them. If you have a solid relationship with your roommates, this should be a smooth and easygoing conversation that ends on a positive note. If you have yet to get close to your roommates, this could be a bit more uncomfortable or difficult to handle- be patient and do your best with their reactions.
3. Lean on People Close to You: Sometimes, no matter what you say or do, you still can feel excluded and isolated by your roommates. In this case, try to lean on people close to you, like your friends, parents, co-workers, etc. Schedule a date to Facetime your best friend, give your mom or dad a call, take a walk with some coffee with a classmate, or grab a bite to eat with a coworker. These very real connections can help you feel more connected to those around you and less like an outsider. Remember, if you’re not open with your friends and family, they won’t know that you’re feeling down.
4. Distract Yourself With Your Favorite Hobbies: If you have free time and are excluded by your roommates, one thing that you can do is distract yourself by doing some of your favorite hobbies. This isn’t a total replacement for having friends and close relationships, but taking part in little things that make you feel good. Cuddle up with your favorite blankets and pillows and watch a favorite Youtuber, Netflix show, or movie. Have a self-care day (or night) and get a warm bath/shower, and take time to do your hair and even your nails. Make your favorite meal that reminds you of home and talk with your friends or family to make you feel loved.
5. Offer to Invite Yourself: Sometimes exclusion can happen by accident and without the other parties realizing it. Perhaps in the past, you’ve repeatedly rejected offers to go out, or maybe they’re doing an activity they think you wouldn’t like, in either scenario, it can be hard on your roommate’s end to gauge if it’s appropriate to invite you out or not. In this case, try “inviting yourself” and see where that conversation can go. Ask them if you can tag along when they go out, or better yet make your own plans and invite them to join you.
6. Take a Break From Social Media: In today’s world, it is almost impossible to not see what everyone is doing, which can definitely make you feel lonely and excluded. Taking a break from social media can give your mind and heart a rest from the pressures that social media exudes, and help your mental health overall. When you’re ready to get back on, do so- but don’t forget you can get back off at any time.
Confronting your roommate(s) about feeling excluded takes courage and can feel uncomfortable, but if you are honest about your feelings and take time to care for yourself, dealing with the situation will be much more tolerable.
Roommate horror stories – everyone has at least one. Unfortunately, some are more extreme than others. Some people are lucky enough that their roommate conflicts are limited to the rarely forgotten household chore, or leaving the light on during a weekend away. These small issues can be rare, and hardly a big deal in the grand scheme of things. However, others aren’t lucky in the same situation. You may find yourself in a situation where you are sharing your living space with uncommunicative roommates. This can lead to a multitude of issues in your living situation: passive-aggressiveness, incompleted chores, and sadly, never seeming to be on the same page as each other.
Living with uncommunicative roommates can cause mental distress on a daily basis and leave you counting down the days until you can get out of the apartment when your lease ends. Sadly, you may have weeks and months left to navigate living together. Keep reading for tips on how to live with uncommunicative roommates without going crazy.
Be honest and upfront
As much as giving the same type of energy back to your uncommunicative roommates may satisfy your cravings for revenge, it will only make the situation worse in the long run. Don’t be passive-aggressive in return to them being passive-aggressive, as much as you want to.
If you want your roommate to be clear and honest with you, you need to set the standard by doing so yourself. Sure, this does not guarantee that your roommate will land on the same page as you and learn to be more communicative, but it does encourage them to start doing so.
Figure out their preferred communication method
Some roommates are completely anti-confrontation and freeze up once confronted in person. This can result in them being hostile and unwilling to come to an agreement, or completely silent and disengaged from the conversation. Both can be equally frustrating and leave you further from a solution than you were at the beginning of the discussion turned confrontation. If you’ve noticed that any in-person discussions have gone wrong, seek alternate communication methods that can work better.
Is your issue stemming from one roommate in a four-person living situation? If all your discussions have been the four of you, the roommate at the center of the issue may feel like it is a three-against-one confrontation where they feel uncomfortable and targeted, leading to them shutting down or getting more aggressive to defend themselves rather than engaging in a healthy, effective conversation. If that is the case, consider facilitating a one-on-one conversation so that both parties can feel like they are on the same page. If you do go with this approach, make sure you are not unfairly making any one person the designated spokesperson of the household that dictates the opinion of three people.
If you have been communicating solely over the phone – you may be creating issues unknowingly. As much time as we spend on our phones, a lot can be left unsaid when it comes to communicating via text or messaging apps. If you are attempting most of your conflict resolution through text, it may be hard to figure out what the other person is really thinking, or worse, get them to reply and talk as you would in a face-to-face conversation. Talk to your roommate to figure out a time that works best for both of you to sit down and have an in-person discussion.
Can a solution be met on your own?
Sadly, some people will just never get the memo and continue to do their own thin g, without sparing an extra thought to how it can impact those around them. No matter how many attempts to get you and your roommates on the same page, you may find yourself stuck at a standstill with you being the only one willing to communicate and work on the issue. If this is the case, one of your only options may be to figure out a solution that you can carry out on your own to minimize or end the issue at hand.
For example, one issue may be that your roommates have been using your dishes, leading to them being always dirty when you need them, or missing from the kitchen entirely. No matter how many times you have asked your roommates to either stop using your dishes or wash them right after using them, the issue can unfortunately persist. If this is the case for you and your roommates, the solution may just end up being you storing your dishes in your own bedroom where your roommates can no longer access them, forcing them to use their dishes or get their own. This can be seen as an aggressive approach, but it may be the only thing you do to ensure that a solution is met when you are living with uncommunicative roommates and you have exhausted all other options.
Living with others can be a difficult situation for just about everyone. If even just one person is being uncommunicative, it can make the situation worse. With these tips in mind, you can help yourself navigate the rest of your lease while minimizing conflict and keeping yourself sane.
By Aaron Swartz
With the holiday season upon us, those of you who have the mixed pleasure of living with roommates are probably left pondering the old adage: naughty or nice? Living with roommates can be a lot of fun, but there can also be a lot of questions and challenges when it comes to roommate etiquette regarding gift-giving and the gift itself. Not sure how to approach presents for your roommate this holiday season or what to get them as a gift? Well if you’re dealing with either of these struggles (or even both) then worry not! In this double-whammy of an article, we’ll be giving you our most important pieces of roommate gift-giving etiquette, along with some great gift ideas for the person or people who share your home.
Top Tips On Roommate Gift-Giving Etiquette
1. Communicate: Really, where else is there to start, and what else is there to say? When you’re cohabitating with someone you need to be able to talk things out with them, and that certainly applies to holiday traditions. Discuss the holidays with your roommate and make sure that you’re on the same page on all fronts. Are you giving each other gifts this holiday season? Should you set a budget limit so your gifts are appropriate for each other and roughly cost the same? When are you planning to exchange presents? It can make for an uncomfortable moment if you get your roommate a gift and they didn’t get you one or vice versa – or if one of you clearly spent more money and thought on their gift than the other. Either way, discussing how you want to approach the holiday and gifting will make it more enjoyable for both of you.
2. Splitting Costs: If you live with more than one roommate, perhaps you want to split the costs of a gift for one roommate with your other roommate/, and have that be the approach for gifts for each roommate. Of course, this should only be done if you all agree to do so in order to keep the gift-giving fair and the same for everyone.
3. Be Respectful: Perhaps your roommate has different customs when it comes to celebrating holidays, whether it’s because they have a different faith or just different familial traditions. Whatever the case may be, the most polite thing you can do in any circumstance is to simply be respectful. Ask your roommate how they’d like to mark the holiday and treat them as you’d want to be treated.
Now let’s think about one of the best parts of the holiday season: gift-giving! Giving gifts to your roommates can be a lot of fun or kind of tricky depending on how well you know them, so to help you get started here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Top Roommate Gift Ideas
1. Games to Play: Spending time with your roommates is a lot of fun, so get them something that’ll allow you to have fun together! Board games like Settlers of Catan, or card games like the eminent Cards Against Humanity make great gifts for the people you’re living with.
2. Household Items: The biggest thing binding you all together is the fact that you live together, which means you know better than anyone where the weak links are in the household. Need a new spatula, a nice rug, or some pretty drapes for the living room? Does your roommate always complain about the shower and would love to have a new showerhead? Things with household utility can be great gifts for the people in your life.
3. Gag Gifts: If there’s one thing living with friends generates, it’s comedy. We’re willing to bet you have at least a few inside jokes with your roommates, whether it’s about your landlord, a pet cat, or something as random as the letter W. Lean into those jokes and get them something that’ll make them laugh, or get them something that’s just funny on its own, no shared history required.
4. Decorations: There’s one thing that turns a house into a home, and that’s the care you put into decorating it. Whether it’s a picture of a moose from Target or a tasteful yet refined coffee table, decor can be a great gift for your roommates to make your living space even better.
5. Trust Your Gut: Ultimately, there’s only one last piece of advice we can give and that’s to trust your gut. You live with this person, you know what they’re like. If you think they’ll like something, chances are you’re probably right.
The holidays are just about upon us and it’s about time to get rid of the bad and bring in the good. That means reminding yourself how to be the best roommate possible and getting something that’ll really bring light to the fast-approaching new year for those you live with. After reading this article, you’re now prepared to do both, so get out there and do it!
Living with a roommate has its perks, but it can be difficult at times. This is especially true when it comes to getting roommates to chip in with chores and other responsibilities. It can be challenging to get roommates to chip in their part, leaving you with handling the apartment responsibilities on top of your student responsibilities. Knowing how to delegate duties and encourage your roommate to step up can reduce stress and improve the relationship with your roommate.
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Talk it out
Before you even move in together, decide what responsibilities need to be done with the apartment. In most situations, these responsibilities include paying bills, doing chores, and going grocery shopping. Decide who wants to be in charge of which and have each roommate chip in equally. If arguments arise, opt to have some time and space for a bit while you settle down and regroup later. Talk calmly yet be firm about what needs to be done. Bring in another person if things are not getting better.
As mentioned above, splitting up who does what can help reduce the stress on each person. Even if you each chip in equally for each responsibility, having a designated person to manage each responsibility can help take the pressure off one person managing everything. If one roommate is better at being clean and organized, have that person be in charge of cleaning. Have your roommate who loves shopping manage the groceries. This allows you and your roommate to play to your strengths, which can help motivate you to get what needs to be done, done.
Create a visual
Seeing what has been done and what still needs to be done can help you and your roommates stay motivated to keep up with your responsibilities. Make a list of what chores need to be done and on what days. Add these tasks to a calendar, and create a separate chart for who is responsible for what. Check the tasks off the calendar once they are complete. Be sure to add the due dates of bills to the calendar as well so you know how much time you have until they need to be paid and the proper arrangements can be made. Being able to physically see what needs to be done can help keep you and your roommate organized and on track. Having things digital may cause things to be lost.
Avoid being overly critical
It can be tempting to criticize your roommate for doing something differently than you would do. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning and organizing your apartment. However, this can leave them not wanting to pitch in to help with their responsibilities. Be understanding of their preferences and differences in how they do things. Also, remember that you and your roommate have different schedules and different things going on. Be mindful of this and do not be too harsh if things are not completed the day they are set to. Trash getting taken out and bills being paid are the only exceptions as these likely have set days to be completed.
Reference the roommate agreement
It is likely that you and your roommate created a roommate agreement before moving in together. This outlined what would be expected in terms of cleanliness and how various responsibilities would be handled. If you do not already have one, it may be a good idea to create one now so you have a way to resolve issues that may arise in the future. Your roommate agreement should have a guideline of what needs to be done, by whom, and when. Of course, as mentioned, there should be a bit of leeway when it comes to tasks like cleaning and grocery shopping if schedules change a bit. However, if things just are not getting done in general, sit down with your roommate and pull out the roommate agreement. Feel free to amend the roommate agreement if things have changed, especially in terms of schedules.
While you should be open to how things get done and you should have some flexibility regarding when tasks are completed, it is important that chores and responsibilities do get done. Give some leeway the first and even the second time your roommate does not complete their responsibilities but have a talk about what they need to do moving forward. If you continue to have issues, talk to your landlord, especially if you are having issues getting your roommate to pay their share of rent and utilities. Ask your landlord what you can do and what can be done to ensure you are not in jeopardy of losing your apartment. They may be able to provide some advice and possible consequences to bring up with your roommate.
Living with a roommate can mean difficulties sharing responsibilities, but with some communication and a bit of flexibility, things can get done.
No roommate is perfect, but there are definitely a handful of notable qualities and traits that classify a person as a bad roommate. From borrowing things that aren’t yours to leaving your apartment a total disaster, here are seven signs that show you could be a bad roommate.
1. You Obsessively Clean: While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a tidy apartment, things can take a bit of a sour turn when you start to obsessively clean and allow for zero messes or imperfections to exist in your apartment. Having a dish in the sink does not warrant you cleaning it and subsequently getting upset over it. A crumb here and there, a filled trash can, a streaky floor, etc., happen as life does, but don’t let these occurrences get in the way of a meaningful relationship with your roommate. Communicate your expectations for having a clean apartment with your roommate, but also be realistic about the level of cleanliness, as you don’t want to make your roommate feel like they can’t live or breathe in their own home.
2. You’re a Total Slob: On the opposite side of the spectrum, you similarly can be a bad roommate by being a total slob. While it would be ridiculous for you to clean as if it is your job, you also should respect your space, and the space of your roommate, enough to keep it clean. Taking out the trash, cleaning dishes regularly so there is not a pileup, sweeping the floors here and there, cleaning the toilet, etc., are all small tasks you can do to maintain a standard level of cleanliness in your home.
3. You Never Leave Your Room/Apartment: Staying in your apartment is fine to do, but when you never leave, you don’t make it easy for your roommate to have any kind of privacy. Sure, the two of you may have separate rooms, but the physical presence of you being in your apartment all the time can feel suffocating, and subsequently make you a bad roommate. Consider taking a walk around campus, grabbing a coffee, meeting up with a friend, going shopping, visiting the library, etc., to free up some time out of the apartment and give your roommate a bit of privacy.
4. You Always Have Your S/O Over: Your roommate(s) signed a lease with you and you only. While it is normal for you to bring over your boyfriend and girlfriend on occasion, it is not ok to have them constantly lingering around your apartment, rent-free, in the presence of your roommate, at all times. Again, this is a matter of privacy, and if you are out of the apartment during the day in class and your S/O is behind with your roommate, that can be a bit of an uncomfortable situation.
5. You “Borrow” What Isn’t Yours: A huge point of contention that often occurs between roommates is borrowing or taking items that don’t belong to the respective roommate. Whether it’s a bowl of cereal in the morning, an article of clothing, or even shampoo, borrowing items without your roommate’s permission is not only disrespectful, but it’s also a big breach of trust, which makes you a horrible roommate. If you and your roommate communicate what can and cannot be shared beforehand, that’s one thing, but if you take liberties and use their personal items without their knowledge, shame on you!
6. You Party Too Much: College is a time to learn, socialize, and have fun. It is certainly important to maintain a healthy balance of working, studying, and having fun, but when you stay up until the early hours of the morning, get loud and rowdy, drink excessively, blast music, etc., that can pose a significant problem with your roommate. It is fine to party on your own, but when you bring the party back to your apartment, you run the risk of crossing the line with what your roommate will tolerate. Be respectful of their time by having a party curfew, honoring quiet hours, and kicking out your friends at an appropriate time of the night.
7. You Never Shop for the House: There is nothing worse than someone who uses items and doesn’t replace them. When living with a roommate, it is fair for you both to contribute to the goods needed for the house, whether that be food items or toiletries. If you place that burden on your roommate, however, resentment can start to brew and soon you will find that they’ll grow tired of constantly draining their time, energy, and money into stuff that you are also using.
Living with others can have its ups and downs, and no roommate situation is perfect. However, there are a few signs you should take into consideration from time to time, as to determine if you are a bad roommate. If you can do this, your roommate relationship, and overall living experience, will be smooth and positive!
By Aaron Swartz
If you’re on the East Coast and you’ve been outside recently then you know as well as anyone that fall is officially here. The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing, and those particular fall flavors are starting to make their way into food and drink everywhere. It’s a great time for you to get out there with your roommates and have a blast — or stay inside and cozy up as the weather cools even further. Either way, if you’re looking for the best ways to enjoy the fall with your friends, here are six great activities you should try this autumn that won’t break the bank.
1. Go On a Fall Hike
When most people think about fall the first thing they think about is the leaves. The changing colors of fall foliage are simply beautiful, so why not go out and take it all in? Going on a fall hike with your roommates is a great way to get out of the house and take in the great weather and scenery. A lot of parks and hiking trails are open to the public at no cost, which means you can enjoy a great day out without emptying your pockets. Take some photos along the way to remember just how beautiful it is out there, before winter hits and we’re all stuck in cold greyness.
2. Build a Blanket Fort
There are those of you who might think that building a blanket fort is childish. To those people, I would say “absolutely not!” Blanket forts are an absolutely fantastic thing to do with your roommates, and they’re only limited by your imagination. You can shove a couch and an armchair together and create a great little crawlspace, or you can use blankets and engineering know-how to turn your entire living room into one massive fort. Then you can get cozy inside and bundle up against the fall chill, watch a movie together, or just talk and play. There’s nothing wrong with a return to childhood, so get the blankets and pillows and get building!
3. Leaf Piles
The biggest immediate association most people have with fall is — wait for it — fallen leaves. And while they can be really annoying if you have a yard you’re trying to keep clean, they also present a unique opportunity for a really fun part of fall: leaf piles. If you have a yard, then great! Rake together all the leaves and dive right in! If you don’t, then take a look around your area for public parks, where you can do the exact same thing. Jumping into a leaf pile, throwing leaves at your friends, burying each other, it’s all a ton of fun! You should definitely consider making a leaf pile as part of your fall plans.
4. Build a Campfire
As the temperature drops this fall you need to start finding ways to stay warm. One great opportunity the changing weather provides is building a campfire. Campfires are a great way to spend an evening or night with your friends. You can roast marshmallows, tell spooky stories, or just hang around and enjoy the warmth and the firelight. If you have a hint of a pyromaniac streak (and who doesn’t) then building a fire with your roommates is a great way to spend your fall.
5. Go to a Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are great! They’re full of all sorts of unique stalls, great products and produce, and some great people. In the fall, with the weather getting cooler and everyone wanting to enjoy the season, going to your local farmer’s market is even better! Swing by with your roommates and take a look at all the great stuff around, enjoy the weather, maybe grab a cup of hot cocoa and keep yourself warm. If nothing else it’s another great excuse to get out and enjoy the weather, so be sure to drop by your area’s market for a great day out.
6. Get Ready for Halloween
All Hallows Eve is the perfect cap off to October and it’s one of the heights of the fall season, so you and your roommates should absolutely prepare to celebrate! You can come up with a group costume, DIY some decorations for your home, watch some spooky movies and just generally enjoy the most haunted part of the year. Halloween is a blast, so make sure you enjoy it with the important people in your life.
Fall is a fantastic time of year with a lot of great things you can do. Whether you’re exploring the season and playing in the leaves, or staying inside and cozying up with your friends and family, there are a ton of options for how to spend the autumn months. With this list, you’ve got a couple of great ideas for how to make the most of the fall without making the least of your bank account. Have fun out there!
The only thing that is possibly worse than being in a conflict with your roommate is being the middleman stuck between two fighting roommates. When living with multiple roommates, problems are going to arise, as it’s just a part of being human. Whether one roommate neglects to take the trash out or another is always borrowing shampoo without asking, roommate conflicts can sometimes be inevitable to deal with.
Sometimes, to keep the peace in your apartment or home with your fighting roommates, you have to get in the middle of it and be an advocate for both sides. If you are in a living situation where your roommates constantly bicker and argue to the point that you have to get involved, here are some simple ways to be the mediator between them.
1. Let Each Side Argue Their Case: All conflicts start with an issue, and from that issue, each person has a line of defense on whether or not they contributed to the issue. This can get murky and complicated because it’s not always easy to determine how the issue originally started or who is most responsible. From here, however, it’s important to let your roommates speak their side in a calm and respectful manner to not only help them get their feelings out but also to give you a better understanding of the situation. By doing this, you can have a complete idea of the conflict and offer the best solutions to help them resolve their issues.
2. Advise Them to Change Their Approach: Most people immediately jump into a defensive attitude or mindset when they are faced with a conflict, that’s just human nature. Because of this defensiveness, people tend to push and deflect blame onto the other person, which can lead to accusatory language and mean vocal tones. Rather than letting them point the finger at the other person, advise each of your roommates to change their approach by using more “I” words and fewer “you” words. Your roommates can practice this by saying “It would help me if you were more proactive about washing the dishes,” versus “You left all of your dirty dishes in the sink. I can’t do this anymore.”
3. Encourage Open Communication: Almost all roommate problems stem from a lack of communication one way or another. Many times, we assume that our roommates can read our minds and tell exactly what we’re thinking, but that is never the case. As you are mediating the situation between your other roommates, encourage an open dialogue during the conversation and even after the fact. Being open about how they feel, explicitly stating their boundaries and what they are ok with, and detailing how they’d like to live on a day-to-day basis can help to avoid problems in the future that may be miscommunicated along the way.
4. Create Visuals/Write Things Down: In the midst of mediating the conflicts with your roommates, things can get heated. From exchanging hurtful words to talking over one another, trying to find a common ground between your fighting roommates can take a good deal of effort and elbow grease. To maintain clarity among the chaos, try to create visuals or write important things down that either your roommates may have said or something you want to bounce off of later on. You may not be able to reference everything you’ve written down at first, but once their conflict cools off and you can sit down with them together, a good notebook with pointers is a great way to lead a conversation without a blow-up. Additionally, if house responsibilities are causing issues between your roommates, write out chores on a dry-erase board or a calendar to have that extra reminder of responsibilities and avoid another potential fight.
5. Lighten the Mood Afterwards: Tackling roommate issues is exhausting for all parties. Hashing out uncomfortable topics, getting emotional, and dealing with potential consequences is not fun for anyone, let alone someone stuck in the middle of two people’s problems. Instead of keeping a hostile, gloomy, awkward mood in the house, try to lighten it by offering to go out for a walk, grab some food, play a game, watch a movie, etc. Any activity that can divert their attention off of their previous conflict and into something positive is just another step to help heal the relationship, while also giving you some peace as well!
While it can be unsettling and uncomfortable to be in the middle of a conflict between your roommates, helping them resolve their issues can make life more calm and peaceful for you while you are all under the same roof.
Many people dream of having their best friend be their roommate. Sometimes, this works out, but not always. Being roommates with your best friend can come with unexpected challenges. Before you jump in and move in together with your good friends, it is crucial to take a step back and decide if your friends will make good roommates. Knowing how you and your roommate can handle certain situations and boundaries will be helpful in this decision.
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Respectful of boundaries
As friends, you likely have boundaries in place such as how often you want to be contacted and when is a good time to reach you. All healthy relationships have boundaries, and in good relationships, these boundaries are respected. Boundaries are especially important when it comes to being roommates. You may want to spend every moment together and share everything, but each person needs to lay boundaries that will be honored and respected by the other person. If this is not something that has been feasible in your current friendship before becoming roommates, it will make being roommates more difficult and will strain your relationship.
Together but separate
As friends, it is only natural that you want to do as many things as possible together, especially now that you are living together. However, this bliss will eventually wear off and you will come to need some things that are separate. Try to get ahead of this by keeping some things separate. If possible, have separate bedrooms so you can have your own spaces to escape to when you need some privacy. Have classes and activities that you do on your own. Have other friends on campus that you spend time with other than your roommate. You may even opt to spend a few hours a week in a coffee shop by yourself to get work done without your friend. This does not mean that you do not like your roommate. It is simply a boundary to help keep things separate so the friendship stays strong.
Level of knowledge about your friend
If you are living in a dorm or apartment for the first time, it can be nice to have someone you know already can be really comforting. However, it is important that you know about the person and their living habits. Going into a roommate situation with someone you think you know only to find out their living habits are not what you thought can be challenging. This can happen when roommates do not know each other at all, but usually, this is something that is asked about before moving in. Ask your friend if they have any habits their family finds frustrating, such as being messy or even leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge. That way, you know ahead of time and can decide if you want to move in together or not. Otherwise, these things will get on your nerves and you will dread your living situation.
When you have a best friend, the extent of financial conversations is typically splitting bills at restaurants or even concert tickets. However, this changes when you move in together. You have to work out how you will be paying bills like rent, utilities, and even groceries. These conversations may become difficult, especially if you have never talked about these kinds of issues with your friend before. Before moving in together, have a conversation about how you will handle the finances of living together and how you each will pay. Be sure to find out if they have ever been late on other kinds of payments. This way, you are prepared and you will not be surprised. Knowing how you will work things out can help ensure your friendship lasts through disagreements that may arise.
When you live with your best friend, it is tempting to want to have fun all the time and talk constantly now that it is easier to do so. However, it is important that you know when it is time to focus and get work time and when it is time to have some fun. These distractions can lead to lower grades, especially if they are cutting into your study and assignment time. Carve out time each day when you can have a conversation with your friend about things such as upcoming plans, finances, and anything else you need to discuss. Also, have time carved out as study time so you can both work on schoolwork without distracting each other. Outside of these times, you are free to have fun and talk as much as you would like. Again, this boundary is crucial for ensuring that you are both successful and are able to maintain a friendship without feeling like the other person is disrupting your grades and college life.
Being upfront with situations that may arise over the course of living together can help figure out if you and your friend will be compatible as roommates. If you talk about these things and find yourselves getting into an argument, it may be best not to be roommates. Otherwise, you will make great roommates.
When it comes to living with roommates, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages you will face. Every roommate situation is different, some people live with complete strangers while others opt to live with close friends. Whatever the case may be, it is no secret that sharing a living space with someone else – regardless of how well you know each other – can lead to some tension or uncomfortable situations. While you cannot anticipate or prevent every single argument or problem between roommates, you can take steps to make living together much easier, starting with following basic roommate etiquette.
What can be considered basic roommate etiquette? While everyone may have different living situations, there’s still roommate etiquette to follow – keep reading for ideas of what you can do
to be a better roommate.
Be mindful of guests
Some roommates are ok with an open guest policy, allowing you to bring over any amount of guests whenever you please. While others may prefer a proper heads up and a limited amount of people over in their living space. Whatever the situation is, it is important to be mindful of you and your roommate’s guest policy.
While it is your apartment and you should be able to invite whoever you want, you are sharing the space with your roommate and they have the right to speak up and voice when they feel uncomfortable. Communicate with your roommate to establish expectations around guests in your apartment, follow the expectations, and let each other know if the situation is no longer working and further compromise needs to be made.
Don’t assume your right to their belongings
While you may be sharing a living space with your roommate, that does not give you the right to share just about anything else with them. Some roommates are ok with sharing things like cleaning supplies, and household goods (toilet paper, napkins, etc), but draw the line when it comes to groceries and toiletries. Some are ok with sharing cooking appliances like a toaster, while they want to keep cooking utensils, pots, and dishes to themselves.
When you first start living together, establish what you and your roommate are willing to share, from kitchen goods to household supplies.
If you do find yourself needing something from your roommates, be sure to ask their permission beforehand. Depending on what you are using, offer to pay them or trade them, or refill their supply if you end up using it up.
Don’t treat common spaces like your personal space
Depending on your living situation, you may have varying levels of what you would be able to deem as personal space. Some people will have access to their own personal bedroom and bathroom, while others may have to share their bedroom and bathroom along with the usual common spaces like an entryway, living room, and kitchen. While your personal space grants you the freedom to decorate and use the space as you please, the same should not be applied to common spaces.
In most cases, everyone should have equal access to common spaces and have equal rights to use the space. However, common spaces should be treated as shared spaces, from how they are decorated to how they are maintained. For example, while you may be ok leaving your personal bedroom a bit messy and keeping things like clothes and books thrown about, you shouldn’t treat the living room the same way. Remember to clean up after yourself and not use the living room as an extension of your personal bedroom.
If you do want to decorate areas like the living room, make sure to communicate with your roommate(s) prior to starting. Some may give you free rein while others may wish to have a say in how the room is decorated.
Don’t be a hypocrite
When living with another person, a good living environment happens when all parties have the ability to understand each other and communicate properly. Compromise is typically a must as everyone has different desires and expectations on how to use their space.
Upon move-in, people typically establish some set of roommate rules, from cleaning duties to guest policies. If you have certain expectations of your roommate, make sure you are setting and following the expectations yourself.
For example, you cannot get upset with your roommate bringing friends over often because you feel like they are intruding on your living space, but then bring your own friends over for your own hangouts. Likely, your roommate will feel like it’s unfair – and you would be completely in the wrong for not allowing your roommate the same freedom you are giving yourself.
Sharing a living space with someone else can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and tension. By following this basic roommate etiquette, you can help keep you and your roommates on the same page during your time living together.