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What To Do When Your Roommate Unexpectedly Moves Out

By Alyssa Laffitte 

Many college students have roommates to help them pay the rent and to provide some company. Roommate relationships usually work out well. But unfortunately, there are times where this relationship can be strained. One situation that can cause a major strain in the roommate relationship is if a roommate unexpectedly moves out. What should the remaining roommates do about the missing share of the rent? How should they tell the landlord? This is a frustrating situation, and it is definitely impolite to unexpectedly move out, but it still happens. In this article, you’ll find a few suggestions on what to do when your roommate unexpectedly moves out, and what to do if you want to move out.

 

 

How to protect yourself in case your roommate unexpectedly moves out

The best way to deal with this situation is to protect yourself financially and legally before it happens. Preferably, you should have signed an agreement or contract at the beginning of your lease. This contract should include a clause about what to do if a roommate unexpectedly moves out. But if you do not have this clause in your contract, it’s never too late to draft one up. This will make sure you are protected in case this happens. Your contract with your roommate and with the landlord should state a couple of things:

  • How much advance notice a roommate should give to the landlord (and to the other roommates) before they move out.
  • The financial responsibilities of the roommate who moves out: Do they have to pay their remaining share of the rent, or are they free of any financial responsibilities once they move out? (The latter is bad news for the remaining roommates, because they will then become responsible for the rest of the rent!)
  • What will happen if they don’t meet their financial responsibilities? Are the remaining roommates and/or the landlord allowed to pursue legal action against the one who moved out?
  • The roommate who moves out must provide a suitable replacement roommate. It is courteous for the roommate who moves out to provide their own replacement.
  • The replacement roommate must be approved by the landlord and the remaining roommates.
  • Do not try to sneak in a replacement roommate without letting the landlord know! In fact, this is grounds for eviction because it can be considered an unauthorized sublet. It is better to keep the landlord in the loop of what is going on.
  • Make it clear that once the roommate moves out, they no longer have the right to live in that place.
  • Some people come back to their old place thinking they still have a right to live there! Make it clear that the roommate has no rights to the place anymore, and that they must give up all their keys to the place.

Again, the best way to avoid this situation is to legally protect yourself from it. If you have a contract that spells out the procedures and financial responsibilities of a roommate unexpectedly moving out, it will soften the blow of this frustrating situation.

Another way to protect yourself is for you and your roommate(s) to be good tenants. A roommate moving out unexpectedly is technically a violation of the leasing contract, since they are breaking it early. This can be grounds for a landlord to evict everyone living in the place, and there is a chance they will take advantage of that opportunity if you are bad tenants. However, if you are good tenants, the landlord will likely not want to evict everyone. Being a good tenant means to pay the rent consistently on time, not sublet the place without the landlord’s permission, take good care of the place, and to be respectful of the neighbors. If you are a good tenant, your landlord will be more likely to help you if you ever get stuck in a sticky situation (like your roommate moving out unexpectedly).

 

 

What to do if it’s too late and your roommate has already unexpectedly moved out:

The previous tips were good ideas on how to protect yourself before this happens, but what if it’s too late? Let’s discuss what to do if your roommate has already moved out.

Read the leasing contact

Read the leasing contract and figure out what it says to do if a roommate unexpectedly moves out. If there is nothing written about that in the contract, you are out of luck. But if your contract does address this issue, follow what the contract says.

Try to contact your former roommate and make plans to move forward

  • Remind your former roommate of what the leasing contract says to do if they move out. For example, if the contract states that they are responsible for the rest of their share of the rent, or that they are responsible for finding a suitable replacement roommate, let them know.
  • Ask them how they plan to meet their financial responsibilities of the lease. Are they going to pay the rest of their share of the rent? If so, when do they plan to pay it? Or will you be responsible for their share now that they’re gone?
  • Ask them if they plan to find a replacement roommate, and when. Generally, it should be the responsibility of the departing roommate to find their replacement and introduce him/her to the roommates and the landlord. It’s also important they find the replacement quickly, so that their room won’t be vacant for too long. This should be outlined clearly in the rental contract. But if your former roommate does not plan to find a replacement, it will be up to you.

Try to come to a deal about all these things with your former roommate, and definitely consider what your leasing contract says. Once you have contacted your roommate, you can contact your landlord. (If you can’t contact your former roommate, go directly to your landlord and explain the situation.)

Notify your landlord right away

It’s best to be upfront and honest with your landlord about these things, so after you have contacted your former roommate and have made plans to move forward, please call your landlord and notify them of what has happened. Also, let your landlord know how you and your roommate are planning to move forward. Be sure to keep your landlord in the loop about these things.

Look for a replacement roommate

If your former roommate leaves you with the responsibility of choosing their replacement, start looking as soon as possible. Before you start looking, though, think about what you want in a roommate. This will help you narrow down the list of people you can ask. For example, if you are allergic to cats or dogs, you will want a roommate who does not have a cat or a dog, and this will narrow down the list of potential roommates.

You can look for a roommate in person, but you can also use the Internet to find a roommate. Websites like Roomsurf will connect you potential roommates. Take advantage of these tools! The sooner you find a replacement roommate, the sooner you will not be responsible for the rest of the rent.

Be accommodating to your landlord

Yes, having a roommate move out is frustrating for you. But it is also frustrating to your landlord, too, so please try to be accommodating to them. Keep the place clean, help the landlord find someone to replace your former roommate. This is important, as keeping your place clean will allow your landlord to show it to potential tenants. (They can’t show off the place to potential tenants if it is trashed!) If you are accommodating your landlord, they will likely be accommodating to you, too.

If you must, talk to a lawyer

Sometimes, even if there a previous contract, people just don’t want to do their share. If you cannot get your former roommate to cooperate, consider pursuing legal action in a small court. I am not a lawyer, so I can’t give you any further advice on this. However, I can tell you to consider this CAREFULLY, because sometimes pursuing legal action is more of a hassle than it’s worth. You might be better off paying your former roommate’s share of the rent than paying legal fees. But on the other hand, this might work for you, especially if you have a contract and proof that your former roommate violated it. If your former roommate is not pulling their weight, carefully consider talking to a lawyer.

If your roommate moves out unexpectedly, you can still do these things to help ease the situation as soon as possible. 

 

If you are the roommate who wants to move out…

Life happens, and you might be the roommate who needs to move out unexpectedly. Let’s discuss some tips to make the transition smooth for you, your former roommates, and your landlord.

Let your landlord and other roommates know your intentions as soon as possible

If you want to move out, please do not do so unexpectedly. Give your roommates and your landlord plenty of notice. Your rental contract might state how much notice you need to give before you leave; follow those guidelines! This will help them arrange for a smooth transition (and if you don’t plan to find your own replacement, this will give them time to find your replacement). In other words, communicating with your landlord and your roommates will make the situation easier on everyone.

Abide by the financial responsibilities outlined in your lease agreement

Your lease contract likely outlines your financial responsibilities if you break the lease early. Read about these responsibilities and abide by them. If you need to pay the rest of your rent up front, do it. If you cannot meet these financial responsibilities, try talking to your landlord and setting up another payment deal. It’s better to be honest with your landlord about these things. Be sure to pay what you owe, according to the contract.

Provide a suitable replacement for yourself, and introduce them to the landlord and roommates

When a roommate breaks the lease early, it is generally the responsibility of the departing roommate to find their replacement. Please don’t make the remaining roommates find your replacement. Instead, you should make the effort to find someone suitable. Find someone who can pay the rent on time, will get along with the other roommates, and will not trash the place. Once you find someone, introduce them to the remaining roommates and to the landlord. Let the landlord know this person will be taking your place. If you do not let the landlord know about your replacement, it could be considered an unauthorized sublet, which is prohibited by most rental contracts. Don’t let yourself get into any more trouble… just let your landlord know who is replacing you! 

If you must break your lease early, please be kind about it. It will likely be frustrating to your roommates and your landlord, so try to be accommodating to them and make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Yes, it is frustrating to have a roommate move out unexpectedly. If you have a roommate, be sure to protect yourself legally and financially with a contract. Your contract should outline what happens if someone moves out unexpectedly (the financial responsibilities and who finds the replacement). This is the best way to soften the blow if it does happen. However, if your roommate has already unexpectedly moved out, it will be too late to do this. Try to contact them and decide how to move forward according to the rental contract. Then, contact your landlord and let them know what happens. If you can’t get ahold of your roommate and they have already left, contact your landlord directly. If you can, you can even seek legal advice about this situation (but proceed with caution if you decide to take this route- it’s expensive). In other words, having a roommate move out is frustrating, but it is not the end of the world. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and to get your life back to normal as soon as possible.

 


What To Do If Your Roommate Breaks the Rules

By Brittany Loeffler

 

Living with roommates can be tricky, especially if you have one roommate who doesn’t exactly follow the rules. When you first move into an apartment with roommates, it’s always a good idea to put together a roommate agreement.

However, no matter how many rules you set, your roommates may break them.

What do you do when a roommate breaks the rules? There are a few ways to handle this situation calmly and effectively without acting like their mother.

 

 

 

The Roommate Agreement

roommate agreement is a document acknowledged and signed by all roommates outlining rules and expectations of everyone. This roommate agreement can explain chore responsibilities, rent payments, rules for guests, and anything else you would like to address with your roommates.

This also allows you to come up with consequences if certain rules are broken. It’s important to make sure that everyone is in agreement on the consequences or else they can be difficult to enforce if the time comes.

 

When New Issues Arise

When you write a roommate agreement, it’s impossible to foresee every situation that may arise while living with your roommates. After a few months of living together, you may have an issue that you would like to address that was not mentioned in the roommate agreement.

Addressing these issues may mean taking it case-by-case and coming up with new solutions together. It’s important to remember not to be passive aggressive and to address problems when something bothers you. You can always amend the roommate agreement if you feel strongly about adding a new rule for everyone to follow.

 

Confronting the Problem

Confrontation isn’t easy for everyone. It may take a lot of courage to confront your roommate about an issue. The important thing to remember is to go into the conversation calmly and willing to listen. When you approach someone in a hostile manner, they may feel like you are attacking them and nothing will be resolved this way.

Do not blame your roommate when confronting them. Using phrases like, “I feel like” and “When this happens” instead of “You are doing” or “When you do this.” Keep the conversation civil and be open to listening to their side of things.

 

 

 

Communication is Key

Communication is key when living with roommates. You don’t really know someone until you live with them, which can take some time. So, communicate with your roommate and let them know how you feel about certain things that go on in your home.

If your roommate’s significant other is over all of the time, rather than telling your roommate that they can’t come over as often, tell them that you feel like you need some personal space and privacy. This is more effective than telling your roommate to do something.

The method of communication is also important. While texting is the most convenient way to communicate with people, it can be the least effective. Sometimes a sentence over text can come off as hostile when it wasn’t meant to be. The best way to communicate with your roommate is to sit down and talk to them about your issue and to listen to their side of the issue.

 

Second Offenses

If you have already written a roommate agreement, confronted and effectively communicated with your roommate about an issue and they keep breaking the rules, then it is time to enforce some of the agreed consequences. This can be hard because as roommates, you are all responsible for yourselves and can’t “mother” your roommate. You can’t punish someone. However, you can enforce the agreed upon consequences. Since they have been agreed upon, then there shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Take It to the Landlord

Sometimes issues with a roommate can be bigger than just working it out amongst yourselves. If it comes to paying rent on time or utility bills, then it may be time to take it to the landlord since it will affect them. They have more power than you do as a roommate and may be able to help you resolve the issue.

Another time to get your landlord involved is if you ever feel unsafe in your home with your roommate. Your landlord can then help you to find a solution and help you feel safe.

 

Roommates Who Break the Rules

The best way to deal with a roommate who breaks the rules is to take preventative measures, such as writing a roommate agreement that states the rules and consequences that will take effect if these rules are broken. If rules are broken, then confront and effectively communicate with your roommate. Listen to their side of the problem and calmly express your side. If you feel that the issue is serious, then don’t be afraid to get your landlord involved, especially if it affects them. 


How To Tell Your Roommate You Want To Live With Other People

By Amanda Cohen 

 

Confrontation is never easy, especially when it’s with a friend, a colleague, a family member, or a roommate. Having a roommate at some point in your life is, usually, guaranteed: whether that be in a college dorm room, a sorority house, a post-college apartment, or any other living situation you might find yourself in after you move out of your house. However, when things might seem all well and good at first, it is possible, and sometimes even inevitable, that you will be ready to part ways with your roommate (or roommates). The question remains: how do you go about having this conversation with your roommates/roommate? There is not one perfect answer… the answer will vary depending on your situation. Here is some advice on how to have “the conversation” with your roommate/roommates that are mature, assertive, yet fair, and, most importantly, respectful.

 

 

 

I am a firm believer that honesty is the best policy. When telling your roommate that you want to live with other people, explain to him/her why. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might be ready to live with someone new, but here are some ways to express yourself in regards to common reasons why people move out and move in with other people:

 

  • “Our schedules are so different and I am looking to live with someone with a similar sleeping, social, and academic/career schedule as me.”
  • “We’ve lived together for so long now and I want to move in with other people just because I think it’s time to do something different.”
  • “We are very opposite when it comes to how we like to maintain our apartment and deal with apartment issues. I feel like we would both be better off living with someone who is more similar to us in that regard.”
  • “I haven’t been myself recently and I’m worried that it has something to do with my current living situation. I think I need to explore other options to better my mental health.”

 

These are by no means the only reasons why you might be ready to move in with someone else, but these are situations that I know have come up in actual peoples’ lives. The important takeaways from the four quotations above are: (1) directness, (2) honesty, and (3) respect.

 

Let’s talk about directness. When dealing with potentially uncomfortable conversations, it is easy to ramble and hide your point underneath a lot of unnecessary phrases and comments. The more direct you are, the more your roommate will understand and you will be less likely to have to repeat the uncomfortable conversation in the future.

 

Now, honesty. There is no reason to lie to your roommate. The only time a fib is acceptable is if you’ve grown to really dislike your roommate and you want to spare his/her feelings. If your decision to move out is mental-health related and you don’t want to share that with your roommate, all you have to say is that some personal issues that you don’t want to discuss have come up.

 

Lastly, respect. None of the four above statements were hostile nor accusatory. There is no need for blame, raised voices, or anger when you have this conversation (even if you are really upset with your roommate).

 

The next thing to cover is what should you do if your roommate gets sad or angry. Comfort your roommate, explain that this decision is what you have to do to maintain your overall wellbeing and that it doesn’t mean that you hate your roommate. Explain to your roommate that he/she has plenty of other roommate and housing options and that you will help him/her find a place to live and a roommate if he/she wants you to. If they start raising their voice, tell him/her that you are going to step away for a bit and let him/her process what you said and that you are willing to have a coherent, non-aggressive conversation about the situation when he/she is ready. Don’t engage in a hostile situation… it’s not worth it. If your roommate doesn’t come around and remains angry and aggressive, let them stay that way because you’ve already said your piece; there is only so much you can do.

 

I know it might seem scary to have this sort of conversation with someone, but if your current roommate situation is affecting you in a negative way, then you should absolutely move out. When it comes to your health and happiness, you need to take matters into your own hands and do what you need to do. However, make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you have this conversation; make sure you have alternative living plans and that you have a roommate, roommates, or a living space where you can live alone. There is no sense in having this conversation if you aren’t for sure leaving. Good luck, you got this!


Holiday Activities To Do With Your Roomie

By Danielle Wirsansky 

The holiday season is already in full swing, which means that the best time of year for college students has officially begun!

How can winter break be the best time of year for a college student? The weather is cold (or at least colder). Everyone usually gets the campus bug by the end of the semester. Students are worn down and exhausted after a long, hard semester and it is not over until Finals Week is over, which is usually the most brutal week of the entire semester. And most college students go home, unable to hang out with their friends during the precious little free time they do get.

On the other hand, the semester is so close to being done, you students can almost taste it. Once you power through these sick weeks, the rough end of the semester, that awful Finals Week, you are done. And you get an almost month-long break! You get to rest and recuperate, knowing that you never have to return to the classes you just finished in the fall. And sure, you might not get to hang out with your friends, but now you get to hang out with your family, if only for a little bit. And hey, it’s been a whole semester since you really got to do that.

But probably, one of the best aspects of this time of year for college students is the making and creation of their own holiday traditions. As the fall semester comes to a close and you find yourself having more time, you get to decide how you spend it and how you want to celebrate the upcoming holidays.

Whether you are living in a dorm or in off-campus housing, this is your time to start deciding how you (and your roommates) want to celebrate the holidays. You are on your own for the first time and while you may and probably do enjoy your own family’s holiday traditions, you can start to make ones specifically for you and where you are in your own life.

You have your own little family when you are at college, most usually with your roommate. Any holiday activities you want to do, you will probably be including them in it as well. You both want to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate the holidays on your own terms before you have to return home. So, if you are looking for some holiday inspiration, then read on for some suggestions on holiday activities you can do with your roomie!

 

 

Holiday Decorating

A great way that you, your roomie, and your apartment can get into the holiday spirit is to go and shop for some holiday decorations for your home. You can go as overboard or underboard as you like (or at least as far as you and your roommate can agree on). Maybe you like simple touches and your roommate likes to cover every surface with things. Maybe you like the traditional colors of the holiday and they like to include a more eclectic color palate into their decorations. Perhaps the two of you even celebrate two different holidays during this season.

Because it is a shared space, you both want to be on the same page about how you are decorating. If you are Jewish, then you might not want to come home to study for a final only to find that every flat surface has a Santa placed upon it that is smiling down at you. And if you celebrate Christmas, you might want to make sure your roommate is really on top of their fire and safety game if they light their menorah and leave.

You also want to make sure you are on the same budget. You never want to come home and your roommate has gone shopping and decorated the entire apartment only to hand you a receipt and say, “You owe me half.” Especially if this was never discussed ahead of time.

By going shopping for holiday decorations together, you guys both have a say in what it will all look like, which holidays are represented, and, of course, how much money is spent. Shopping for holiday decorations is a huge part of the fun. Do you like classic white Christmas lights, or do you prefer flashing, colorful ones? Do you want to use a real menorah, or an electric one this year? You get to make those fun choices together, which can be a real bonding experience.

Then the actual decorating process is the next step! Whether you are a perfectionist who has to have their home design look like it is out of a magazine or if you get enough satisfaction out of throwing a few decorations around haphazardly, you get to make your apartment look the way you want it to look. And doing it with help is always preferred and you and your roommate can turn the decorating into a tradition, that you carry on each year that you live together or for you to take on as your own tradition wherever (and with whoever) you live.

***This next section is aimed at those who celebrate Christmas***

If you do happen to celebrate Christmas and your roommate does too (or at least is interested in participating in the holiday as an onlooker), then a wonderful bonding experience for you and your roommate can be centered around the Christmas tree.

The first step is to go and select your tree. You and your roomie can go together and pick out a tree that is the perfect fit for the two of you. Maybe you like a real, classic fir tree. Maybe you are not about the mess that a real tree will make, and a fake tree is a better fit for you. Whether you are going to the Christmas tree lot or down the Christmas tree aisle at the store, go together so that you are both happy with the tree that is picked. After all, it is going to be in your shared space so you both need to be happy with the choice that is made.

Then you can decorate the tree, once you have it set up in your living room. Are the two of your interested in handmaking your ornaments? Do you have ornaments from home you want to use to make an eclectic and hodge-podge design on the tree? Do you want to buy an entirely new set of ornaments and create it with both you and your roommates’ tastes in mind? This tree is a self-expression of you and your roommate, so you can have as much fun with it as you want. Pick a color scheme. Choose a style. Hang those ornaments! And have as much fun as you can while doing it.

 

 

Baking or Cooking

Another really great holiday activity to do with your roommate to get into the holiday spirit is baking or cooking! This activity is particularly awesome because just about every holiday has some kind of special food that goes along with it, so you and your roommate can find something to make no matter what holidays the two of you celebrate. You can cook something savory or you can bake something sweet—it is really up to whatever you and your roommate are craving.

Do all the steps of the activity together. Decide what you want to make. Pick the recipe that seems the most delicious (or the most manageable for your cooking skills). Go out and get the ingredients that you need (that way everyone splits and foots the bill equally). Then go home and get your cooking game on!

Then when you are done, you can enjoy the simple act of breaking bread together. Use the time to talk about your hopes and dreams for the holiday season and the upcoming year. Or you could talk about nothing important at all and just use the time to sit together and breathe. You can even invite others to come and join you for a holiday treat—after all, it is easier to cook for a lot of people than to cook only a single portion for just two.

If you are not sure what foods or recipes might be a good idea, here are some suggestions provided for you below. Each of the three major holidays of this season, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza, each has dishes represented.

Hanukkah

-Potato Latkes

-Jelly-Filled Donuts

-Brisket

-Sweet Noodle Kugel

Kwanza

-Cheese Grits

-Black Eyed Peas

-Mustard Greens

-Apple, Marshmallow, and Yams

Christmas

-Peppermint Bark

-Christmas Cookies

-Mashed Potatoes

-Pecan Pie

Enjoy your adventures in the kitchen and be sure to try new things as well as stick to the old tried and true favorites so you can continue making your own new holiday traditions!

Present Swap

Something fun that you and your roommate can do to celebrate the holidays, as well as your fondness for each other, is to have a mini present swap. It is mini because it only between you and your roommate, but that does not make it any less special.

College students are notoriously low on funds, especially at the beginning of the holiday season because of the gift buying many feel obligated to participate in, as well as the doctors visits from being sick, the purchasing of suitable winter clothes to augment their wardrobe, and their holiday travel plans. But buying presents is not about the amount of money you spent on each item. It is about the thought behind it.

So, pick a time to swap presents with your roommate before you both truly dive into Winter Break and part ways for the holidays. You can put a cap on how much can be spent or other silly restrictions like, it has to be a gag gift, or the gift object has to start with the first letter of the receiver’s name, or even that it has to be something utterly useless to the receiver. Or you can find something really personal that you think they would truly want or need or find useful. There are so many options!

However you and your roomie want to play it, just let the gift show that your roommate (and the companionship they provide you) is important, valued, and cherished. And showing someone that you care about them is always a great tradition.

Movie Marathon

Most students find that the best way to relax is to watch a movie. And with so many college students having subscriptions to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, as well as watching at the ever-popular movie theatres, watching movies together is now one of the most affordable pastimes. And there are so many movies that you can watch to get into the holiday spirit—there are literally thousands upon thousands of movies for you to watch.

Decompress from Finals Week and watch a movie with your roomie! You can make an event out of it and go to the theatres to watch the just-released holiday movies. There are plenty coming out this season, including a new animated version of “The Grinch” and “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”

If you would rather stay at home and make it a comfy night in, you can also watch the following movies depending on what streaming service you have! Every film on the following list is available on at least one of the various streaming services.

-          “Love Actually”

-          “A Christmas Prince”

-          “Eight Crazy Nights”

-          “The Black Candle”

-          “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

-          “An American Tail”

-          “The Princess Switch”

-          “The Hebrew Hammer”

-          “Bad Santa”

-          “The Women’s Balcony”

-          “White Christmas”

-          “The Producers”

Give it a try! Watch tried and true favorites or maybe something new that came out just this holiday season. Make it a movie that you will both enjoy and make it a tradition you will be happy to keep alive year after year.

 

Your roommate is an important part of your life when you are in college. They are often your friend, your support system, and even your family. You do not just want to hare off and forget about everything that they do for you during the semester. Take the time to hang out, be with them, and make not only traditions but memories that you can keep for a lifetime.

 


15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Roommate

By Alicia Geigel 

 

In your undergraduate years at college, care packages, gifts and financial assistance from family and people alike are frequent luxuries you cherish with all your heart. Family and friends want to do everything they can to make sure you have the smoothest college experience possible and it usually works out that way! Sometimes, however, gift giving can be difficult and with all of the options out there, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what is the perfect gift for someone.

Holiday shopping as a college student isn’t necessarily easy because well, a lot of us are broke. Between tuition payments, student loans, and other expenses, many of us don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. Additionally, as a roommate, you live and share just about all aspects of your life with your other roommate, knowing them inside and out. Despite this, knowing just the right present to gift them during the holiday season can be difficult. You may ask yourself questions like, “Do they really need this?”, or “What if they already have something like this?” If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone! Are you currently sharing a dorm with someone? Are you freaking out over holiday shopping for them? Unsure of a great gift to give them? Check out these 15 present ideas to gift your roommate this season!

 

 

1. Gift Cards: While gift cards may seem like a thoughtless gift, they are very much appreciated by college students, especially roommates! Whether the gift cards are to restaurants, stores like Walmart or Target, or even for online companies like Amazon, they are definitely useful and can alleviate the stress of spending money on items that they would opt out of spending money on!

 

2. Coffee Press/Maker: College students run on coffee, I think we all can attest to this. Especially with the spring semester coming up and academics getting tougher, coffee is a necessity in order to function, so why not gift your roommate a coffee press or coffee maker! Perhaps their coffee maker is old and needs replacing or they just don’t have one, a coffee press/maker is a great gift for roommates. They’re inexpensive, useful and last awhile! Keurig is also a great option for a roommate that is always on the run and needs coffee quick! With all of the different varieties of coffee, you can put together a fun gift pack for your roommate to try!

 

3. Crockpot/Slow-Cooker: School tends to occupy most of our time which means that when it comes down to meals, we can get lazy about it. One of the greatest inventions of all time (besides sliced bread) is the crockpot. With the crockpot, you can prepare your meals hours in advance, put them in and cook them slowly for hours! The great thing about this? You can work or study all day and not have to worry about throwing a meal together when it’s dinner time! This can eliminate unhealthy substitutions for meals and make life so much easier for your roommate, making it an awesome and thoughtful gift for the holidays!

 

4. Motivational Supplies: College can be tough and sometimes we can get discouraged when things don’t turn out how we want them to. Sometimes, you just need a mood booster to help push you through that hard day/week/month! Motivational supplies like post-it notes, folders, notebooks, pencils, etc. are inexpensive ways to keep your roommate inspired and positive while in school. These supplies will always have nice messages like “Keep Calm and Carry On” or “I Can Do This”, things that your roommate made already know, but a visual aid always helps! Not only will this help your roommate in the long run, but it will also show them that you care about them!

 

5. Aromatherapy oils: Not everyone gets on board with using aromatherapy oils, but I promise you they work wonders! Once you’ve used them, you’ll be convinced that they are miraculous gifts sent from the sky. A few popular oils that are great for gifts are eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree, lavender, peppermint, and oregano. According to Dr. Axe of draxe.com, aromatherapy oils contain unique and therapeutic benefits, which include: improving respiratory issues (eucalyptus oil), helping with relaxation and healing cuts (lavender oil), cleaning items (lemon oil), helping kick a cold (oregano oil), supporting digestion and boosting energy (peppermint oil), and containing anti-bacterial qualities (tea tree oil). Convinced yet? You can purchase this nice gift set of these oils for less than $20 or get one or two to put in a stocking as a stocking stuffer for your roommate!

 

6. Microwavable Plush Warmer: Do you usually see your roommate slumped over their desk for hours on end? Do you hear them complain of neck and/or back pain as a result? One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever gotten was a microwavable plush warmer. It's like a stuffed animal that you can heat up to help with aching muscles and cramping! They come in a variety of animals from owls to elephants so you can find the perfect one for your roommate depending on what kind of animal they like! You can get them for less than $20 at select stores, making them a perfect and inexpensive gift for your roommate.

 

7. Toiletries: As an adult, sometimes the things we need are the most obvious necessities but they often slip our mind! Especially while we’re in school, things like projects, homework or exams occupy our mind which can distract us getting stuff we really need. Pick your roommate’s brain or if you’re really close with them, raid their bathroom caddy or dresser to see things that they may need more of! Items such as deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, toilet paper, soap, and socks are perfect gifts for any roommate because no matter what, I guarantee you they will always need these items and will be wishing they had them once they used them up, it’s just part of being an adult!

 

8. A Multi-functional jacket: Whether you are freezing in the middle of winter or are caught in the rain of spring, a jacket is always a necessity. A great gift for your roommate is a multi-functional jacket, one that can be used around all seasons. Qualities to look for include water resistant, lined with fleece or another warm material and hooded. An additional thing to consider when buying a jacket for your roommate is the sizing since you’ll want it to both fit well but also be large enough to layer clothes underneath! A jacket that can last through the seasons can make commuting to class a little less discouraging, which will make your roommate happier!

 

 

9. A watch: In class or at work, we can’t always check our phones to see what time it is. Maybe your roommate has a busy schedule or maybe they just need better time management, either way, a watch is a great gift for your roommate to help make their life easier. Either a digital or analog watch is always useful for your roommate and adults in general, and the best thing is, they’re inexpensive!

 

10. A New Backpack: So backpacks go through a lot over the years. Two years ago you may have spilled spaghetti on it and the stain never really came out, or you used it on a camping trip and the mud tracks have stuck to it like glue. Throughout the years, backpacks can get run down but no one really wants to fork out the money to get a new one, for one they’re kind of pricey and secondly, who really wants to go backpack shopping? A new backpack can be a perfect gift for your roommate because they’re useful and functional! Plus there are so many with different patterns and colors and ones with cool pockets for tablets and laptops, making them a thoughtful gift for your roommate!

 

11. Succulents: One way to help your roommate freshen up their dorm room is to put different kinds of plants throughout the dorm! Not only are plants a beautiful decorative piece, but they also give your place that fresh, spring vibe. According to Silvia C. of Daily Dream Décor, “[plants] help your home get more oxygen; they bring a happy mood into any space and help increase your work productivity.” Not only are succulents inexpensive, but they are also super easy to take care of, even if you do forget about them for awhile- making them a perfect gift!

 

12. A fun mug: This gift goes hand-in-hand with college students’ need for coffee. With so many of us running off of coffee every day, every hour, etc. sometimes you need more than one or two mugs to change up the game! One great gift to give your roommate for the holidays is a fun mug! There are so many options to out there, which can make shopping for your roommate a breeze! Pick up on some of the things they like, whether it's their favorite animal like a sloth or llama, their favorite show or movie, or favorite phrase and go to town! Places like Target, Walmart, or even Five Below have an awesome variety of options for holiday gift giving!

 

13. Personalized Picture Frame: To help remember the fun memories of you and your roommate together, gift them a personalized picture frame for the holidays! Places like the dollar tree have cute frames for only a dollar, which gives you more freedom to decorate it with jewels or stickers! Just get your favorite picture of the two of you, frame it, decorate the frame and you’re done! Not only is this gift inexpensive, but it also is a great way to show your roommate that you care.

 

14. Fuzzy Socks: Around this time of year, the temperature drops and the chilly weather can leave us feeling cold and depressed. I’m not saying that fuzzy socks can solve your roommate’s problems, but they can make them feel cozy and comfortable during these chillier months! Just about every store has fuzzy socks for an affordable price with a bunch of cool patterns, animals, and characters, making gift giving fun and stress-free.

 

16. Spa Day Essentials: Just about everyone needs a good spa day every once in a while (yes, guys included)! With the stresses of school, extracurriculars, work, and social life, sometimes you just need a day to unwind and relax. Spa day essentials are an awesome gift for your roommate, showing that you care about their well-being and want the best for them! Good spa day essentials include bath bombs, face masks, body scrubs and lotions, a fluffy robe, etc. Additionally, Target, in particular, has beauty boxes that have little samples of items related to the face and body, which would make a perfect gift for your roommate in need of a day off.

Some people truly don’t get excited to do yearly holiday shopping, whether its due to the fact that there’s a lot of money spending, or crazed people, or the overall stress of it. Having a good list of holiday gift ideas before you venture out into the world of shopping and holiday deals can make your life so much easier.

A lot of people think that the holiday season is all about the quantity of gifts that you give, but it's truly about the quality and the thought that goes into the gift you’re giving to your roommate. Just the smallest of gifts can completely change someone’s mood or their perspective on life! Perhaps the greatest piece of advice I can offer is to dig deep into your heart (and not your wallet) to give your roommate something you know they will love and appreciate. It’s not about how much money you spend, or the brand name of the item you get, or how much of something you get, but the thought and the intention behind the gift you’re giving.

If you aren’t sure and still completely stressed out about what to get, just go with something easy like a gift card! In the end, I hope these ideas will keep you stress-free during the holiday season and make gift shopping a breeze! As always, good luck!

 


Making the Most Out of Rooming with Strangers

By Kaitlin Hurtado 


Roommate horror stories are nowhere near rare when it comes to discussing different experiences. There are multiple themes when it comes to these horror stories: roommates leaving dirty socks everywhere, throwing surprise parties with no prior notice, the cat that seems feral but is actually your roommate's pet. Despite the cause of the "horror" aspect, many think that things between roommates go awry just because the roommates were strangers, to begin with. There is often a common thread of how living with a stranger can go wrong so easily - you barely know the person and you are suddenly living with them and expected to get along with them from the start.

However, do not think that living with a stranger is a guaranteed start to your very own roommate horror story. Living with a stranger does not have to be the worst living situation you can find yourself in - it can actually turn out to be the best living situation you could expect. If you find yourself having to live with a stranger due to unforeseen circumstances like a canceled lease or your original roommate leaving to study abroad, here is how you can make the most out of rooming with a stranger:

 

 

Get to know them 

When you are rooming with a stranger, you are going to have to be comfortable enough with them to share a living space - something that is very personal for many. This does not mean you have to be best friends with your new roommate, but you do want to be comfortable enough to have that personal connection with them. When you first get your new roommate's contact information, try reaching out to them to get to know each other. This can be anywhere from giving a smaller and written self-introduction through email or a messenger app, to arranging to meet up before moving in together.

Getting to know each other prior to moving in is helpful because it will help you feel more comfortable when you are moving in. You won't have to feel anxious about how your first conversation will go on top of moving-in stress because the first conversation or two will already have gotten out of the way prior to moving in. When getting to know each other, you may also want to talk about each other's living habits. Some questions you may want to consider asking include:

  • Are you a morning or night person?
  • How social are you? Do you expect to have guests over frequently?
  • How often do you clean, or what is your preferred level of cleanliness?
  • What are some issues that you had with previous roommates?

 

Accept the opportunity for more personal time: 

When you are rooming with a stranger, you are not necessarily expecting to become best friends with them. Meaning, you are not expected to spend every waking moment together. Yes, you may want to cook a meal or two together every so often or sit down to watch a few movies, but you aren't expected to do everything at home with them at your side.

If you are living with your close friends, it would be harder to say no to hanging out when you live together. Time to yourself to catch up on your favorite show with a pile of snacks at your side may turn into a full-blown friend hangout that you did not expect when your roommate catches the drift of your downtime. You may face a situation where your roommates get offended when you say no to hanging out, or you may even find yourself overworked when you start saying yes to hanging out instead of spending time getting rest or doing homework.

Rooming with a stranger creates its own boundary. You can still hang out with them when you would like to, but there shouldn't be an expectation to spend an excessive amount of time with them.

 

You get the opportunity to experience new things:

When living with a stranger, you get the opportunity to meet someone new - someone that you may not have met if not for the fact that you had to live with them. This can mean living with someone that is a different major than you, someone from a different upbringing, etc. Depending on how social you are, rooming with a stranger can be a very big opportunity to branch out of your small circle of tight-knit friends.

If you are used to hanging out a certain cultural group, you and your new roommate can share more about each other's cultures through new traditions and cooking each other meals. Or, if you and your friends have gotten so close because you have so many shared interests and hobbies, you may not have been branching out much further than what you are used to or past your own personal interests.

Rooming with a stranger doesn't mean you have to live out the entirety of your lease in discomfort - make the most out of rooming with a stranger by seeing it as an opportunity.


6 Things to Consider Sharing With Your Roommate

By Kailey Walters

 

If you have a good relationship with your roommate, chances are that you two may end up sharing some things. And just from living in such close proximity to one another, it’s nearly inevitable that you both would share some things, sometimes without even realizing it.

But if you want to be a little more intentional about exactly what kinds of things you two should share, it may be a good idea to draw some boundaries and come up with a list of items that each of you would feel comfortable sharing with the other. Read on for some ideas on what to consider sharing with your roommate.

 

 

 

1. Cleaning supplies.

A few things you and your roommate can certainly share are cleaning supplies, which may include a small vacuum, disinfectant wipes, or a broom. A vacuum is definitely convenient to have in your room -- most likely you won’t need to use it at the same time as one another, and it will take up less space than having two vacuums in the same room.

A broom and dustpan are also good things to share, particularly if there are any hardwood floors where you’re living (perhaps the kitchen or common room area), so you can easily sweep up messes.

What’s more, disinfectant wipes -- or items like paper towels and cleaning fluid -- are easy to share as well. Simply buy in bulk and keep them somewhere in your room so that you and your roommate can easily access them.

 

2. A mini fridge.

Even if you and your roommate are both on the campus dining meal plan, you’re sure to want some extra snacks and drinks in your room just in case. That’s where a mini fridge really comes in handy -- but instead of having two different fridges taking up a lot of space, you can have one fridge that will be big enough to hold food for the two of you.

If you’re afraid of not being able to tell whose food is whose, create some boundaries. Perhaps the top shelf could be assigned to you and the bottom shelf for your roommate; create a system that works for the both of you!

 

3. A TV.

Maybe everybody these days just uses Netflix instead of watching on an actual television set, but sometimes a TV can be useful. If either you or your roommate has guests over and wants to watch a movie or show on a larger screen, or even if one of you just feels like flipping through good old cable channels, a TV comes in handy. And in most cases, there’s no need to clutter up your common living space with multiple TVs, so sharing one is certainly an efficient option.

 

 


4. Decorations.

Decorations are another great thing to share between you and your roommate. If you have decorations such as string lights, posters, or anything of that sort that occupies wall space, it might be a good idea to share some of those items and coordinate who gets to use which parts of the walls. Particularly if one or both of you wants to hang up string lights, it may be beneficial to have just one of you bring them, as the string of lights will probably be long enough to go around the perimeter of the whole room.

 

5. Cooking supplies.

If you live in a dorm with a kitchen or perhaps an on- or off-campus apartment, you and your roommate will both need cooking supplies. Instead of each of you spending a fortune on your own cooking equipment, why not coordinate what each of you can bring or go shopping for supplies together? Doing so will not only allow you to save on costs, but also on the amount of space your stuff will take up in the kitchen.

Sharing larger items, such as rice cookers, big pots and pans, toasters, and coffee makers, is pretty doable as long as you are both respectful of each other’s belongings. Even sharing smaller items such as utensils as well as plates, bowls, and cups is manageable if you are able to identify whose stuff is whose at the end of the year.

 

6. Textbooks.

Beyond the belongings in your room, something else you and your roommate might want to share is textbooks. If you happen to be taking some of the same classes, this is a great way to save money, especially because textbooks are often fairly expensive. As a result, sharing one (or several) and splitting the cost could potentially do wonders for your bank account. Whether the textbook is a physical or electronic copy, you and your roommate can work out a system as to who can use it when. If both of you are up to it, you can even become study buddies for a class and use the textbook at the same time.

 

When it comes to sharing things with your roommate, don’t sweat it. As long as the two of you are respectful of each other and can work out a system, you’re both good to go!


How to Divvy Up Expenses with Your Roommates

By Victoria Robertson

 

Living with roommates is no easy task. More often than not, arguments ensue, and in terms of the content of those arguments, you can bet finance is largely involved. Getting a group of individuals in one place to share expenses isn’t a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be too hard, either.

 

So what’s the best way to fairly divvy up your expenses amongst your roommates? While there are a lot of variables to consider here, these 10 tips for divvying up expenses is a great starting point to conflict resolution!

 

 

 

1. List Your Expenses

 

Obviously not the most challenging part of the process, listing out your expenses for the year is a great way to begin any financial conversation. Simply create a detailed list of each additional expense (not covered by your lease) that you and your roommates are responsible for.

 

This includes, but isn’t limited to: rent, water, gas, electric, cable, internet, parking and any other additional fees that may not be clearly defined by your lease. While most leasing companies will fairly split lease bills amongst roommates, others will not, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

In this way, simply developing a list of all expenses will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all potential bills are included in your discussion.

 

2. Separate Optional from Necessary

 

Here is one of the more challenging aspects of splitting bills: which are necessary and which are not? Consider the bills that everyone will contribute to because everyone takes advantage of gas, water and electric. These are necessities.

 

Now consider the bills that aren’t necessary to living situations, but that are enjoyed by most, if not all: cable, internet, and parking.

 

A large part of roommate conflict comes from who should contribute to these bills and who is reaping the benefits of the optional bills without contributing. By separating the necessities from the optional bills, you can have this discussion with your roommates. Is everyone going to use the cable? If not, who will split that cost? And how do you proceed if someone that isn’t contributing uses that item?

 

Again, these are challenging conversations, but splitting your bills into optional versus necessary will help to get you started.

 

3. Have a Discussion

 

Perhaps one of the most important items on this list, it is absolutely essential to have an open and honest discussion with all of your roommates regarding finances. This not only includes the above point on necessary versus optional bills, but it also comes down to who can afford what and how to proceed in terms of divvying up bills.

 

Never assume that your roommates all have the same budget that you do because odds are, they don’t. Expenses look different for everyone, so never assume something that is affordable to you is affordable to another as well.

 

Conversations between you and your roommates surrounding finance will only serve you better in the long run, especially considering the conflict that typically surrounds finance. 

 

4. Set Up Billing


Once you’ve had the necessary discussions, it’s important that the roommates all work together to set up billing information. More often than not, only one person’s information is necessary to receive bills, so you must decide who will be that person for each account.

 

Many roommates put one name on all bills and split them up amongst themselves, others work directly with the company in question to ensure that everyone’s name is on the bill to avoid problems down the road. Whichever path you and your roommates choose for splitting up your bills, ensure that everyone is on the same page before you move forward.

 

Also note that some payment methods, such as credit, can incur additional costs and fees that all roommates may not be willing to pay. Just be sure that whatever method you’ve chosen is one that everyone agrees upon and that everyone is comfortable with, especially considering these hidden or extra fees.

 

It’s very easy with bills to be the individual that’s left with the bulk of the cost, so don’t fall victim to that problem! Again, it’s all about communication and ensuring that all of the roommates are on the same page at all times.

 

5. Develop a System

 

As previously stated, it’s very important for you and your roommates to develop a system in which you pay your bills on time and fairly, which is easier said than done. While you may have covered the billing information, there is still the problem of ensuring that the bill is paid on time every month.

 

Personally, my roommates and I put one person’s name on all of the bills for automatic payments linked to their credit card. This way, we ensured there was never a late fee on our bills. From here, the individual stuck the bill in question to the fridge with a magnet and everyone gave her a check with their quarter of the bill paid so she could deposit that to her account.

 

For some, this is the easiest way to pay bills. For others, this will not work. Basically, you need to develop a system that will work for each roommate and that will ensure your bills are paid on time and split as discussed by everyone.

 

This is another important conversation to have amongst the group. How does everyone plan to pay their share? What’s the easiest way to achieve that? Do you foresee any problems with these methods of payment? So long as everyone is communicating their questions and concerns with one another, you will be able to develop a system of payment that works for everyone and that you can fall back on throughout the academic year. 

 

 

 

6. Anticipate Changes

 

That all being said, you also have to brace yourself for changes. The truth of the matter is things change, whether you’re prepared for that change or not.

 

For instance, in the summer, you may be paying more money to cool your apartment down, while in the winter you could be paying significantly more to heat it. Just because your bills are one rate one month does not mean they will be the same rate the following month. You have to anticipate the fact that your bill may change monthly, and that those changes may be significant.

 

While you can anticipate a fluctuation in water, gas and electric bills, also prepare for changes in your cable and internet bills, as rates can change without notice. Be sure to set expectations with your roommates in the event that rates go up, as sometimes this can mean the difference between a bill being affordable and not.

 

Basically, if you prepare for these events in advance and set expectations as far as how much you can afford at most per month, you will be in a better position when these unexpected changes come around. 

 

7. Communicate Stipulations

 

As mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to communicate stipulations to bills prior to involving yourself. For instance, as mentioned above, if something is going to be too expensive for you, it’s better to mention that ahead of time than it is to mention it when it’s too late.

 

For example, what does your monthly budget look like for these bills? Are there any ways to cut costs to ensure you don’t exceed that budget? A good example of this is with the heat. Perhaps you’re looking to cut down on your heating costs, but the best way to do that is likely to set your thermostat to a lower temperature. This is something that you and your roommates will need to agree upon ahead of time, but that’s entirely doable.

 

In addition, to decrease cable costs, you can limit the amount of channels you receive. Some individuals may be willing to contribute a little more monthly for extra channels, or perhaps even pay a little extra to ensure they have cable in their rooms as well as in the main living space. There are plenty of ways to split bills and cut costs, but it requires communication amongst all of the roommates as well as the setting of clear expectations.

 

Wherever you can work together to cut costs, you can set those expectations ahead of time to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the monthly bill budget.

 

8. Note All Costs


Again, it’s absolutely essential that you note all of the costs associated with your bills. Each roommate can only be on the same page if everyone is aware of what the costs are going to be.

 

For my roommates and I, the easiest way to do this was to keep track of past bills so we could anticipate the amount of money we needed to save for the next bill. While some fluctuated from month to month, the average was pretty similar, which allowed us to guess how much we needed to contribute to bills on a monthly basis.

 

Some individuals hang the prices of each bill on their fridge so everyone can pay attention while others simply communicate the costs to each other once a month when it comes time to physically pay their bills.

 

Whatever your style, be sure that everyone is on the same page and aware of the costs and you’ll be successful in terms of avoiding conflict related to finance.  

 

9. Secure an Impartial Party

 

Something that most roommates don’t secure, but that it would be helpful to have just in case, is a secured, impartial party. This is typically a mutual friend that all roommates agree can be impartial and step in during the event of a conflict.

 

For instance, let’s say you and your roommates disagree on who owes what on a bill. If your other roommates are unable to help make a decision, an impartial party can come in, hear the story out and make a decision that is fair and correct.

 

While this isn’t always a possibility (as there are many instances in which an entirely impartial person can be secured), this is a good idea to have in your back pocket, just in case.

 

10. Remain Conflict-Free

 

Throughout these 10 points, one theme is common: remain conflict-free. Basically, the best way to ensure this is achieved is through communication. Roommates must all communicate with one another in order to set expectations and ensure bills are divvied up fairly.

 

Additionally, however, remaining conflict-free is about maintaining an even, understanding temper so that, when potential conflict does arise, it’s easy to navigate away from it and remain conflict-free.

 

For example, if you foresee a problem with a bill due to an error in communication, let your roommates know as soon as you catch this problem and work together to brainstorm a solution. Or let’s say you forgot to pay a bill that you were responsible for and now there is a late fee. Rather than asking everyone for additional money, communicate the error and come up with a solution that everyone feels is accurate and fair.  

 

There are plenty of ways in which a conflict can arise, especially when living in close proximity to one another and involving finance, an already touchy subject. Just be sure to work with one another and communicate as often as possible and you’ll be just fine!

 

Again, it’s hard enough living with other people, but conflicts involving expenses complicate this situation even further. So stop spending so much time worried about finances, divvy everything up fairly to avoid future conflicts, and enjoy the situation you’re in.

 

These 10 tips will help to get you started, but have a conversation with your roommates to ensure everyone is on the same page prior to divvying up expenses. Not only will this help put all conflict at ease, but it will also ensure you and your roommates are in a good financial position throughout the duration of your lease.

 


10 Ways to Bond With Your Roommate

By Ashley Paskill 


For many students, going to college is the first time they have to share a room together, whether it is a dorm room or an apartment. Even if you have shared a room with a sibling, sharing a room with someone you just met can seem daunting at first. There are horror stories from students about terrible or weird roommates, and many fear that these will be true for them. However, even if you do not instantly hit it off with your roommate, there are ways for you to bond so that you can get to know each other and bond. Even if you end up not liking each other, you have to live together for the time being, so spending some time together to be on the same page is crucial to making it through. Here are a few ideas for ways to spend some quality time together while learning more about each other’s likes and interests.

 

 

Attend your campus’ club and organization fair

Many college campuses have a club and organization fair that showcases the school’s various ways to get involved on campus. Attend the fair with your roommate to allow yourselves to see what the other likes. If you find something that you are both interested in, sign up for the organization together as a way to spend more time together. If you decide to join different clubs or organizations, finding out what each of you is interested in is a way to get to know each other. Make it a point to attend one meeting or event of each other’s club if you join different organizations and support fundraisers the club is putting on to show your roommate that you care. Find out how to start your own campus organization if you are both interested in a club or organization that your campus does not offer. This process in itself will be a great way to figure out how your roommate works and will bring you closer together.

 

Designate one evening a week to do something special

Designate one night a week to do something special together. Make it consistently the same evening each week and honor this time commitment by not scheduling anything else during this time unless it is absolutely necessary and cannot be avoided. Having one night that is designated for spending time together gives you an opportunity to try new things together, which can help bring you closer together. It also gives you a chance to find out what your roommate likes and allows you to see what you have in common. If you like different things, it gives you a chance to experience something your roommate likes, which is a great way to show your roommate that you care and are willing to do something that you may not have done if not for them. Plan activities ahead of time so that you are sure you are committed and that you have something to look forward to.

Have a night in and order pizza or take out. Have a game night where you bring out your competitive sides. Pamper yourselves with a spa night complete with facials, nail painting, and relaxing music. Binge watch a TV show that neither of you has seen or watch each other’s favorite movie. Have a conversation about the show or movie. This will give you a chance to learn how your roommate perceives movies and will give you a new perspective of a movie you may have seen a million and one times before. Throw a party and invite your friends or floormates. This will give you a chance to meet each other’s friends and will allow you to get to know others on your floor, which is also important.

Get out of your dorm or apartment. Explore your college town by finding a locally-owned restaurant or store. Go to a concert or other cultural event. Going to a concert or play on campus is a great way to support your fellow students while spending time with your roommate. If you go to an event in your college town, make a night of it and grab dinner beforehand. Go to a sporting event. Cheer on your school’s team together or go to a professional sporting event where you are cheering for each of the teams from you and your roommate’s hometowns. Volunteering is a great way to make a difference while learning what kinds of causes your roommate cares about. A night out on the town will give you a break from the stress of college life and gives you a chance to expand your horizons.

 

Take a class

Taking a step out of your comfort zone to learn something new is more fun when you do it with someone, and who better to do it with than with your roommate. Whether you arrange your schedules to take a GenEd or elective class together, go to a local library to take a language class or take a fitness class together at your campus gym, learning something new together will help you bond with your roommate and will help you find a common bond, especially if you both love or hate the topic of the class. You will learn more about each other’s likes and skills as well as your own. You will also expand your horizons by learning more about the world around you. Getting out to learn something unexpected can lead you to new and beautiful things, so overcome your fear and sign up. If you do end up taking a college class together, make sure your roommate attends class and does not solely rely on you to cover and take notes if they routinely miss class.

 

Make playlists of your favorite songs to play for each other

Music has the power to help bring people together and a person’s choice of music can say so much about who that person is. Make a playlist of your favorite top 10 favorite songs and/or artists and have your roommate do the same. Play the playlists for each other. You may find that you have a common interest in one particular style or band. This can help fuel conversations. If you each have music that is important to your culture or religion and you include these songs, it is a great opportunity to teach your roommate something about you and to learn something from your roommate. Listening to each other’s playlist may introduce you to new music you love and will open up new doors and other friendships for you. Have a conversation with your roommate about why you each picked the songs you did and what each song means to you.

 

 

Create a bucket list for the school year

Make a list of things you want to do together this semester or year. It can be as simple as going to that hip restaurant off campus or getting better grades. You can also aim to join a new organization and do it together so that you do not feel as anxious about doing something new. Having similar goals and a common drive to accomplish them will bring you and your roommate together in ways nothing else can.

Also, create separate lists and hold each other accountable, as you are more likely to succeed if you tell others what you hope to achieve. Be a part of each other’s bucket list, even if you choose not to create a joint list. Hang the lists in a public place and have a place to publicly and visually track your progress. Create a schedule to help you stay on track with your bucket list. Help each other stay on track with your schedule and encourage each other when things get tough.

 

Study together

They say misery likes company, and this is especially true when you are working on schoolwork. Studying together may not seem like a big deal, especially if you are working on separate subjects or assignments, but it can really bring you and your roommate together. Just doing a common activity and holding each other accountable to stay focused is crucial. If you are working on separate assignments and one of you runs into an issue that the other is good at, you can help each other out. This helps you learn each other’s skills and shows you the other’s strengths and weaknesses. You can look over each other’s work once you are done and proofread each other’s papers. When you are working alone, it can be tempting to keep working when you need a break or get distracted when you need to focus. Studying with your roommate helps you stay focus but also helps you know when you need to take a break.

 

 

Follow each other on social media

Some people are more outgoing on social media. You may find out more about your roommate than you do in person. You can follow their social media pages to learn about what they like and who they are. If you find something about a recent trip they went on or a concert they went to, ask them about it. You may also see that you have mutual friends, depending on where you both grew up. Ask them about how they know people you know. Finding information, such as likes and mutual friends, through social media helps you find common ground with your roommate and gives you interesting talking points for great conversations.

 

Decorate your room together

You will be living with your roommate for at least a semester, so what better way to bond than to decorate your dorm or apartment together. Even if you have totally different tastes in style, you may be able to combine these styles into one cool look or have separate spaces for each of your styles, depending on how much room you have. Having clashing styles is easier in an apartment since you will likely have separate bedrooms, but you will have to compromise on common areas. Decorating your room together is a great way to bond as you will learn about each other’s design style as well as decorating talents. You will learn about each other’s favorite colors and personal style. A person’s interior design style can say a lot about who they are and how organized they are, which is crucial for a roommate. You can even go shopping together for anything you were unable to bring with you to the dorm or apartment.

 

Communicate with each other

Communication is absolutely key to any relationship, but it is even more important if you have someone you are living with. If you cannot hold a conversation because you do not get along, you need to figure out a way to put your differences aside so you can at least make it through the semester. Talking gives you an opportunity to update each other on what is going on in your lives and to coordinate schedules for things that are happening. This is especially important if your roommate will be out late one night. Exchange cell phone numbers and text each other throughout the day. You do not have to talk every second of the day, but being able to contact each other about specific issues is important in emergencies. Know each other’s schedules so you know the best time to chat. Have a conversation right before bed so that you

 

Create a roommate agreement

If you are a Big Bang Theory fan, you will know that Sheldon has a huge obsession with his roommate agreements and is a strict stickler for each individual rule that they contain. You also know that his roommate agreements are super long and in-depth. You do not have to go as in-depth with your agreement, though. While it is important to bond with your roommate and be friends, having a roommate agreement will help you set boundaries and delegate chores such as cleaning and doing dishes. Have a section about what to do if you and your roommate get into an argument and set boundaries for things such as sharing clothes and personal items. Set up a cooking schedule and have a place in your agreement for paying rent and other essential bills. Your agreement should also include a section on bringing significant others into the dorm or apartment and have contact information of a neutral person you should get in touch with in case of an argument about a policy. Have this person witness you and your roommate signing the agreement.

At first, you may be nervous to meet your new roommate, but if you give it some time and effort, you and your roommate may become close friends. There is a chance that you will not get along, but give it a chance and put in the work to at least get through the semester together.

 


How to Live with a Roommate Who is the Opposite of You

By Alyssa Laffitte 

 

Living with roommates can be an intimidating experience, but it can be more intimidating if you and your roommate are very different. How can you reconcile two different lifestyles to create a peaceful and happy living situation? In this article, we’ll discuss how to live with a roommate who is the opposite of you.

 

 

Communicate your expectations

When living with a roommate who is the complete opposite of you, it is extremely important to communicate your expectations. It is likely that you will have different expectations for your living situations than your roommate has. Still, that doesn’t mean you are bound to have a difficult living situation! You just have to be aware of each other’s expectations and come up with a compromise so that both of your needs are met.

For example, you might expect to clean the kitchen after every meal, while your roommate expects to do all the cleaning at the end of the day. These are both good ideas, but you two will have to come up with a compromise so that neither of you feels frustrated. Preferably, before you move in together, have a discussion about your expectations for things like cleanliness of the bathroom and kitchen, guests (especially overnight guests), how you will split the rent, eating each other’s food, and borrowing each other’s things. If you and your roommate discuss your expectations about these things, there will be fewer surprises when you move in together because you’ll have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.

 

Address issues right away, and in person

Unfortunately, when people live together, issues could arise. If you are a non-confrontational person, it might be easier to “sweep it under the rug” if an issue comes up. But if you ignore an issue for long enough, you risk becoming angry and resentful toward your roommate, who might not even be aware they’ve done something to bother you. Instead, when an issue comes up, talk about it in person, not via text (which can very easily be misinterpreted and cause even more issues). Choose a time when you are both in a good mood and without distractions. Of course, be respectful to them, too. If you do this, and your roommate is a decent person, they will likely try to change their behavior and resolve the issue. Even though it might be uncomfortable, talking to your roommate about any issues increases the chance that the issue will be resolved.

 

Respect their wishes

On the flip side of the coin, your roommate might have an issue with your behavior. If this is the case, don’t get defensive right away (as that’s usually our first instinct when we are called out). Listen to what your roommate is saying, and honestly consider if they are right. If they are, then respect their wishes and adjust your behavior accordingly. For example, if your roommate complains that you are too noisy, try to talk more quietly and turn down the volume of your music or TV. If your guests have been over-staying their welcome, make sure they don’t do it again. Living with another person involves working together, and that means to respect your roommate’s wishes.

 

Be understanding and patient with each other

When you live with someone very different than you, you will need to be understanding and patient with each other. For example, you can ask your roommate to be quieter, but you can’t change their night-owl tendencies. In this case, you will just need to be understanding and patient with your roommate. Other times, they might forget to do a chore they said they would do. In this case, be patient with them. You don’t know if they forgot because they were busy working! In short, be patient with your roommate, because one day, you will need them to be patient with you!

 

Extend common courtesy

This should go without saying, but please extend common courtesy to your roommate. Clean up after yourself, especially in the common areas, bathroom, and kitchen. Keep your things in your room, don’t leave them lying around in the common area. Don’t make too much noise. Always say “please” and “thank you,” ask before you borrow something (and give it back), and don’t eat their food (unless they specifically gave you permission to). Give them space if they want it. Extending common courtesy will make your roommate relationship much more comfortable.

 

Respect each other

Lastly, roommates need to respect each other. Yes, you two might have different sleep schedules and cleanliness preferences, but as long as you respect each other, you should have a good experience living together.

 

It’s not easy living with someone who is the opposite of you, but if you respect each other and communicate your expectations, you can still have a great living situation.