5 Skills You Learn Living With Roommates

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Living with a roommate is definitely a different experience for everyone. Some opt to live with their best friends and end up having the best time, or end up seriously questioning their friendship choices. Others elect to live with complete strangers that end up becoming their closest friends, or just stay being someone to split the bills with. Whatever the case may be, living with roommates is a life experience that allows you to learn and grow plenty.

You would be surprised by how much life experience is to be gained just by living with roommates. Keep reading for skills you learn living with roommates.

Roommates: 5 Skills You Learn Living With Roommates

Above all, living with roommates is a big opportunity to develop your communication skills. Sure, you will work closely with classmates and colleagues in school and at work, but there’s a level of communication needed to share a living space with another person. Being able to communicate effectively with your roommates is essential in making sure that your living situation is a good one. From cleaning schedules and house rules to daily talks, communication is at the forefront of your relationship with your roommates.

Establishing a relationship between roommates, regardless of how close you are prior to move-in, will allow everyone to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and opinions. For example, if you are the common link/mutual friend between two roommates that did not know each other beforehand. Keep the dynamics in the back of your mind as you communicate – you don’t want to look like you are siding with one friend and leaving the other behind. Make sure everyone has the chance to express their opinions and have a say when it comes to their living situation.

Things are bound to go awry at least once or twice between roommates, and that is okay and to be expected. What matters most is that in the event you are the one to mess up, you take accountability for the issue at hand.

Brushing things under the rug, or even passing the blame onto another roommate will only lead to more issues. Just think about how frustrating it would be to see something go wrong in the apartment, know you were not at fault, then see the blame being shifted around as no one takes accountability for the issue. Avoid being the cause of frustration or distrust by taking accountability if you mess up, whether it be forgetting to do a chore to disregarding a roommate policy regarding guests.

Conflict resolution
When things do go wrong with roommates, no matter how small of a conflict, you need to get the issue addressed and solved in a timely and effective manner. A small issue left unaddressed can leave negative feelings among roommates to fester until another issue comes along to have the feelings explode into a full-on blowout. If the issue had been resolved when it first popped up, the impact could have been greatly minimized.

Being able to resolve conflicts between roommates as they come up is essential in keeping things smooth between roommates. Don’t be passive-aggressive – tackle issues head-on as they come.

Living with roommates, unfortunately, often leads to a lack of space. Any common areas, from kitchen counters and cabinets to hallway storage, are often fair game between roommates. This can often lead to overstuffed fridges and cluttered counters in the bathroom without proper planning and organization.

Note that everyone has the right to common spaces, so if things are getting cluttered, it’s time to sit down and evaluate the space they have. For example, if a hallway cabinet is overflowing with clothes, leaving it difficult to be used for anything else, see how you can organize the cabinet better. Who do the clothes belong to? If everyone is contributing to the clutter, you can choose to have everyone store the clothes in their personal closet. If everyone lacks proper space in their personal closets, a compromise can be to utilize a clothing rack in your living room that everyone can use, freeing up the cabinet to be used as storage for other goods.

No one wants to live in a messy apartment, especially when the mess is not even theirs, to begin with. Even if you are leaving small messes behind in your wake, if everyone is leaving their own small mess behind, it’s going to create a large mess that someone is going to have to deal with.
Do your part as a roommate in cleaning up after yourself. Take the time to sort out a cleaning schedule/rotation with your roommate to keep cleaning fair and organized.

Living with roommates definitely comes with its challenges, but looking at it as a learning experience where you can pick up valuable skills and life experience can put a positive spin on it.

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